Drop-off day is just around the corner for many colleges and universities. Anxious parents will be heading off to campus this fall with a heavy heart -- figuring out how to say goodbye to their 18+ (or 20-something) year old babies.
Before you get too emotional, take a look at the following tips to help smooth your college drop-off process. There are practical things you can do before departure that will make separating a little easier on both of you.
1. Talk about what's happening. You and your student don't need to have a big, emotional talk before going their separate ways; however, you should talk about what's happening next. Set up a date/time for when you will each check in after the first few weeks of school. (Texting is one way students would prefer to get that update.) A brief update on how the new school is going will help take away some of the mystery. If possible, try to visit campus together a few weeks before drop-off -- so your student can show you around and let you meet their roommates. This way, they won't be facing that first week alone.
2. Let your student take the reins when it comes to communication and transportation. They'll have figured out what works best for them during orientation week -- so let them do it. If they have a phone, allow them to be the one who texts or calls when they need something. The less you try to micromanage their every move, the easier drop-off will be for everyone.
3. Remember: You are still your child's parent -- even if you don't see them every day. If you feel your student is making a mistake by leaving school or lashing out at the world, don't sit on it. Talk to them about it. You may be surprised that they welcome your advice and guidance, even if they don't ask for it.
4. Make sure all their needs are covered before you go. Most parents will organize a care package of toiletries, books and supplies that their student forgot to take from home. If you are paying for college yourself, or if your student doesn't have any scholarships, you may need to make sure that they have enough money for the first month's rent and tuition bills.
5. Make sure they know where you and other family members are in case of an emergency. Print off a list of everyone's contact information, and have your student put it up on the inside of their dorm door. That way, if something bad happens, they won't feel too helpless to find help -- or get a hold of someone -- right away.
6. Stay in touch. Even if your student seems fine on the surface, drop-off day can be a very emotional farewell for both of you. If they start to feel overwhelmed during their first few weeks (and it's not just homesickness), don't hesitate to reach out and check on them. You're still their parent -- so they'll never be able to have too much support.
7. Remind them of why they're going in the first place. They might be leaving you behind in the short term but staying focused on long-term goals will help keep your student motivated and happy while away from home. Don't let their journey lose its purpose.
8. Don't feel guilty about "letting go." If you've done a good job of preparing your student for the real world, they could return home after their freshman year with a new set of goals and dreams. Just because they leave doesn't mean they don't still need support from you -- even if they don't ask for it.
That’s all for now! Please remember that it is okay to miss them. Don't be afraid to admit that you'll miss your student, or even cry about it -- just don't make a big deal out of “not being able” to do something until they are back with you again. They might be gone physically, but you can still help them build a beautiful life on their own.
Looking to send a little love to your favorite college student? College Packit can help! We will send monthly care packages to your student every month.