Preparing for College: A Checklist for Parents



Graduation is now over. You have the summer to prep before college begins. Here is a quick checklist for those of you going through the same thing as us to get yourself and your child ready.

One of most important things to do during this time is to have lots of conversations with your child so you are on the same page. Here are some suggested topics for you to cover.

Budget conversation:

  • Will they be expected to work and contribute to expenses? If so, how much?

  • What will you cover?

  • Tuition

  • Books

  • Food

  • Room/Board and associated expenses

  • Entertainment

  • Phone

  • Clothing

  • Cleaning supplies

Communication expectations:

  • Ask your son/daughter how often they would like to hear from you.

  • Safety check-ins: What is the maximum amount of time for them to get back to you when you reach out to them?

  • Grades expectations:

  • Do you have a GPA expectation?

  • What happens if it drops below that?

  • What happens if they fail a class? Do they pay to retake it?

  • Sex, Drugs, Alcohol and Adult Decisions

  • Will you be performing drug tests in college? If they test positive what are the consequences?

  • If they are caught drinking/drugs by the police what are the expectations for costs incurred for any fines/lawyer fees?

  • What does it mean to make adult decisions with adult consequences?

  • What is acceptable physical contact?

  • What do you do when you want to stop?

  • What do you do when the other person wants to stop?

  • How do you protect yourself from unwanted situations?

·Budgeting Items that need to be planned out:

  • Dorm room necessities. There are several checklists that you can check out for the important items. Make sure to set a budget and stick to it.

  • Travel expenses if the college is out of state. How often will they come home and how often will you go visit?

  • School supplies- Books, backpacks & supplies can add up so consider buying in advance so you can take advantage of sales. Most colleges have used books options to try to connect with other parents or current students to get the inside scoop.

  • Clothing-Will you be buying clothes for the semester in advance or will they get a monthly allotment? Or will they be responsible for buying their own clothes


Balancing letting go and holding tight:

What are some fun small activities that you can do one on one with your graduate this summer to get ready for college?

Understand that your house rules now include an adult. What does that look like?


I am sure I have missed some things and will just keep adding to my checklist as I go along. Check off the list one at a time and enjoy your time with your child. They are probably anxious and excited as well so just savor this time. No matter where they go to college, they will always be your baby. For more tips and to follow my journey raising five kids follow me @amyanncurran Dave Ramsey Preferred Coach.
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