We know how important your involvement is in your child's education - we also know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all of the important steps in planning and preparing for college.
Below you'll find this month's content - LEARN (info to know), DO (action to take), and TIPS (insights for success)
The Often-Overlooked college expenses
There is one cost that is often left off the list where college is concerned: college and dorm essentials. These additional items can be an expensive addition to the bottom line; however, if chosen with care and over time, the value of selecting properly will overshadow the initial cost.
Specific items for the dorm room:
Bedding: Most college dorms use the XL twin mattress size. While not overly common, bedding can be found at most major retailers.
Electronics: Probably something you’re already familiar with - Laptop, tablet, charging cords, cell phone, etc. Colleges are relying on students bringing their own devices – a reliable, updated computer will be essential to their success.
School Supplies: Yes, school supplies (not a ruler, markers and crayons – unless they are going to Art school) – a sturdy backpack, typical desk supplies, notebooks, folders, binders – organization is as important for college as it was in elementary school!
Room & Closet Organizers: Dorm rooms can be small places. Organizers make the most of the small space – usually vertical organizers work best.
Cleaning Essentials: For body and for room! Certainly toiletries are important to plan on but also items like laundry detergent and a simple multi-purpose cleaner are important. (Getting them to use these items is another story!)
Proper Clothing: Certainly dependent on the climate but if the school endures winter, a robust coat, boots, gloves, and hat will help keep your student warm and make the walk to and from campus less awful in the dreary winter. If this school is in a warm climate, proper clothing that covers the body but also allows for cool comfort is needed. Some college programs also have required research, volunteer, or internships associated with them – proper attire for these should also be considered.
Groceries: It is important to help your student keep their dorm packed with healthy, non-perishable foods for late night snacking while studying. It will cut down on pizza deliveries ($$$) and help keep the “freshman 15” at bay. Granola bars, dried fruit, and low-fat salty snacks are great choices, along with bottled water or a reusable water bottle with a filter to use at filling stations.
Mini Fridge: Only one is needed, so it’s good to talk to the roommate to see who is bringing it. But having fresh fruit, chilled milk, and other perishable staples handy is also a good way to cut down on additional living/eating expenses.
Locking trunk: While not “absolutely necessary” it is a good idea for a student to have a place to lock valuables while away from the dorm. Even the most fastidious students sometimes leave the door unlocked and it is awful to have to replace these items immediately midyear. Roommates have also been known to invite guests to the dorm room – even the most trustworthy roommates may not have trustworthy friends.
Additionally, moving all these items into school can be a bit of a bother, but it is a rite of passage. Depending on the distance from home, this move can be an added expense to your financial plans.
Combined, these essential items can cost $2000-$3000, even more. Retailers know that July and August are big months for these items and may advertise some “deals”. Usually, these items are cheaper throughout the year, especially if you look for sales over the course of the next six months. Either way, planning now can help spread out the total cost of these items.
If you’re wondering where to get the most for your money, I follow this simple rule: we spend half our day on our feet or in bed. Invest in good quality sheets and shoes. And teach your student how to keep both in good repair: regular washing of sheets and cleaning of shoes will help these investments last for years to come.
Make Your List of College Essentials
As you are helping your student plan for their college life and finish the senior year on a high note, make a list of the college essentials that they will need for the upcoming fall.
Clothing, furniture, electronics, etc… All very important but you’ll want to help them identify what their priorities are so that you can, together, spend wisely.
A fresh start - The new semester is a time to start again! In most classes, students start fresh with their grades and can even be re-energized in their motivation and effort. Encourage your student to approach this last semester of high school with excitement and a commitment to finishing strong!
Renewed Energy – With the start of a new semester comes the opportunity for renewed energy and effort in academics, activities, and even relationships. New semesters often mean slight changes in schedules (during and after school). This will also be the case in the fall when they start college. Help them find balance and success this last semester under your roof!
Know a school that could use some college readiness support?
We also offer Student Curriculum to schools and provide Parent Education on College Planning. Additionally, we work with schools and districts to increase the college readiness of their students. Learn more by clicking here.