Your student has been accepted to college. Check.
Final decision made. Check.
Deposit paid. Check
Chances are that both you and your student have been consumed with the college application, admission and decision process for the past several months or years – maybe even longer. Now that the decision and deposit are done, what do you do next?
A new kind of work begins now for your student – saying “no, thank you” to other colleges, placement tests, roommate/housing surveys, registering for classes, checking in with other incoming freshmen on Facebook, and probably filling out endless forms of one kind or another.
But this is all work for your student. And it is essential that your student complete these tasks, not you. How do you fit in? What is left for you to do?
Don’t worry; your work isn’t done yet. Actually, there are a few tasks for you to think about right now as a new college parent.
- Celebrate with your student. Take some time to just enjoy the completion of this process before the work of actually starting college begins. Buy the decal for the car. Get them a sweatshirt or T-shirt – maybe get one for yourself.
- Check important upcoming deadlines – housing deposit, health forms, tuition payments. Make sure your student knows these dates, too.
- Check the college calendar for important dates and get them on your personal or family calendar. Know the dates for Summer Orientation, Move-in Day, Family Weekend.
- If you will be traveling a distance to the college, make hotel reservations now. Nearby hotels fill quickly for big events. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to attend an event, such as Family Weekend, make the reservation anyway. It’s easier to cancel later than to have to stay 20 miles away because everything in town is full.
- Review your student’s financial aid package and update your FAFSA with any new information.
- Read everything that the college sends to parents. Check to see whether there is a Parent Orientation scheduled. If so, make reservations and plan to attend. You’ll receive lots of important information there – and also have an opportunity to meet other parents and college personnel.
- Begin to get acquainted with your student’s new academic and social home. Spend some time browsing the college website, the college catalog, any materials you’ve received. You’re not evaluating the school now; you’re trying to get to know the place and the culture where your student will be spending the next several years.
- Begin to think about what you can do for yourself. Focus on new plans for the fall, hobbies neglected, friends you’ll connect with. Acknowledge that this will be a transition for you as well as your student and begin to make some plans.
- Spend time on College Parent Central and listening to our podcast. We have information about all aspects of college parenting. Become the expert. Bookmark the site and come back often.
- Relax and enjoy this moment. You and your student have earned it.