Senior Summer: Why Your Almost College Student May Feel Homeless this Summer

The summer before the first year of college.  It is an interesting summer – for both parents and students.  There is the anticipation and excitement – but that is coupled with stress, nerves, and the emotions of leaving home and friends behind.  Parents need to be especially patient – both with themselves and with their students – as you both navigate this new territory.

One of the characteristics of this summer before college is that feeling of in-between that most high school graduates/not yet college freshmen feel.  They are of both worlds, yet not really of either.  It is a strange, somewhat homeless feeling for many students.

No longer high school

It is likely that for much of the last year of high school your senior couldn’t wait to be done.  The focus for several years has been on getting into college – the grades, the activities, the college visits, the applications, the acceptance,  the decision.  Once the goal of college admission was accomplished, many students settled into a few weeks, or months, of senioritis – finishing out the year.

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Helping Your College Student Living at Home: What Can You Do?

This is the second of two posts considering college students who live at home during the college years. Parents of these students face a unique set of issues.  In our first post, we looked at some of the reasons that students may choose to live at home, and some of the issues that might arise.  In this post, we consider some things that parents can do to help make the experience a rewarding one for everyone involved.

Recognizing that your college student living at home may have reservations about the experience and will face a unique set of issues is an important first step in helping your student make the most of the college experience.  Recognizing that your “letting go” process will be more complex with your student living at home will also help you to analyze the experience.  However, it is important that parents, and their college students, recognize that there are things that they can do to make this experience go smoothly – and ensure a rewarding four years.

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Helping Your College Student Living at Home: What Are the Issues?

This is the first of two posts considering college students who live at home during the college years. Parents of these students face a unique set of issues.  In this first post, we look at some of the reasons that students may choose to live at home, and some of the issues that might arise.  In our next post, we will consider some things that parents can do to help make the experience a rewarding one for everyone involved.

 

The college years are a time of growing independence for most college students.  When students leave home to go away to college, they learn not only what they are being taught by their professors, but they learn many life skills.  College students living away from home learn to manage their time, balance priorities, budget their money, hone their life skills, maintain relationships, and conduct the logistical necessities of their lives.

But what about students who attend college while continuing to live at home?  Will they develop the independence that their classmates living on campus do?  What about the parents of college students living at home?  How will they cope with having an emerging adult in residence at home?  How can parents help their at-home college student to gain independence while still maintaining a household in which everyone is comfortable?

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How Parents Can Help Make College Move-In Day A Success

After all of the months, and years, of preparing, it’s finally here!  As college move-in day approaches, parents recognize the reality of having their student actually head off to college.  Somehow, you know your student will eventually get packed, you will manage to fit everything in the car, and your student will finally end up settled in his room. But the process may seem daunting.

Move-in day will go more smoothly if you have prepared well at home.  You can help your student be organized about packing and preparing for the big move.  However, no matter how well prepared you are, move-in day will be a new experience for all of you.

Your student’s college may send you some information ahead of time, and they will probably do everything they can to help you navigate the day, but here are some suggestions that may help to make the day – and the transition – go more smoothly.

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Preparing For Your College Freshman’s Move To College

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?

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Five More Conversation Starters For Parents and Students Before the First Year of College

In our last post, we suggested five conversations parents and students should have before the student begins college.  Here are five more questions to consider.

The process of heading off to college – both for your student and for you – is filled with expectations.  One roadblock, however, may be that your expectations and your student’s expectations may not be the same.  Using the summer months for some frank and open talk about expectations will clear the air – and possibly avoid difficult situations later when you realize that you, or she, made some assumptions.  Good communication now will also lay the foundation for continued quality communication once your student heads off.

Here are five questions or conversations you might consider having before your student leaves for school.  Don’t try to cover them all at once, but try to touch on some of these topics as you both prepare.  Not only will you learn some things about your student, but she may learn some things about you as well.

When, and how often, will your student come home to visit during the first semester?

Whether or not your student will come home to visit during the first semester may not be an issue if your student is far away from home.  But if your student’s school is close enough, do you anticipate her coming home often?  Does she plan to come home?  Some students head off to college planning to come home every weekend.  They want to see their friends, they may want some home-cooking, or they may have a weekend job at home.  However, students who are connected to their college – through friends and on-campus activities often do better.  Of course, you don’t want your student to feel as though you don’t want her to come home, but you may need to discuss the importance of her spending time on campus to establish her new life.  You may need to work to understand why she doesn’t want to come home on the weekend to visit you.  Be flexible, of course, but make a plan before your student leaves home.

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Five Conversations Parents and College Students Should Have Before the First Year of College

The summer before your student heads of to college is an exciting, busy, and stressful time for everyone.  There’s lots to do to prepare – forms to complete, finances to consider, orientations to attend, shopping to do.  Your student may be working and is also busy trying to spend as much time with his friends – and saying goodbye.  Communication with your college student may have its wonderful moments, and may also be strained.  You feel it is your last chance to impart your wisdom, and he is increasingly anxious to be independent.

The process of heading off to college – both for your student and for you – is filled with expectations.  One roadblock, however, may be that your expectations and your student’s expectations may not be the same.  Using the summer months for some frank and open talk about expectations will clear the air – and possibly avoid difficult situations later when you realize that you, or she, made some assumptions.  Good communication now will also lay the foundation for continued quality communication once your student heads off.

Read moreFive Conversations Parents and College Students Should Have Before the First Year of College