A Parent's Guide
To help you deal with the practical packing as well as the drama-filled goodbyes, we've put together a guide to get you and your college-bound kid through this exciting and trying period.
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The bottom line
Maura Condon Umble, director of parent relations at Franklin and Marshall College, will be sending her own child off to college this fall. She offers these bottom-line, non-negotiable tips for parents planning to send their kids to college:
Talk about money. Discuss how much your student should be expected to make in spring/summer earnings and how much of that should cover expenses in college. If college is far away, how many plane trips are you going to pay for? Who's going to cover the cost of books, movies and pizza?
Don't gloss over the challenges ahead. People say college is the greatest four years of your life, but it's not all peaches and cream. There are bad days. There are mean professors. There are Cs, Ds and maybe even Fs. No college is perfect. Yes, it's something to look forward to, but it's not Shangri-La.
Talk about the opportunities ahead. Two students at the same school, in the same dorm, in the same classes can have two very different experiences. A first-class experience requires your student to show up, to participate, to sit in the front row, to be curious, to get out of her comfort zone.
Don't fret the roommate notification too much. A roommate is someone with whom to get along. The comforters don't have to match perfectly, and roommates don't have to be BFFs. Living with a best friend can get tiresome.
Teach your kid how to do his laundry. A college administrator told me the other day that one of her newest students needed her help to do his laundry. He didn't have a clue. C'mon. Really