Ultimate Graduation Checklist For Parents

High school graduation marks a major milestone in your child’s life. It’s their first step into adulthood. From here on, they’ll have to learn to deal with life’s many challenges and make important decisions on their own. They’ll also have to earn a living and learn how to manage their finances on their own. Making this transition is challenging for most high school students. As a parent, you can guide them toward making the right choices.

Flickr user Moody College of Communications

Our graduation checklist for parents is designed to help you help your kids without feeling overwhelmed. And yes, it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed. There’s an endless list of things that need to be done between high school graduation and the first day of college.  But before you start with the serious work related to college admissions, it’s important to take time to celebrate your child’s high school graduation.

High school graduation party checklist for parents

Whether you plan to host a huge party or a small get-together, it helps to have a graduation party checklist. This will ensure that you don’t forget anything or anyone.

 So here’s the high school graduation party checklist for parents:

  • Choose a date, time, and place for the party
  • Set a budget and according decide on the venue, food, drinks, and entertainment
  • Book the venue if you’re not hosting the party at home
  • As soon as you decide on the date and venue, send save-the-date cards to everyone on the list
  • Order invitation cards and send them out
  • Make a list of things you need for the party and order them in advance
  • Look for photographs and songs to create a graduation slideshow
  • Hire a photographer or request a friend to get photographs throughout the evening so your child has a keepsake
  • Order thank you cards to be sent after the party

Add these items to your high school graduation checklist if you’re hosting the party at home:

  • Rent tables, chairs, and table covers
  • Make sure you have sufficient crockery and silverware or buy paper plates and plastic cutlery
  • Spruce up the house and lawn
  • Purchase flowers and other décor items
  • Choose the music you’re going to play
  • Delegate responsibilities – keep someone in charge of looking after the guests, another to tend to the bar, and another to help with the food
  • A day before the party, confirm that you will get delivery of rental equipment on time
  • The morning of the party, make sure you have everything you need

You don’t have to wait for the graduation party to be behind you before starting on the other work. You can do both simultaneously. Here are the other things you will need to add to your high school graduation checklist.

High school graduation checklist for parents

Unlike the party, which is a one-time affair, this part of the planning will be ongoing. Plan on scheduling several brainstorming sessions with your high-schooler to discuss their college plans.

Use this high school graduation checklist to make sure that you cover all these with your child:

  • Visit college fairs, talk to the representatives and go through college brochures
  • Help them to choose a major or program
  • Schedule a session with the high school guidance counselor – they have years of experience and may be able to provide valuable insight
  • Help them shortlist colleges that are a good match
  • Be upfront about much you can afford to pay toward their college tuition
  • Decide whether they will be attending an in-state or out-of-state college
  • Help them open a savings account and explain how it works
  • Encourage them to look for scholarships online, the local newspaper, community boards, and their school notice board
  • Schedule at least two campus visits
  • Show them how to make a budget for the year while in college
  • Encourage them to become self-sufficient – how to do laundry, shop for groceries, cook, and vehicle maintenance
  • Help them complete the FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid) – this is mandatory in order to avail of federal financial aid
  • Help them complete and submit their college applications on time

There’s still a lot to do even after your child has completed all the above formalities and sent out their college applications.

This checklist will come in useful after your student has decided which college they are going to attend:

  • Help them understand the financial aid package
  • Help them choose a private lender if they need to take private student loans
  • Decide how they will get to their college and who will accompany them
  • Book travel tickets in advance if the college is across the country
  • Refer to a dormitory checklist to make sure they have everything they need for their first week on campus
  • Make sure they have all vaccines and other health checks done well in advance of their travel date

Above all, don’t forget to stop and slow down occasionally. Schedule in some fun family times and weekend getaways. Encourage them to spend one-on-one time with each family member. These memories will help them get through those days when they’re struggling and feeling homesick.