This is a 2-part blog post written by In Order team member, Hannah.
Part 1 – Getting a Handle on All the Details!
Congratulations – your child is ready to begin the college experience. Now that he or she has been accepted, there are important items to take care of and pay attention to. Because of the critical nature of these details, we’ll cover it in two parts.
Part 1 is about getting a handle on all the specifics and breaks down the paperwork, scheduling technology and legal issues you’ll need to plan for and understand.
As emotional and exciting as it is to send a child off to college, it can also be an incredibly stressful and overwhelming transition. The anticipation of beginning college can provoke a great deal of anxiety, especially if your child plans to dorm at school. Being organized is key to being able to enjoy your time with them and can help ease the pressure of this new life experience. Make sure to involve your child in the organization process.
School Websites, Portals, and Passwords
You and your child should take some time to get familiar with the school’s website and portals. This will help them feel more integrated into their new school and enable you both to better navigate everything with ease when you need to find something in the future. Don’t forget to keep a running list of your usernames and passwords!
Please note that as your child now has complete control over their academic record under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), they will need to grant you proxy access in order for you to see any part of their account information, and for school officials to speak with you. This is key! You may be the one paying for their education, but unless they do this, you have no ability to see grades, payment history or record, or even communicate with the school.
Important Dates and Deadlines
The summer may seem long, but there’s a lot to do to prepare. The most important thing to mitigating pre-college stress is knowing what to expect. Find the college’s calendar or list of important dates for each semester. Print them out (for the entire academic year) and keep them somewhere you can easily reference them. It’s likely that not every date will be relevant to you and your child, so go through it and highlight the dates that are — payments due, first day of classes, last day to drop a class, vacation dates, etc. If you use a calendar on your cellphone, add these important dates there too. If you live out of area, make your hotel reservations now for parents’ weekend, shows or sports events (if your child participates), and graduation, as the hotels close to campus tend to fill up quickly.
Schools will often provide a checklist of forms due before the beginning of the semester. This may include proof of vaccines and immunizations, information to receive financial aid, signing up for a food plan, or finding a roommate. Failure to complete any of these forms on time could result in your child’s inability to enroll in classes or receive financial aid. Like your list of important dates, have a hard copy of forms, and the deadlines written next to them. Indicate whether the form needs to be filled out by you or your child. For instance, you may need to fill out most of the financial forms, but your student will need to fill out the roommate/dorm forms. If necessary, break down each task into smaller tasks to make them more manageable; for example:
Immunization records – due 08/26
-Call pediatrician and request forms
-Create health portal profile
-Scan and upload forms
Also, we strongly recommend that you have a lawyer draw up a health care proxy and power of attorney so you can act on your child’s behalf in the event of an emergency.
Next, watch out for Part 2 where we help you plan the “Big Move-In”.