Now that National Decision Day (May 1st) has passed, it is time to start thinking about transitioning to college. Sending your son or daughter off to college is an epic shift that requires considerable preparation if it’s to go smoothly.
Not only is your child leaving home, they are 18 (or will be soon) and are treated as an adult by the world – whether we think of them that way or not!
In Chapter 12 of Never Pay Retail for College, there are many ideas for transitioning successfully. Here are some key things to work on this summer:
Get a physical and make sure they are up to date on vaccinations
Explain their health insurance plan and how they can use it, if necessary
Work on the basics of managing money
Provide a low limit credit card for emergencies
Ensure they know how to do laundry
Put them in charge of self-care (hair appointments, doctor/dentist appointments, changing the oil in the car, figuring out their cell phone plan, etc.)
Create strategies for time management and stress management
Finally, as a parent, ensure that you have access to their medical information. The law prohibits institutions from sharing information with us as parents once our kids turn 18. That’s why you want your child to have powers-of-attorney in place for healthcare and financial decisions, as well as grades and other information at their college of choice, naming you as someone with whom the institutions can share that private information. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
Of course, this is just one of many pieces of the transition puzzle. You will also be moving from manager to mentor, participant to spectator - this can be the hardest part for many parents. It can also be one of the most satisfying.