Checklist: Making a Plan the Summer Before College

From forms to packing to money, this checklist will help you and your teen plan for all the little things that may come up the summer before college.

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There are a million things to do the summer before your teen heads off to college. You may question how you can possibly get it all done in time, but don’t worry, you will find a way! This checklist will help you and your teen plan for all the little things that may come up the summer before college:

  • Fill out any required forms and documents.

    There are always forms that slip through the cracks. Your student will need to make sure their college gets a final high school transcript and proof of graduation. Be on the lookout for last minute documents, like housing forms and financial aid/scholarship forms that need to be submitted.

  • Make sure your student’s health is covered.

    Double-check your health insurance policy, and talk to your teen about it. Many colleges have student health plans. Fill out any immunization forms required before your student leaves home. For more, check out Transferring Healthcare Responsibility to Young Adults.

  • Make or remind your student of any outstanding payments.

    Each school will function differently, but you may have housing or tuition payments to make to the school during the summer.

  • Encourage your teen to apply for last-minute scholarships.

    The summer before and during senior year of high school is a big time for scholarship applications, but the summer after graduation is a time that often goes unutilized. Encourage your teen to apply for scholarships that may help ease the financial burden of college and other miscellaneous expenses.

  • Have a conversation (or several…) about money.

    Make it clear what you will pay for, and what you will not.

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  • Get on track for packing early.

    It is your teen’s responsibility to pack and get ready for college, but you’ll likely lend a hand. Starting early always helps, especially when last-minute necessities come up.

  • Coordinate your teen’s drop-off to their college.

    Your teen may be attending college nearby or across the country. Either way, plan how you will get your teen to school, who will be going along on the trip, and how you are going to transport all of your teen’s stuff.

  • Encourage your teen to reach out to their roommate(s).

    If your teen is going to be living in campus housing, like dorms, it may be a good idea for them to get in touch with their new roommate. With Facebook and other social networking websites, it’s easy for students to connect a bit before the move-in date. This can help the transition go more smoothly for all involved.

  • Plan for orientation.

    Orientation happens all throughout the summer at most schools. Plan early for when your student (and you) will be attending. Most schools have a separate orientation for parents at the same time as your student’s.

  • Make sure your kid has these key life skills.

    Doing laundry, cooking, managing a budget…if you haven’t had these conversations already, now’s the time.

  • Start thinking about parents’ weekend.

    Many schools have a parent weekend where parents can visit campus and their student. If you plan on attending, check this date early, as hotels near campus can fill up quickly.

  • Look into parent programs and ways to stay up-to-date with what’s going on at the school.

    Many schools across the country have parent programs to keep parents in the loop with important updates, news, events and more. Start looking at these resources early so you are aware of what’s going on at your student’s school.

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  • Figure out what kind of communication works for you and your teen.

    Going from seeing your teen every day to not at all can be a big shock. Make sure to talk to your teen about how and when you’ll communicate with them while they are in school. Figure out what works best for both of you.

  • Have important conversations.

    These conversations never really stop, but the summer before college is a good time to continue talking about (or start talking about) important topics like consent, drugs & alcohol, and more.

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  • Make the most of the summer and give your teen lots of love.

    The summer will go by faster than you think! Spend time with your soon-to-be departing teen. You may get frustrated with them asserting their independence or pulling away, but they are having many mixed emotions, too. Don’t forget to tell them you love them. More than once.

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