Preparing to go off to college can be absolutely hectic. There’s a ton of things to do, from filling up all kinds of applications to buying essentials, attending orientations, putting finances in order and saying those bitter-sweet goodbyes. Amid all of this hustle and bustle, it is crucial for parents to make time to have meaningful conversations with their college-going student.
There are quite a few conversations to have with your student before they head off to college. Stressful as it may sound, it is far better to set clear expectations now. Don’t leave things open to misinterpretation after your student has left home.
Will you be sending money to your student regularly or do you expect them to manage their own money? If you are planning on sending money, how often will it be and how much? What college expenses will you cover? Will you step in to help out if your student finds themselves in a financial bind?
What about a credit card? If you are planning on giving your child a credit card, be clear about your expectations about the use of the card. If it is only for emergencies, make that very clear.
There is no right or wrong way to handle expenses. However, it is important that your student knows what to expect so they can plan their budget accordingly.
Responsibilities and Expectations
College is the first time many students are away from home and under their own power. Thus, some students abuse that newfound freedom by partying or forgoing their school work.
Underage drinking and substance abuse is a problem on some campuses. Therefore, it’s important to sit your child down and openly talk about your expectations of them. Talk about what to do in cases of peer pressure, safe practices, and the important balance of classes with social life.
If worse comes to worse, it’s important to have a plan. The dorms themselves will have safety drills, but it’s good to talk with your student about any potential medical emergencies and what to do should they happen. Make sure they have a copy of any necessary documents and know multiple ways of getting into contact with you quickly.
Keeping the lines of communication open is crucial. You want your student to start being more responsible for their actions but all the while knowing that they will have your wholehearted support should anything go wrong. That should be the core message of every conversation you have with your college-going child. Make sure it’s a conversation, not a lecture. It should be a two-way communication, after all, and your student will likely have something to say in response.
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