How to Prepare a Student for Freshman Year of College

Send Them Off with a College Student Snack Box

Your high school graduate accepted their diploma and signed up to attend college starting this fall. Let us be the first to say congratulations — both to your student for their big accomplishment, and to you, for yours! Raising a child is no walk in the park, but you managed it beautifully. 

But now it’s time to make sure your young adult is ready to go to college, where they might be living away from you for the first time. Before you drop your student off at their dorm or off-campus apartment, use these five tips from My College Crate to get them off to university on the right foot.

Help Them Master Household Basics

If your child has never done their laundry before, it’s a wise decision to teach them how, especially if they won’t be able to haul their dirty clothes and bedding home for you to clean. It’s perfectly fine if they’ve never separated their clothing into piles by color, measured laundry detergent, or folded their shirts before today, but now’s the time to start! In addition to laundry basics, like how to use a washing machine and dryer, show them what the various laundry symbols on their clothes tags mean so their duds stay looking new and well cared for while they’re away at school.

Speaking of household basics, chances are good that they’ll have to clean their bathroom at college! While you and I know there’s no real trick to it — just scrubbing away soap scum and germs — it can seem like a mystery to someone who’s never done it before. There are all those surfaces: sink, tub, toilet, and floor. Which do you clean first? What cleaning products should you use? Should you ever mix cleaning products? (The answer to that one is a resounding NO!) Teach your student the ins and outs of toilet brushes and foaming cleansers before they leave your nest.

Practice Monthly Budgeting

If your student worked all summer to earn money for the school year, will be working during the school year to pay their own way, or if you’ll give them a monthly allowance, it’s vital that they learn how to budget their money to make it stretch. While away at college, there will be lots of opportunities to spend money at every turn: apparel at the university bookstore, fast food when they’re sick of dining hall meals, or simply going on shopping excursions with their friends. 

Convey responsible money management concepts to your student, and let them practice before they leave. Get them involved in household budgeting, explain how credit cards actually work (and that no, it’s not free money), and show them how to balance their checking account after every purchase. Not only will your effort here set them up for success at college, but it’s a skill they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Lower Their Stress with Good Time Management

At college, your student is on their own to determine how they’ll fill their days. Hopefully most of their time is spent in class or doing homework, but you know that there will be times for fun, too. Between education, entertainment, and even working a part-time job, your student will need to learn how to make wise choices to manage the limited number of hours every day and reconcile them with all the things they need to get done.

Find a way that works best for your young adult to manage their time. Some students do well if they can visualize their daily schedules, so a paper calendar or a color-coded spreadsheet may be best for them. Others need only to review a class syllabus and can coordinate their activities to fit with their schoolwork. Tech-savvy students may opt for using a cell phone app. No matter what method your student prefers, time management is the key to success.

Prevent Homesickness

If college is the first time your student will be away from home for an extended period of time, they may come down with a massive case of homesickness. Feeling homesick is a perfectly natural response when your environment changes suddenly. It makes sense to miss the comforts of home when they’re not there anymore, and your routine is shaken up. Prevent homesickness by talking up all the great aspects of going away to college. Talk about the friends they’ll make, the exciting subjects they’ll learn about, and how fun it will be to make their own decisions. Let them know you’re excited for them, and are ready to support them emotionally if they need you.

Don’t talk about how much you miss them, how much their pets miss them, or all the fun activities they won’t get to do with you as a family because they’re away at college. These topics can actually increase feelings of homesickness! Keep your talk positive about their time in college, focusing on all the great things that are at school instead of at home. Soon, your college student’s homesickness will be cured!

Fuel Them Up with College Care Packages

Studying and attending classes take up a lot of time, and the dining hall is only open certain hours of the day. Tide them over between meals and give them the energy they need to get through writing research papers with a snack box subscription from My College Crate. In addition to receiving a box of delicious snacks every month, your student’s care package also will include school supplies and other surprises. Set a reminder on your phone or favorite calendar app to subscribe to our care package service before you drop them off at school!

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