What your student should do to prepare for their first semester of college


Your student’s first year of college is approaching and everyone from their aunt to the store clerk is probably giving them more advice than they can handle. We get it, it can be a little overwhelming for them. And you, too. Our seven-item action plan will help your student feel (and be) as prepared as possible for their college adventure.

Meet the new roommate

If your student already knows who they’re rooming with, encourage them to reach out to their roommate and begin a conversation. Along with starting to get to know each other’s habits and schedules, they should also decide who’s bringing what. (Microwaves are great, but they won’t need two.) Share this list of great intro questions with your student to help get the ball rolling.

Know their schedule

Once your student has registered for classes, they can start planning how they’ll spend their days. They should map out their routes, breaks and meal times so they feel good about their day-to-day flow. They can search online for an interactive campus map to help get them started.

And remind your student to be sure they have time to actually attend their classes. They may have heard that in college attendance doesn’t matter, and while it may not always be tracked, it matters a lot to your student’s grades and education.

Make time for the family

If your student is moving away from home, encourage them to make the most of the time they have left living with the family by spending quality time with everybody (and maybe giving the dog an extra walk around the block). They’ll have so much fun in college, but there will still be times they’ll miss the comforts of home and will be glad they spent a little extra time with everyone before they left.

Build their budget

Summer is the perfect time for your student to start planning their finances for the school year. They should keep applying for scholarships and start getting the money they already have from their job or savings in order. Having a plan before your student starts living on their own will help them tremendously.

Polish their profiles

Your student is starting fresh in school, so why not start fresh on their social media sites? They should start by cleaning up and organizing some of the pictures and content they’ve shared. Everyone from potential employers and professors to their new friends might be looking them up online. Here are a few tips to start tidying. While they’re at it, they should create or update their LinkedIn page with their college info and any summer jobs they’ve had.

If your student is bringing their personal laptop to school, now is a great time to clean it up, too. We recommend starting a process to back up their files in case of a computer crash.

Practice independence

This is a good opportunity to talk to your student about becoming a responsible adult. Maybe they’re lacking skills in areas like doing their own laundry, managing their time or finding a job. Talk to them, ask them questions and let them ask you questions to help them get fully prepared for their college experience.

Set future goals

Talk to your student about spending some time thinking about what they want from their college experience. They might want to write down their personal, financial and career goals, and start thinking about how they’re going to work toward them. These goals should be flexible; your student can always alter them, and they’ll likely change as your student grows over the next four years. This is their path and they’re in charge of their future from here on out, so having a few goals to reach for is a great place to start.