Tips for Parents

5 Things Your Student Must Know Before Going to College

The countdown to move-in day has begun. Whether your student is starting college just down the road or across the country, there are big changes afoot. Help your student be prepared for college by passing along these five things that he must know before he goes to college.

1. How to check the bank balance. Even if your student has been managing finances to a certain degree for a few years, the responsibility ramps up in college. Help your student create an online account through his bank, or look into software applications that will help him manage his budget and keep track of money, like After creating a free account, your student can access all his financial information, including income, transactions, investments, spending, trends and ways to save.

2. How to do laundry. Again, even if laundry isn’t new to your student, things change in college. Dorm life doesn’t provide the convenience of clothes sitting in the dryer for a few days or a mom who matches socks out of the goodness of her heart. Talk to your student about the details of laundry, like when to use hot water, how to sort, how much detergent to use and what should be air dried. Also talk about how often he’ll need to do laundry, how long a load will take, how many quarters he’ll need each time and when the most convenient time will be to avoid crowds.

3. How to wake up. Many high school students rely on their parents or family members to rouse them out of bed in the morning. Even if your student is used to an alarm clock or cell phone buzz to get the day started, he’s not used to the sleeping schedule of a college freshman. Dorm life can extend late into the night, regardless of an 8 a.m. class the next day. Remind your student how much sleep he generally needs to be alert the next day, as well as what helps him wake up and get going in the morning. As simple as it sounds, sleep deeply affects your student’s emotional and physical wellbeing.

4. How to maintain the car. If your student is taking a car to school – and especially if he’s driving a ways to get there – he’ll need to know the basics on maintaining his car. Whether this is a review or all new information, it will give you peace of mind knowing he will be able to handle car trouble away from home. Go over how to check fluid levels like oil and washer fluid. Show him how to check and adjust tire pressure at the self-serve air pump at a gas station. Make sure he has a spare tire and kit that he knows how to use to change a flat. And review the service schedule so he knows when and where to take the car in for a routine service.

5. How to transfer prescriptions. If your student has prescribed medication that he refills regularly, he’ll have to handle the transfer of his prescriptions. If there are several refills available, he can call the new pharmacy in his college town and give them his current pharmacy’s phone number and the prescription numbers that need to be transferred. If his prescriptions will soon expire, make sure your student makes an appointment to see his doctor to renew them, before he goes to school. Then the new pharmacy can call the doctor for the prescription information.

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