If the trend in college enrollment continues from previous years, 65.9% of recent high school graduates will attend a form of higher education.1 That means 2.17 million graduates from the class of 2016 will be heading off to start the next chapter of their lives. Those future college students aren’t the only ones with a large list of tasks to complete. Parents across the country are preparing for the big transition. But where do you start? Read our infographic to find out the five most important tasks to get you started.
1. Create a Spending Budget.
Consider this: When your child leaves for college, it will probably be the most independence they have experienced financially. Are they prepared for the responsibility? Set aside time to walk through their current expenses, the expenses that they will incur while living on their own, as well as emergency expenses. Find a spreadsheet online or create your own to help you get started.
2. Teach Them How to Do Laundry.
After graduation, have your kids do their own laundry (including bedding, towels, etc.) until they leave for college. This way they can troubleshoot any problems that may come up and ask you any questions while you’re readily available. Working out the kinks beforehand may help avoid calamity (and ruined clothes) in the future.
3. Go Over What to Do in an Emergency.
We’re not talking natural disasters here (though it couldn’t hurt to include it). Discuss what to do if they get injured, in an accident, need emergency funds or other unexpected challenges. Decide if you want to set up a bank account in both your names to transfer money more easily (and with less fees than a money order).
4. Teach Them the Basics of Cooking.
Though most dorms have meal plans as part of the room costs, there will come a day when they need to feed themselves. Have your recent grad cook dinner for the family once or twice a week to practice. Make sure they try different methods of cooking and baking. Just as with laundry, it will be nice to be able to assist them in the moment.
5. Share the Basics of Navigating… Without a Phone.
In this day and age, technology becomes a crutch. If your kid gets lost, whether it is via public transit or in the car, and their phone dies, can they navigate an unfamiliar campus? Visit campus before the year starts to familiarize yourselves or go over a map. This is especially important on larger city campuses.
1National Center for Educational Statistics. (n.d.). Back to school statistics. Retrieved 13 May, 2016, from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372