A Guide to the Summer Before Freshman Year

Guides to packing, preparing, orientation and more.

By Anne Vaccaro Brady

In the past two years, I’ve written several posts about what to do the summer before your son or daughter begins their freshman year of college. To help you find everything you need, I’ve compiled the links to all those posts below and added a few more suggestions.  I keep learning, too.

Pencil and calculatorPaying the tuition bill Before you know it that first semester payment will be due. Go online with your teen now if he has access to his campus account and review the charges and financial aid package. Sometimes, a student must check a box accepting his aid in order for it to be applied to the bill.

For student loans issued through the college and/or federal government, like Stafford, a recipient must take a short online course first before receiving it. The course explains all the details on the loan, including repayment, to ensure the borrower understands the responsibility he’s taking on.

If your student doesn’t need the loan right now, he should leave the box unchecked, if possible, rather than decline the loan outright. Life happens, and if your family’s financial circumstances change by the second semester, he may want to access those funds.

Orientation guide Some of you completed orientation with your incoming freshmen during the past few weeks. Yes, parents are asked to attend. The rest of you are probably preparing to embark, unless your student is going to a small, liberal arts college, which usually holds orientation the week before classes start. To understand what it’s is all about, check out this post on what to expect at orientation.

Packing No one wants to forget anything (although discount department stores are usually located near college campuses), but over packing is worse. When I wrote my posts on what to take to campus, I went to the experts—current college students and their parents.

In my first post, I offered up my personal suggestions on often forgotten items. Then I wrote this one based on items that parents of college students thought were essential. I finished up with this list of what students and recent grads advised

I thought I was done, but then a year later my daughter wrote this guest post on putting together a college wardrobe. Always helps to hear from someone on the frontline.

Do this and not that For most parents, you’ll be sending your teen off to campus in less than two months. Wondering what you should be saying and doing with your soon-to-be college freshman until then? Take a look at this post to understand how to deal with the anxiety and excitement of the next several weeks.

Scheduling appointments and more Verify the paperwork your student needs to fill out before she gets to campus. Some schools require a physical and vaccinations. Plus, you’ll want to help her set up a bank account, if she doesn’t have one already. Commuter students must figure out transportation to and from campus. Review this checklist of things to do before your kid heads to college to make sure you cover everything.

What to say I asked some experienced parents to share the words of wisdom they imparted on their sons and daughters who were about to start college. This post is filled with their parental wisdom. Check it out.

There you have it. After you settle your freshman on campus, continue visiting this blog for advice on what to expect during your teen’s first year of college.

Feel free to share your questions, thoughts or advice on the summer before freshman year in the comments section below. 

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One Response to A Guide to the Summer Before Freshman Year

  1. Great advice! Can’t believe summer is almost over and another school year is about to begin again.

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