Advice from Parents: What to Say When Kids Leave for College

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Your 18-year-old is leaving the nest and embarking on his or her next stage in life: college.

While some things are out of your hands as a parent, you can at least give some advice and if your child balks, just tell them you got these tips from a recent college grad.

Get Involved

Make full use of your advisor. You’ll be amazed at how much he or she can help you during your years at school, whether it’s getting you into a popular class or helping you graduate on time.

Participate in activities on your floor and on campus. These events are particularly geared towards freshman and planned for a reason. They create a social setting where making friends is effortless.

Become involved in activities or clubs that appeal to you.
If you like sports, try intramural athletics. You may have a knack for writing and want to work for your school newspaper. If you like theater, don’t hesitate to audition for a play.

Organization

Create folders to keep important documents like health forms and financial aid records. If you ever have to visit student health or the financial aid office, you’ll have the necessary paperwork accessible and ready to go.

Finances

When you stock up on essentials like paper towels, cereal, school supplies and so on, buy from a grocery or convenience store. The student union jacks up its prices.

Buy used books. Not only are they cheaper, but another student’s margin notes may even help.

Beware of junk mail with credit card offers. Do not sign up for any credit cards. These companies love to target college students.

Don’t buy essays over the Internet. You’ll eventually get caught.

Safety

Lock your windows and door when you leave your dorm room. Unfortunately, people steal.

Stay with a friend when you’re at a party or bar. Keep an eye out for your friends as well.

Don’t go to an ATM alone or late at night. If you have to withdraw money in the evening, find an ATM that’s in a well-lit spot, where there are people around.

Never leave your drink unattended. Don’t turn away to talk to someone and then turn back to take a sip. Keep your drink in your hands at all times.

Don’t drink from punch bowls or any other large, open container. These are accessible to many people and may already have had drugs slipped into them.

Know your limit. If you’re being pressured to drink, hold a glass of tonic water with lime and fake it. If a friend is unresponsive, get emergency help by calling 911. You will not get in trouble with the law for doing this.

Don’t go home with or take rides from someone you don’t know. You probably learned this as a kid, but a lot of people seem to forget it once they’re away at college.

And finally, call your parents. You may be having the time of your life, but it’s nice to let them know that you’re alive and enjoying your time at school.