To College-Bound High School Graduates (and their Parents),
Congratulations on your college acceptances and deciding on your college of choice. As you prepare to leave home, I encourage you to do a few things to set yourself up for a great start in college. Taking the time now to go over financial and communication expectations with your parents, as well as discussing guidelines with your future roommate(s) will prevent frustration and conflict later. Here are a few things to consider doing:
- Read this letter on Campus Safety
- Read this letter, Six Ways College is Different Than High School
- Discuss the FERPA and HIPA policies with your parents, now that you are 18 (or will be when starting college). Unless you sign these documents and give your college and your parents a copy, they will not be able to participate in health or educational decisions on your behalf.
- Start to take charge of your health and well-being, if you have not already done so. Make your own doctor and dentist appointments for this summer and winter break. Make sure your immunizations are up-to-date.
- Make more of your own meals and don’t expect your parents to remind you to get up and out the door on time.
- Make sure you know how to do your own laundry, manage your debit/credit card accounts, navigate public transportation, read a map, cook a few meals, etc.
- If you will be bringing a car to campus make sure you know how to change a tire, check tire pressure, change the oil and fill the gas tank.
- Talk to your parents about what their expectations are for your personal choices, financial responsibilities, and academics.
- If your parent is not listed on your bank accounts, consider setting up a Durable Power of Attorney. This authorizes your parent or another adult to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are not able to do so. It needs to be signed by a Notary.
- Be honest about your personality and needs when picking a roommate. Discuss ahead of time what your expectations are regarding lights out, girlfriends/boyfriends, noise, cleanliness, etc. Here is a sample Roommate Contract for ideas about issues that might come up.
- Remember that successful college students do three things: have a goal they focus on, are involved in at least one group outside of the classroom, and develop at least one positive relationship with an adult (professor, advisor, counselor).