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6 Tips to Help Your College Freshman Make the Transition to Campus Life - by Tracy Ebert

Webster’s definition of a freshman is: a 1st year student.  As a parent, you see your college freshman as much more than that…this is your baby boy or girl getting thrown out into the big, cruel world.  There are probably a myriad of emotions running through you:  excited, insecure, exhilarated and downright scared.  Keep in mind that, as your college freshman is frantically packing up his belongings to move into that dorm, he is more than likely feeling those very same emotions…times 10!

 

Here are some tips for you to help your young adult make the transition to college:

  1. Encourage him to participate in school related activities such as intramural sports and clubs - This will help him to make friends who have the same interests and will help ease him into campus life.
  2. Send care packages – Whether it is your famous homemade cookies, a special college tee you found on sale, or just a quick card or letter to say “I’m thinking of you,” he will appreciate it to no end!  (AND, he will be the envy of his entire dorm)
  3. Keep the lines of communication open – Provide him with a calling card or cell phone so he has quick and easy access to the most comfortable place in the world…HOME.  Almost all college students have their own computers.  If your child does not have one, he will have access to the computer lab at school where he can receive a quick email from home wishing good luck on a test or an update on his sister’s winning goal in the soccer game.
  4. Teach him how to manage money – Sit down and work out an initial budget for your freshman to help him figure out expenses for the semester.  Set a weekly allowance for him to spend.  Encourage him to manage his own checking account.  Don’t come to the rescue EVERY time he needs another $20.  By TEACHING him how to budget and manage expenses (and not doing it for him), you will be giving him a great skill that will help him grow as an independent adult.
  5. Encourage sibling communication – Call, write, text message, email…these are all great methods of communication for siblings.  Being able to keep in touch will help BOTH the younger sibling and your older child make the transition to them being away from home.
  6. DON’T drop in on him unannounced – Your 18 year-old is finding out what it’s like to live on his own without mom and dad hovering.  Show him the respect that he deserves and don’t drop in, but DO make plans to come visit on a Friday or Saturday…attend a football game, stay in a nearby hotel, treat him to a nice dinner, take a tour of the school and meet some of his friends.  He will be happy to have you there and show off his new surroundings.

 

There will be many ups and downs this freshman year of school for you and for your child.  You know that your child is about to begin one of the best times of his life – times and experiences that he’ll never forget.  You need to be strong and supportive to help him make the transition from live-at-home teenager to that of a young independent adult.



Tracy Ebert is the owner of: My Special Note (http://www.myspecialnote.com), an online retail store offering personalized gifts and letters for the special kid in your life - featured products include licensed Collegiate and Greek personalized pillowcases and laundry bags. Tracy lives in Virginia with her husband and three children.



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