Whew! Those 13 years of school sure did fly by fast. Somehow, you managed to teach them a whole lot of everything, but still feel like you left something out. That is possible, but right now, that does not really matter. You have a high school graduate on your hands. Now, it is on to the next adventure: sending your kid (okay, young adult) off to college. Before you do that, here are some tips you should consider before sending your child to college.
Sit your child down and discuss what your expectations are of them while they are attending school. It may be as simple as sleeping, eating and getting passing grades. If that is true, still discuss that with them. For many children, this will be the first time they are living away from home. Ensuring they have an understanding of why they are in college and their goal will make the big decisions regarding school easier to decide. It will also make those simple day-to-day decisions less challenging.
Although you have instilled your family values/morals in your children while they were growing up, discuss the obvious with them. Do not be afraid to touch on any topic – social life/behavior (i.e. dating, intimacy, etc.), peer pressure, alcohol consumption, drug use, mental health and more. Letting them know no subject is forbidden may keep the doors of communication open.
Help Them Make a Schedule
If you ever had school days when you just “winged it”, know those days are over. Attending college requires a responsible person, so help your child become one. Once they know the classes they will take each semester and their responsibilities, work with them to make a schedule. Along with daily classes, include time for studying, exercise, work, meals and more. Do not forget to add the morning wake up time to get their day started. As in the past, schedules can always be adjusted to fit whatever their real life becomes.
Get Passwords (to Everything)
This may be tricky, because privacy is important to all us. Regardless, there may be an instance (legitimate emergency) where you need to access one of the accounts your child holds, especially social media. A good compromise is using the Envelope idea where they write all of their passwords on a piece of paper, they seal it and you only open it in case that legitimate emergency arises. Hopefully, it never does, but at least you will be prepared. Be sure to store the envelope in a safe place at home.
Although we do not often do it, periodically changing your passwords is a good idea. It may be harder for you to remember them, but it may also make it more difficult for someone who tries to illegally access your accounts. Encourage them to let you know if they update one of their passwords.
You May be Paying the Bills, But . . .
The average college freshman receives some form of financial assistance to attend school. There are many of you who may have paid your own way through college and some students now who are doing the same, but most children are pursuing their higher education at the expense of a parent or guardian. That means your signature is on the dotted line. If that is the case, you would think you would have access to your child’s academic and financial records. Unfortunately, you do not! Due to privacy laws, school staff and professors are not authorized to release academic or financial records to anyone other than the student. If you want to have access to that information, your child will have to provide a password for you to access their account.
So talk to your child about the grades you expect them to earn. If you want access to those records, be sure you include that password with the others in the Envelope. Graduating with honors is wonderful, but keep in mind the goal should be for your child to just do their best.
Plan for Medical Care
It probably took you years to find that perfect physician. Now, with your child possibly being more than a quick hour away from home, you will need to start the hunt for new medical professionals closer to their school. Check with your insurance company to learn what options your child has for seeking health care (ex: medical, dental, vision, all) in their new area. Also, check the school to learn what options are available on campus. If your child has a pre-existing medical condition, be sure they have medical cards (or bracelets, etc.) that will notify medical personnel of their condition.
Before your child leaves home, have them go in for a regular checkup. After that, schedule their routine appointments through the school year, so they can be seen while at home for vacation or during holidays. Check with their regular healthcare provider to learn if there are medical release forms (ex: HIPAA authorization) you should sign.
Also, be sure to complete the paperwork that allows you to make medical decisions for your adult child. Completing a power of attorney (POA) for health care (and finances) form may be all you need, but check with an attorney to confirm.
Set a Budget
Beyond tuition, there will be other expenses your child will encounter and the money is going to have to come from somewhere. That somewhere will probably be from you. Decide now what expenses will be covered. Are you paying for school supplies only (ex: books, paper, printer, etc.) or are you going to include additional funds for eating out with friends, movie night, school paraphernalia and any other non-academic related expense? If yes, make sure your child knows which ones will be covered. If no, are they allowed to get a job while in school to afford those activities and additional expenses?
May They Get a Job?
Some students may be able to handle an on-campus job, which often goes towards academic expenses. Those types of jobs typically have limited working hours, so students have time to get their school work done. Off-campus jobs may not be as understanding. Since your student is an adult (at 18), there is no limitation on the number of hours (up to 40) they can work. If your child does not have a good sense of why they are in school, the extra money they earn could cloud their judgement when deciding to do schoolwork over work that gives them an immediate financial return.
Get a Passport
College opens the doors to many opportunities and one of them is studying or doing missionary work abroad. Obtaining a passport can take up to four to six weeks. Of course you can expedite your request, but why pay more money. Ge the process started now for ordering their passport. Having a passport in hand, will ensure they do not miss a chance for study or work travel or a pleasurable once in a lifetime experience.
Register to Vote
Voting is a right as an American citizen and a privilege, so be sure your child is registered to vote. Although they may be away at school during the next election, many states allow registered voters to vote by absentee ballot. If it is a presidential election year, provisions may be made for them to vote while living out of area or state.
Visit the DMV
You may be sending them away to school without a vehicle, but they still should know how to drive and be licensed to do so. Jobs on or off campus may require them to drive. If your child is 18, they may visit your local DMV, take and pass the written and driving tests and receive their license to drive. So forget the state issued I.D. card and just have them get a driver’s license. In some instances (ex: obtaining a job), a driver’s license will be accepted before a student I.D. card from their school.
Also, be sure you add them onto your automobile insurance and check to learn if there are any coverage restrictions to them being out of state as a licensed driver while attending college.
Remind your child to keep their driver’s license and medical insurance card(s), along with their student I.D. card, on them at all times.
Now, that is just about everything you need to do before sending your child off to college. It may seem like a lot, but these tips will give them a great start and help them (and you) be prepared for their new journey.
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©2019 HomeLife Academy. Article by Jennifer Smeltser. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the publisher http://homelifeacademy.com/.