Moving to an out-of-state college is an exciting experience for a recent high-school grad. It’s an opportunity to learn things in a new place, experience different walks of life, and branch out as they start the next chapter of their life.
However, leaving home for the first time is a big leap for a young adult, especially when they’re moving to a different state.
It can feel just as difficult for you, as a parent, as it does for your child to move somewhere new. However, you can make the experience easier on both of you with a few tips, and with a little planning and preparation. Now is a time to encourage your child to spread their wings, and you can help them along the way.
Plan and Communicate
It’s not uncommon for teens about to move away from home to feel a little overwhelmed with uncertainty. While you can’t prepare them for everything that might happen, you can ease some of those concerns (and some of your own) by planning ahead as much as possible.
You can help your child get ready for the college experience by encouraging them to read as much as possible over the summer to get used to a larger workload. Additionally, encourage them to form healthy sleep habits and get into a routine. They don’t have to fall into the stereotype of pulling all-nighters or not getting enough sleep while they’re away. Additional ways to plan and prepare include:
- Researching courses and majors
- Helping them register for classes
- Connecting with future dormmates
- Polishing their people skills
- Embracing time-management tools
One of the most important things you can do to help your child adjust is to openly communicate about what they might experience. If you attended college, share some of your own stories. If you didn’t, have them connect with a family member or friend who did, and who might be able to prepare them or answer specific questions. Communicating openly and frequently about the move will mean it doesn’t seem like such a big deal when it finally happens.
Pack the Essentials and Prepare for Travel
Your graduate isn’t going to take everything from home with them to college, but they’ll need quite a few supplies to get by, including clothes for more than one season, toiletries, storage options, and anything they can think of to decorate their dorm and make it feel more like home. Beyond that, make sure you’re sending them off with some of the most important dorm room essentials:
- Shower caddy and shower shoes
- Cleaning supplies to keep their dorm room organized
- A mini fridge
- Removable hooks
- Laptop and school supplies
Once everything is packed and ready to go, prepare yourself and your child for the big day. You can make it easier on yourself by hiring some college movers to help with the process. They’re easy to book and have experience moving larger items into dorm rooms. Chances are, on the day of the move, you’re going to have a lot to think about and emotions will be running high. Not having to stress about getting items out of your home and taking them across state lines will be a huge benefit.
Additionally, take the time to secure your own home if you’re heading to campus with your child to help them move in. You don’t want to have to worry about the safety of your property while you’re away, so make sure doors and windows are locked, set an alarm, and let your neighbors know where you’ll be so they can keep an eye on things.
You’ll likely need to take more than one vehicle so your child will be able to drive around their new local community, and eventually, drive back home for holidays and breaks. Make sure any vehicle you’re taking has been seen recently by a mechanic and is up-to-date on everything from oil changes to tire rotations. Knowing your child is safe while they’re driving will offer you peace of mind when you’re hundreds of miles away.
Give Them a Taste of Home
It’s estimated that around 70% of college freshmen experience extreme homesickness after starting school. In most cases, missing home is normal and it will eventually get easier for them as they become more involved in school and activities.
While it’s important to let your child experience things on their own and to encourage them to adapt to their new environment, that doesn’t mean you can’t comfort them if they’re feeling down or homesick.
Consider sending a care package with some of their favorite things from home, or things that are unique to your community that they might not be able to get at school. Some of their favorite homemade baked goods, healthy snacks, a motivational mug, and an essential oil diffuser with some relaxing scents will always be appreciated, especially if you know they’re stressed.
Letting your child move to an out-of-state college can be a great experience for them. While it might be a little overwhelming for both of you for a while, you’re giving them a wonderful opportunity, and a chance to experience life to the fullest. Use these tips to make the process easier, and it won’t be long before you start hearing about all of the great experiences they’re having on campus.