Guides to packing, preparing, orientation and more.

I’ve written several posts about what to do the summer before your teen begins their freshman year of college. To help you find the answers you’re looking for, 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 they has access to their campus account and review the charges and financial aid package. Sometimes, a student must check a box accepting their aid in order for it to be applied to the bill.

For student loans issued through the college and/or federal government, 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 they’re taking on.

If your student doesn’t need the loan right now, they 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, they may want to access those funds.

Orientation guide The majority of colleges hold orientation in the summer, with some offering sessions in late spring.  Parents are strongly encouraged and, in some cases, required to attend. Students at small, liberal arts college usually attend orientation the week before classes start. To understand what it’s like, whichever option your student is given, check out this post on what to expect at orientation.

Packing No one wants to forget anything, but over packing is worse. Keep in mind discount department stores are usually located near college campuses. 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 As the months and weeks wind down until you send your teen off to campus you may be wondering what you should be doing to help you and your soon-to-be college freshman prepare. Take a look at this post to understand how to deal with the anxiety and excitement the summer before college.

Scheduling appointments and more Verify the paperwork your student needs to fill out before they get to campus. Some schools require a physical and vaccinations. Plus, you’ll want to help them set up a bank account if they don’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 children 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 child’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.