How to Prepare for Your Student’s Transition to College

The college application has been submitted, the acceptance letter has been received and you just finished dotting the “I” on the deposit check. Darn you’re good. Let me be the first to wish you congratulations! Your kid is going to college! Your hard work and great parenting has paid off!

The transition period between your student graduating high school and starting college is an emotional journey. You’ll find yourself feeling excited, anxious, worried, hopeful and every emotion in between. It’s understandable; as Bob Dylan once crooned, “The times, they are a changin” Below is a guide to help you prepare for your student’s transition to college. Enjoy.

Acknowledge the Situation for What it is

The best way to begin to prepare for your student’s transition to college is to simply acknowledge the situation for what it is. If you’re feeling mixed emotions, something along the line of anxiousness and hopefulness for the future, know that it’s completely normal to feel that way!  It means you are realizing that your child is taking the next step in their life and accepting change is inherently emotional.  It’s ok, we’re only human.  When you recognize your emotions and responses for what they really are, you view life through the vivid lenses of reality. Reality takes away the sting of uncertainty and keeps you centered.

Read the School Material

Do you remember the countless forms you read and filled out in order to put your student in a position to attend college?  I wish I could tell you that your form filling, paperwork days were over but they only just begun! Use the transition period to fill out all the required paperwork and read any material that the college sends you. This step is often missed, which can have you make unnecessary mistakes.

Thankfully, colleges want your student to start off with their best foot forward. The materials they send you will typically advise what you should bring to the dorms, what you and your student can expect and free resources that the college offers to students and parents. Be sure read all the material that is sent your way in order to ensure a smooth transition.

Make Doctor Appointments

Don’t you love making doctor appointments? Yeah, me neither.  However, good health certainly makes for peace of mind. Use the transition time to set all of the required doctor appointments to ensure that your student is in good health. It’s a necessarily evil.

Attend Student / Parent Summer Orientation

Summer orientation is the perfect way to break the ice into the next chapter of your life.  Try to attend summer orientation as it offers a number of great benefits. Orientation makes you aware of college expectations, introduces you to key members of the university faculty, helps you learn important information, puts your student in a position to meet their classmates and brings a sense of reality to you and your student.  From experience, Washington State University has a terrific summer orientation program. It’s in your best interest to go.

Support Your Student

The best thing you can do to prepare for your student’s transition to college is to simply support them! As a parent realize that your student is starting the next chapter of their life and more than anything your student wants to know that you have their back.  Support your student, I know you want to anyways!

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