How to Prepare Your College Freshman for Campus Living

The time has come to prepare for Elizabeth’s freshman year and planning is a key component to ensure a smooth transition to her new college. The planning phase is exciting and a bit overwhelming, but necessary, as much for her as it is for me. Making sure that she has her dorm room and daily needs established will help me in the transition (I know – I’m a bit of a control freak).

There are plenty of check lists available on the internet that will guide you through the necessary purchases of linens, pillows, crates and comforters. But there are also some financial items that will help ensure an easy transition for your child.

View down the mallHere is a checklist of financial items that will help your college freshman:

1)      Banking – A checking account and ATM card is a necessity for a college freshman. Each school may have certain banks that are located on campus. Before heading off in the fall, research which banks are available, and whether or not it would be advantageous to open up an account with the local bank. If ATM’s are available on campus, make sure that there are not any surcharges if using a different card. These fees will add up.

If you choose to open up an account with the bank on campus, try to do this before move-in day. I learned this the hard way as the bank lines on move-in day for my older daughter were quite long and added stress to an already stressful day.

2)      Insurance Card – If your son or daughter is on your health insurance plan, request an additional card from your carrier for them to have with them at school. If your child will need to see a doctor or needs a trip to the emergency room, they will need to provide an insurance card. Most carriers will send you an additional card upon request.

3)      Computer and Cell Phones – A laptop computer is a necessity and there are many different options available. It is a good idea to begin researching the best option and pricing. Some colleges offer special pricing so inquire with them to get the best deal possible. In addition, a printer for the dorm might be necessary and convenient.

Also, make sure that your current cell phone plan is the best option with unlimited calling and data. You may want to consider insuring the phone as breakage and replacements are always a possibility. These costs will add up if you are unprepared.

4)      Health Care Needs – If your child requires medication, it is best to find out the options at the college or university. Some will have a pharmacy located on campus but others will need to travel off campus to get their medications. If your child takes medication on a regular basis (or during allergy season), you might want to talk to your physician before leaving in the fall. If the physician prescribes medication, you can have these on file in the local pharmacy to ensure quick access to getting their medical needs met.

5)      Automobile Insurance – If your child is not bringing a car to school (some colleges do not allow freshman to have parking privileges), and the school is located 100 miles from your home, you may be eligible for a discount on your current automobile insurance. Call your carrier to inquire.

Each college or university may have different policies and options available.

So, here’s to planning……it’s going to be a busy summer!!

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About Maureen Crimmins

Maureen Crimmins is co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management and a fee-only independent financial advisor. Have a financial question? ASK MAUREEN

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