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United Way Blog

5 Ways to Ease the Transition to College

It’s that time of year when some 20 million students are starting or returning to college. For freshmen, it’s the next big adventure and their first step into adulthood. For their parents, it can be an anxious time. Here are 5 tips from United Way to help make the transition easier on everyone.

  1. Prep That Paperwork.
    College students need to have copies of all critical documents, including health insurance cards, immunization records and birth certificates. Having all of that in one place may avoid a late-night panicked phone call.


  1. Decorate The Dorm Room.
    For most college freshmen, living on campus is a rite of passage (or required). Most dorm rooms are bland and boring and lack any sort of personality. You don’t have to design an Instgram-worthy room, but a trip to the nearest discount store can be a fun bonding moment.


  1. Verify Vaccinations.
    You may think college kids are past vaccinations, but you’d be wrong. According to the Center for Disease Control, teens need to get annual flu shots, and its important to make sure all college students are inoculated against meningitis.


  1. Connect to Friends and Family
    Whether it’s a family text or email, make sure your new college student has contact information for extended family.  And texting your child every few days during the first few weeks can help with homesickness. Remember to give them space during this new transition to make new friends, too.


  1. Loosen the Ties.
    It's hard letting your child leave home for the first time, but don’t pick your child’s courses, edit their papers or call their professors. Do encourage them to join activities on campus, connect with professors, and make their own decisions about summer plans. This is a great time to give them the space to build their independence. 

Want more tips? Check out this advice from an Emory University professor about being a good college parent.

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