As you and your college student navigate your way through the summer before heading off to college, you will have many ups and downs. There is much to be done, and tensions may run high at times. It is a summer of excitement and emotion. There are several things that you can do throughout the summer to help to ease the transition to college. However, as the actual move-in day approaches, there are some specific things that you, as a college parent to be, can do to help the move go smoothly.
- Be informed. Read all of the material that you have received from the college. Don’t be caught off guard at the last minute because you’ve forgotten something urgent. Know college policies. Can your student bring a microwave or refrigerator? Are pets allowed? What is the college alcohol policy? Can he bring his own bed or mattress? How much extra furniture is allowed?
- Check specific information about arrival time. You want to arrive as early as possible, but some schools may designate a specific time for you to arrive. If they tell you to come at noon, don’t expect to be allowed to move in at 7 a.m.
- If you are a long distance from the college, consider traveling the day before move-in and staying overnight. Early arrival for move-in day is helpful. It may be easier on everyone if you do your traveling the day before. If you plan to do this, make arrangements early. Others may be doing the same thing and hotels may be full.
- Help your student make a checklist of everything he needs to pack. This will make it easier to use that checklist as you pack the car. Do the thinking ahead of time rather than at the last minute.
- Gather all important paperwork in one place and leave it accessible. If your student knows what residence hall he will be in, have that information. If he will need to turn in health forms or financial forms, etc., make sure that they are packed on top.
- Help your student not to become overwhelmed. (This means you shouldn’t become overwhelmed!) Take things one step at a time.
- Remember that your student will be able to buy some things once she is at school. It may make sense to wait to see what may be needed or to check with a roommate once she arrives. You may take your student to a local store – or she will go on her own. If she forgets something now, she’ll be able to buy things later.
- Be prepared to be “dismissed” by your student. It may be important to her that she prepare and pack on her own. Step back from the process when necessary, but be prepared to help out when asked.
- Be patient with your student’s possible procrastination. Packing may seem overwhelming. And finally packing makes the whole prospect of college and leaving home very real. Many students wait until the last moments to actually pack. Be patient. You are not alone.
Somehow, students always manage to get packed and fit everything in the car or van and get on their way. The process may go smoothly and painlessly, or it may be difficult and awkward. Remember that it will get done, and that your relationship with your student throughout the process is important. Be patient with your student – and with yourself. You will soon be on your way to actual Move-In Day.