For college students around the country, the new school year is about to begin.
Although it can be an emotional time, especially if it’s their first year away from home, it can also be an exciting time. Your child is growing up, but they still need you, especially now, as they plan and prep. Here are some tips to help both of you get off to a good start this semester.
1. Declutter Before You Pack
If your child is moving into a dorm or an apartment this semester, you’ll probably want to help them pack and move. Before you start this process, think about how you can declutter to help them avoid packing unnecessary items. Maybe you can plan an end-of-summer garage sale, putting the money that you make towards your child’s travel (or pizza) fund.
READ MORE: 5 New Uses for a Child’s Old Bedroom
Don’t be surprised if your child wants to get rid of some of their cherished childhood belongings. Some young adults may feel that this is a part of growing up. But if you think that your child may regret the decision later on, you could consider keeping their toys in an attic or basement for the time being.
2. Pay Attention to the Rules and Regulations
Make sure your child reads their school’s or apartment’s guidelines for furnishing and decorating their dorm room or apartment. Many dorms and apartments that rent to college students have rules and regulations around what’s allowed and not allowed. Murray State, for example, prohibits students from having candles with wicks, lava lamps and Nerf guns in their dorm rooms.
And, to the frustration of parents around the country, many dorm mattresses require XL twin sheets.
Familiarize yourself with any lists the college may send so that both you and your child know the college’s rules.
3. Plan What to Take—and What to Leave Behind
It’s possible that not everything will fit in your car or your child’s luggage. Figure out what items can be left behind—before you start loading or packing anything. Remember, many college towns have superstores. Your child can stop there to pick up any replacements they need.
If your child is moving to another state or you’d rather have professionals handle the move, you can hire a moving company, but remember that your homeowners policy will likely not cover any damages that occur during the moving process as it would if you were moving your child’s belongings yourself. Fortunately, once those belongings are in their new locale, everything from their microwave to their mini-fridge is likely to be covered by your home policy.
4. Work Out the Travel Details
Although most schools don’t allow freshman to bring their vehicles, sophomores and upperclassmen are usually allowed to. If your child has a car and is planning to take it with them, be sure to update the garaging address for the car while they’re away and have them keep a copy of your ID card in the car at all times. (If you’re a customer of The Hartford, you can update the address and print out a copy of your ID card via the online service center.)
If your child is moving across the country, it might not make sense for them to take their car with them. In that case, you’ll have to discuss how and when they’ll come home. Plane fare and out-of-state tuition can be very expensive. If your child attends a school that is over 100 miles away and has not taken their car with them, you may qualify for a discount with your auto insurance company.
5. Provide Emotional Support
As exciting as college can be with its promise of independence and self-exploration, for some students, it can also be very isolating, especially if it’s their first year away. Even if your child tries to insist that they’re a fully realized adult, it’s a good idea to give them a call or send an occasional email or text.
A great way to demonstrate your love and support for your child is to send them a care package after a big project or during a stressful time (such as midterms). Not only will this remind them that you’re thinking of them, but the treats will provide much-needed energy for those all-night cram sessions. (And speaking of tests, if your child is in the upper 20% of their class or maintains a B average, you could qualify for a discount with your insurance provider.)
Sending your child to college can be stressful. Organization and good planning can help make this the positive experience for you and your child. Use these tips to ensure a smoother transition as you send your child off to college.
Disclaimer: This material is meant to be informational. If you have specific questions regarding your insurance coverage, please contact your agent or carrier.