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Finally, you can breathe. Applications are done, offers of acceptance have been received, and a decision has been made…you’ve made the tuition and housing deposit…what’s next?
High school graduation is just around the corner. Congratulations parents! One very large hurdle has been successfully been leaped! Take a moment to catch your breath, then look over this list of what comes next.
Cancel any other housing contracts you’ve made
Because each school has its own dates for housing contracts to be submitted, it is likely that many of you have made housing deposits at more than one university. If you cancel those now, you can usually get some of the money back. Go to each school’s website and cancel your housing contract. Then, inquire if you can receive any of the deposit money back. Don’t put this off because there is usually a date of no return.
Notify schools where they are declining admission offers
There’s two reasons for this. First, it’s good manners. Second, it helps universities move on their waiting list for students who are anxiously waiting for a decision. Just a short, simple email to the university’s admissions office thanking them for the offer of admissions and letting them know they are declining the offer. This is not a requirement, but certainly a good life lesson to teach your children.
Most schools require students, and in some cases family members, to attend a student orientation. Go to the university’s website and register for orientation. Then, if you don’t live nearby, book your hotel room. These fill up quickly especially in smaller college towns. Don’t put this off. Usually your student will make their class schedule during this visit and classes fill up quickly. The earlier in the process they can make their schedule, the more flexibility they will have.
Check when move-in day is
Take a look at the school’s website and see when students can move into their dorms and book your hotel rooms accordingly. I’ve heard of some schools that require an appointment for move-in day, so if your school requires this, make sure to schedule it. If your daughter is thinking of rushing a sorority, she’ll want to check when rush is. Many schools, but not all, do this the week before school starts and these girls are allowed to move into the dorms early. Usually, this requires registration. Check your university for specifics and read, Rushing a Sorority; What Parents Need To Know especially if you aren’t familiar with the rushing process OR it’s been a long time since you were familiar with it.
Remind your student that high school isn’t over yet
University acceptance offers are usually contingent on your student successfully finishing their current high school course-load. Likely your student is suffering from senioritis and are wanting to check out, but they can’t yet. Remind them to keep their eye on the prize and get back to work.
Make sure your student is monitoring email
The majority of universities communicate via email. Your student needs to be regularly monitoring the email address they used for their applications. Important information including dates and deadlines will be communicated and missing anything can be very hard (or impossible) to fix. You should be anticipating these notifications:
- Scholarship/financial aid applications deadline
- Housing deposit due date
- Housing contract due date
- Roommate/Dorm requests opening date (get these in as early as you can)
- Submission of final high school transcript
- Submission of test results for advanced placement classes and dual enrollment credit
- Scheduling placement exams (if your school requires these)
- Class registration/advisement
- Tuition payment/Housing payment
- Opening date for game and season ticket sales for parents wanting to attend sporting events (at certain schools, these will sell out quickly)
Most universities require the submission of health exams and immunization records. Some require additional immunizations such as meningococcal disease (Read about the CDC’s recommendation regarding meningococcal disease).Get these health exams scheduled early and get them over with. Don’t put these off as appointments will fill up quickly as the start of the school year approaches and many schools will not let your students register for classes without health requirements being complete.
Schedule other health exams
Get those routine appointments scheduled early…dentist, eye doctors, prescription refills visits, etc. Those winter and spring break appointments fill up quickly for these as well and it’s not a bad idea to schedule those dates now. If your student takes medication for ADHD (or other controlled substance), make sure to get those appointments in before they leave for school because most doctors will not refill these prescriptions without a current exam.
Begin shopping for their dorm
I recommend starting this process early so that you can grab items when they are on sale. Read, Know What Your Student Will Really Need to Take To School With This No-Nonsense List! I wrote this article after I moved my daughter home at the end of freshman year. I saw how many things I had bought that had never been used, hardly been used, and were still in the original packaging. What a waste of money. The list in this article is broken down into necessities, comfort items, and items that should be split among roommates/suitemates. The list I used from Bed Bath and Beyond had me buy so much more than was ever needed. Remember, there isn’t much storage space there either.
Learn from those who have already walked this path
Check if there is a Facebook page for “Parents of University X.” I’m on one for my daughter’s university and I found it to be a tremendous resource and wealth of information freshman year. Even now, anytime I have a question, that’s the first place I go. There will be freshman parents on the page and also those who have already walked your journey. Ask your questions and then, one day contribute to those who are asking. Parents will bring up things you never even considered.
Congratulations again! You’re parenting journey is far from over and this is a very exciting time. Give yourself a pat on the back for reaching this important milestone!