Having a college planning checklist to help manage the overwhelming task of sending a new student to college. You already have to deal with all the senior activities and the emotions of senior year and know you have to deal with trying to prepare them to move out. Your child is responsible for making sure they are completely ready for college, however, giving them a lending hand can be super helpful.
It is important to ask questions and help as much as you can while also letting them be independent if you are doing everything or them now, they won’t be able to do things on their own when they actually get to college.
It can be hard if you went to college because you feel like you want to control everything to do it right, but it can be hard if you didn’t go to college because you aren’t sure what to expect or how to help. Try to find a medium and just do the best you can while also letting them get a little hint of adulthood in the process.
Here is a college planning checklist on how to help your children through the application and preparation aspects of college.
College Planning Checklist: Top Recommendation
Plan with Your Kids
It is important to start reaching out to your children around their junior year of high school about college and careers. You want to be ahead of the game so that you and your child aren’t stressed out the following year. They definitely do not need to know exactly where they want to go and what they want to go for, however, this could give you some ideas of where to start doing some research on and planning visits.
Make sure that your child is actively involved and doing most of the work. In the end, all of this is for them and they are going to be the ones living it. You want them to be doing the research to find the perfect school for them.
Don’t Fill out Their Applications for Them
It is so important that you let them actually apply for college and scholarships themselves. These colleges aren’t looking for an absolutely perfectly worded application. They can tell if it wasn’t filled out by n eighteen-year-old. This also doesn’t let your child actually express themselves. If they aren’t a good fit for college, you want to know that beforehand.
You also want them to receive offers and scholarships rightfully so. You want them to get it because they deserve it not because you did it for them.
Schedule Visits Early
Schedule college visits ahead of time so that your child has enough time and information to choose their college when it comes time. Actually getting to see colleges and speak to the students and faculty there makes the biggest impact.
Sometimes when your child actually goes to what they are considering as their “top school”, they realize that they don’t actually like it as much as they thought they would. Your child is going to be spending four whole years here. This is so much different than high school because they are actually going to be living here as well. It is also important to take a small trip around the local city or town as well because this can be another important factor.
Even if your child does not want to go on many visits, you should really encourage them to because you can never go on too many visits. You would rather do that than make the wrong decision.
Remind them About Deadlines
Although you want them to be independent and fill out applications themselves, it is still good to know about the due dates so that you can be the extra set of eyes to proofread and remind. Senior year is so busy with so many different deadlines. Having someone else to give mall reminders is very helpful amongst the craziness going on. Be sure to pay attention to the early decision applications for college as well because those can have a huge impact on who gets accepted. Applying earlier always gives you a better chance.
College Planning Checklist: Preparing for Their Specific College
Be Cognizant of the Weather They Will be Walking In
College is very different because no matter what college your child picks, they will frequently be walking around whether that is to class, to study or to get food. If they are going somewhere that is cold and snows a lot, it is so important to make sure that they have everything they need to survive the winter. This includes hats, gloves, scarves, boots and different sizes of coats. Walking around in the cold can be absolutely miserable if you are not prepared for it.
It is also important to make sure they are prepared for rain. Make sure that they have a good rain jacket and a few umbrellas because wind can sometimes break them easily. This goes for warm weather as well. If your child is going to a school that is somewhere warm, make sure they have enough clothes to last them the whole year. They also might need bathing suits, flip flops, sunscreen, etc. Basically, just keep in mind the weather because it really affects college students.
Start Preparing Early
Preparing for college can be so overwhelming because there are so many aspects that go into it. You have to buy all of the decorations for the dorm, food, clothes, books, etc. With all of this going on you want to make sure that you don’t forget anything. In order for things to go as smoothly as possible, you honestly want to start preparing as soon as your child declares where they are going to school. If you slowly start shopping at the beginning of the summer, it will make it so much easier on you by the time it starts actually getting close to the time they leave.
Writing everything down can make such a difference. As you go along the college preparation journey, make sure to take notes of anything you think your child might need so that you don’t forget about anything. Looking up checklists online is a great idea and so is asking friends and others who are currently sending their kids to college.
Some colleges even have some pretty great checklists on their website. This is a great way to keep track of everything that you need to purchase before the school year starts. You can also put things on the checklist that just need to be done not necessarily bought. Staying on top of things is hard but it definitely pays off in these types of situations.
Figure out the Financial Plan
Figuring out the financial aspect of college is a huge deal. Make sure that you carefully look over the financial statement from the actual college they are attending and add up the number of external scholarships the received. If you are going to take out loans, you want to figure that out sooner rather than later. If your child is paying for college themselves try to still be slightly involved in making sure that they have enough money and loans because if they do not have the money by a certain time they cannot enroll in their college.
Buy Two of Everything
When you are shopping for toiletries and food you want to make sure that you buy multiples of everything. They are going to be so overwhelmed when they first get to college and you don’t want them to be worrying about buying another shampoo a few weeks after they get there.
After a few months, they will have no problems getting everything that they need to, but at first, you want to make the transition as easy as possible for them. Also, make sure that you send any prescriptions they need to a pharmacy at their school so that you don’t have to send them through the mail.
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Encourage Them & Don’t Make Them Feel Bad About Leaving
I know that this is a very sad time for you, but you do not want to take that out on them and make them feel bad about leaving. You want them to be excited to take on this new adventure. Show them your love by encouraging them not making them feel bad or sad. They may already be nervous and that will definitely not help. Make sure to remind your other family members of that as well.
Remind them to Visit Family and Friends
It is also important that you remind them to make time for everyone over the summer because this is the last time, they will be with everyone for this length of time until next summer. You don’t want them or regret anything when they get to school.
College Planning Checklist: Conclusion
Overall college preparation is so overwhelming and there is so much going on. Do whatever you need to do to make sure that you and your child are as prepared as you can be. Anything that you can do to make this transition easier for them will pay off in the end. Help them, encourage them, and be there for them during this stressful time.
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