Parents, from high school to college: here’s what your high school student needs during the transition to college

Now that your student is done celebrating high school graduation and ready to settle into summer, it’s the best time to gather important information from high school, before it gets forgotten in the bustle of back-to-school excitement. Grab a folder – or a flash drive for the computer – and save the following items for the fall:

  • Previous college credit: Before registering for fall classes, students must provide the university with all college and dual credit information. Save paperwork from previous credits or AP classes, and contact the university to see what they need. Most schools need an official transcript if your student completed credits at another school, and if he/she received an AP credit by exam, those results must also be sent to the university. Have your student contact the high school to request official transcripts, and request unofficial transcripts for your own records. If the official transcripts come to you, be sure not to open the envelopes, and forward them to the university.
  • High school work: Hopefully, your student didn’t throw his senior year’s work in the air, singing, “School’s out for summer!” and leave it behind, never to look back.  Important papers, tests and notes can come in handy – especially for overwhelmed freshmen taking college courses, possibly learning how to study for the first time. Professors don’t take valuable class time to review what students learned in high school, so students should do that on their own.
  • Scholarship donor contact information: If your student received a scholarship or grant to attend college, a big “thank you” is in order. Donors, alumnae, philanthropists and even corporations that provide college scholarships love to hear how their money is used. Sending a formal letter after the first semester is a great way to thank them for their contribution and explain how the first semester went. Cultivating those relationships can be the best tactic to ensure more scholarship money, if they make ongoing gifts.
  • Teacher and coach contact information: Many high school seniors leave a small pond feeling like a big fish – and the first few weeks in college can be overwhelming. If your student had a special relationship with a teacher, coach or mentor, that doesn’t have to end when he/she moves on to different waters. An e-mail or phone call from your student to a trusted adult can be encouraging and provide them with support beyond their parents, and thank you notes go a long way to show appreciation for teachers who have made an impact. Keeping up with these relationships is important, because past teachers can be a good reference for students looking for on-campus jobs or internships.