With fall right around the corner, many kids will be waving bye to their towns and saying hi to new ones. College can be an exciting time for students, but it can also be daunting, especially for parents. If you’re nervous about your child moving out, don’t let them leave the house without these tips and tricks to ensure success in their first year! 

How To Budget 

Whether your child is heading off to a big city or small town, they’re going to be spending money. Establishing a limit restricts their buying, but it doesn’t explain how much money should go towards certain purchases, leaving them uninformed about sensible spending. Helping them create a budget will show them how to allocate money to different categories, like clothes and food. It also teaches responsibility and sets them up for a financially smart future. Banks have apps with budgeting tips and where spending can be tracked; plus, all of their accounts will already be connected. This is the safest option, but for apps dedicated solely to budgeting check out this recent list. Be careful when asked to sync personal information! 

Cleaning Efficiently 

No one wants a filthy dorm, so teach your kid how to keep their place tidy and get rid of any stains or messes that suddenly appear. Sure, Google is always available with how-tos, but equipping your child with the right cleaning supplies and knowledge makes the process easier and quicker. Depending on the arrangement and utilities of their dorm, purchase a vacuum and/or spray mop for the floor. Soap, sponges, paper towels and disinfectant spray can be used for other surfaces and dishes. Stain remover or soap are ideal for blemishes on clothing and carpet. Hard to remove substances on wooden areas should be delicately scraped off prior to cleaning. Recommend that your child create a cleaning schedule with their roommate and stick to it, so the dorm remains neat year around. 

Laundry is another imperative life skill to have. While laundry machines on campus have instructions, knowing how different settings affect clothing quality will maximize their lifespan and prevent potential damage. Check here for some basic guidelines to follow. 

Textbooks Don’t Come Cheap

Individual textbooks can run into the hundreds and heighten already costly semester fees. Rarely do students ever need them on the first day of class, so advise your child to consider online versions or secondhand copies. Professors often explain the purchasing process and whether a certain version is actually required at the start of the semester, so there’s even more reason to wait. If your child is anxious about not having the exact physical copy, suggest purchasing the textbook from a non-university seller they can send the book back to since university bookstores don’t always allow returns after a certain period of time (call to confirm). 

Communication Is Key

Living with strangers is no easy feat, much less for people starting college and dealing with its stresses. Most teenagers know how to find a roommate but may stop communicating with them after the living situation has been confirmed. Encourage your kid to talk to their future roommate throughout the summer to establish a basis of communication and potential friendship. This allows for a comfortable start to the year and makes the transition much smoother. Be sure to inform them that people are different in real life compared to online and they’ll still have to adjust to living with another person. For kids who don’t have the option of picking a roommate, teach them how to set boundaries, communicate effectively and share space. There will be at least one RA (resident assistant) they can look to should there be any problems. 

Utilizing Office Hours 

It’s easy to skip out on meeting with professors, but office hours can be crucial to one’s success in a class. Remind your child that professors want to help, and these relationships can benefit them in the long run should they need a letter of recommendation or help in another area. If they don’t feel comfortable speaking with a professor, certain classes have TA’s (teaching assistants) who are available. Universities often have upperclassmen who tutor in case your child would rather seek help from another student. 

Cooking 101 

While on campus housing is usually required for freshmen, some students still have access to kitchens or might live in apartments or dorms with cooking utilities later on. Teaching them how to cook before the busyness of college affords them options should they grow tired of cafeteria food or wish to make a meal from scratch. Introducing 3-5 easy recipes prepares them for the future and can eliminate the panic and confusion. Foods they’ve grown up eating and already feel a connection to may be the best place to start. Family recipes often provide comfort when they’re away from home; teaching them how to make these beloved dishes can be a bonding experience too!

The first year of college might have bumps along the road but with these tips and tricks your child will be more equipped to take on challenges that come their way.