College Funding Lifestyle

The 4 Gears of Ramping up for College Prep (this means you mom and dad)

Summer is short and the big day for college Freshman is fast approaching. Are you prepared?

First gear:  It is going to be rough watching your baby walk out the door and head off into the big bad world of college parties and Top Ramen dinners. The fear of their lack of focus will sit right up there with the fear that their roommates will be Cheech and Chong. So take it slow and remember – they are adults, and just as you probably wanted, they will also want to learn how to overcome challenges on their own.

While it is easier said than done, soak up the last few weeks that your kid is still kind of a kid. Take a trip together, go shopping for the “college stuff,” plan a movie and lunch, and throw invisible reminders at them everyday, that while you want them to navigate the semi-real world on their own, you are always there for support. First gear is slow, but it gives you a little more time to enjoy the moments before second gear projects you into the upcoming days of Freshman year. So don’t blink!

Second gear: Now that you have had a chance to spend some time with your semi-adult, trying to instill a small library of the do’s and don’ts into their brains, summer is just about over. The fun is done and now it’s time to start prepping. You’ll probably be finalizing living arrangements, contracts, and deposits – and while you are reviewing and writing checks for all this fun stuff, your student will be picking out the cool cubed storage units and bath organizers for their new pad.

At this point you are going to be a much needed resource for your student because college can be a bit overwhelming! Everyone knows that deciding which giant bean bag chair will fit best in the dorm is WAY more fun than organizing that first tuition payment.

Help out as much as you can, quietly designating yourself as the “project manager” to keep them on task. Create a checklist, and talk with your student about what is in store, as well as what your expectations are.

Just a few considerations:

  • Communication – Without spinning your loud helicopter rotor over their heads, discuss the best communication method (phone, text, social media, etc.), and how often.
  • Health Insurance – If your student is attending a school out of state, will they be covered?
  • Spending Money – Will you be giving them spending money or will you want them to get a part-time job? Could taking on a job could hinder their academics? Or, more realistically, will they tell you that working part time will hinder their scholarly learning?
  • Transportation – Will they rely on public transportation or ride a bike? Will they have a car? Better yet, will it be a one-person car? How will they get around both on and off campus?
  • Living Quarters – Will your student be living on or off campus? Will they have roommates?

Third Gear: Go forth and enjoy orientation! This time honored tradition will introduce you both to the campus, allowing your student to become familiar with where their classes are, and giving you a chance to stake out the best spying locations. It will also educate them (aka you) on school policies, rules, the school’s honor code, and a ton of other information you will need to take in because they will be too busy scanning the campus for their Homecoming date.

Moreover, orientation will show off the different clubs and organizations available – as well as possible informal Greek rush activities if your student is considering the Greek life. They will have a chance to talk with student representatives for everything ranging from the debate club to the ping pong team.

Essentially, orientation will ease you both through the transition from High School to College – and in this case ease really means “fast track.”

Final Gear: The day has come to say goodbye to your semi-adult and the semi-comfort you had of knowing what they are doing and who they are hanging out with.

Try to send them off with very few tears. They know you are going to miss them, but at that moment they will just need a big boost of encouragement and support – without the dusty old “back when I was in college” speeches or the “I can’t believe my baby is in college” selfie pics.

Make the moment about them, not you. Give them positive words of confidence and love – and visit often! You know you want to!


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Investment advisory services are offered through Trek Financial, LLC., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered specific investment advice, does not take into consideration your specific situation, and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any securities or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and are not guaranteed. Be sure to consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Trek FG 17-526

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