9 Tips for Your Student Heading (Back) to College

Getting organized and ready for college is a lot of work, whether it is the first time or heading back. Being sure that your college student has everything they need can be an exercise in patience. However, with this list, both you and your student will be organized and ready for that first day!

1. Get Organized: While it may sound silly to say the first step in getting organized to go back to college is to get organized, it is actually an important place to start. Create a digital and paper location to store any information you need to reference. Have a place in a spare room or the garage to begin storing items that will be heading off to college with your child. Knowing where everything is will help save lots of time and drastically reduce the stress associated with sending your child off to college. 

2. Create lists: There will be specific needs for school supplies and dorm supplies but you will also need a to-do list to make sure classes are registered, paperwork is completed and bills are paid. Having these lists will allow you to mark things off as they are taken care of or packed away.  Store your lists in digital format so that you can use them over again each year.

3. Check the school's website: Colleges have done this before and they know a thing or two about what your student will need. Begin your organization process by checking the college website for lists of things your student will need. Also be sure to make note of things that are not allowed as you'd hate to haul something up to campus only to find out you have to toss it or haul it back again.

4. Plan the Wardrobe: Many students go to college in locations with a very different climate than where they are from. Help your student plan out their wardrobe for the season and take weather into account. Your college student probably won't have space to bring their entire wardrobe so help them focus on choosing the basics that can then be customized into a variety of outfits. 

5.  Expect to go shopping: You may be able to pick up some great necessities for dorm living (such as extra long twin sheet sets) on by shopping online or locally but you most likely won't be able to bring everything with you to the dorm and will need to do some last minute shopping once you arrive on campus. Arriving early allows you to beat the crowds and get things before they run out. You may also find out that your student's roommate has brought a printer and won't need to have two taking up extra space.

6. Create and review schedule: Your college student's classes are most likely already scheduled but you can further help him or her get organized by helping them plan out the rest of their schedule. Help them decide on times they will study and times they will be able to have free. This is especially important for freshman who are used to having very strict schedules for their days.

7. Establish spending budgets: Whether or not you will be providing financial support to your college student, help them establish a spending budget that will keep them on financial track. Determine how much they have to spend on food, entertainment, clothes and necessities.

8. Pack in usable containers: Unless your student is flying and needs something that can be put on a plane, consider packing clothes and other items in storage containers that will be used in the dorm space. This eliminates the need to then store suitcases or throw away boxes.

9. Organized space: If your student will not be living at home, help them organize their dorm or living space to allow for study space and for entertainment. Use containers that double as storage and seating to maximize the space available. Command Hooks provide great ways to hang things that don't leave marks on dorm walls.

With a good plan, you can help your college student be well prepared for heading to college.

Do you have any great tips for parents of college-bound students you'd love to share?