Tip 1: Create a budget together
Discuss who will be covering which school costs, and how much in student loans are needed, then set a budget. List income sources, separate essential items from the non-essentials. Walk through all the expenses ahead of time and discuss how they will be paid for: textbooks, school supplies, tuition, spending money, room and board (if living on campus) or rent and groceries (if living off campus). It would be wise to include an emergency fund in the budget.
Tip 2: Make a financial plan
- Your child may want to open an account at a financial institution near, or on, campus
- Make sure they know how much money they have available to spend each day, and how to stay on track. A financial institution app can help track spending. Check out these 5 money rules every student should know
- If they have a credit card, make sure they know they must pay it off, every month, in full. Their credit history follows them long after they finish university, so it’s important to establish good credit now
Tip 3: Stock up on necessities
Before they leave, make a list of everything needed: from dryer sheets to shampoo and hangers. Try to think of practical things, like a shower caddy, extension cord, and a mini first-aid kit.
Tip 4: Teach them how to take care of themselves
It is normal for students to feel overwhelmed or to feel like they are not meeting people’s expectations. The best way to combat these feelings is to exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep. Tell them they can reach out to their university’s free counselling centre if they need to unburden. Tell them that even if they fail a test or miss a deadline, they will be fine and have plenty of opportunities to redeem themselves over the course of their studies.
Tip 5: Make healthy living a priority
- Make sure vaccinations are up to date and send copies of any relevant medical details with your child.
- Learn where college health services are and what's available to students.
- Pack a first aid kit containing bandages, gauze, painkillers, a thermometer, scissors to cut gauze and bandages, and antibiotic cream.
Tip 6: Make sure they know how to clean, cook and do laundry
- Make sure your child has enough cleaning supplies like laundry detergent, bathroom cleaners, scrub brushes
- Ensure they know how to operate the washer and dryer, and how to use kitchen appliances
- Does your child have basic housekeeping skills? Do they know how to make the bed with clean sheets, fold laundry, make a meal, clean a toilet, shower or sink, and even unclog a toilet?
Tip 7: Check if they need insurance
If your child will be driving, check that your car insurance covers your student. If living on campus, only their personal possessions and their liability need to be insured and they may be covered by your homeowners/renter’s policy. Check with your insurance company to be sure. Living off campus? Look into renter’s or tenant’s insurance.
Tip 8: Make sure they brush up on life skills
Talk about their new responsibilities. Does your child know how to read a map, navigate public transit, hail a taxi, change a tire, fill a car with gas, take care of a bicycle? If they have a car on campus, make sure they have a mechanic close by for repairs.
Successful start to a new life
Remember, no one will remind your child to eat well, do laundry or hand in their papers on time. Becoming accountable for his or her life is part of growing up. By discussing practical matters such as money management and basic life skills before they leave, you can help your college-bound kid juggle academics and independent living successfully.
For more on this topic, visit:
Preparing Your Child for College or University: 8 Tips for Success
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