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Ready, Set, College


Moving Child into College

It may seem like yesterday when you were sending your child off to preschool. And now you’re preparing him for college!

The process of a child leaving home is a major milestone that is made extra complex because of the emotions it generates. The reality, though, is that there are some very concrete things that can be done to smoothe this transition.

Medical Preparation

Schedule any necessary doctors’ appointments. Check that all immunizations are current, ask the doctor to fill out college medical forms and to write prescriptions for ongoing medications.

If your child has been seeing a mental health professional, make an appointment there, too. It’s best to request a letter describing your child’s issues in case you need it for support services. Decide if your child needs ongoing support from this professional or if you want to arrange for a new therapist at school.

Your child also needs easy access to medical insurance information; make sure this is in place before he leaves.

High School Issues

Have your child check with her high school to make sure the latest transcripts have been sent to the college. Request all high school records, including testing results.

Pave the Way for Success

If necessary, make an appointment with the college’s disability services office. Learn about the services offered and determine the documentation your child needs to apply for services. Most colleges require students to register or apply; put this process in place before classes begin.

Ease the Transition

Spend some time looking at the course catalog with your child, discussing classes of interest and choosing the best courses for him.

Pack Up

Work together to make a list of things to pack. Check off each item as you purchase and pack it. Labeling each item may help prevent loss.

Techie Stuff

Make sure your student’s technology is up-to-date. Does she need a new computer? An upgrade? It’s easier to take care of this while at home.

Be at One with the Portal

Sit down with your child to check out the college’s online portal. You should both be familiar with it and with the information that is available.

Where’s the Library?

Look at the campus map to help your child identify important locations.


If your child does not have one yet, you may want to open an account that includes a debit card. Discuss how much money will be available. If you give your child a credit card, clarify when it is appropriate to use.

Thinking Ahead

Talk about how you will keep in touch. Are you comfortable with email only? Do you want a phone call or video call once a week? Clarify this before the big day.

You can also talk about ways to combat stress at school.

Your turn: Do you have a child leaving for college soon? How are you both preparing for this major milestone? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

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