Your daughter has been accepted into her top college. She’s spent the last three hours stalking her roommate on Facebook. Now she’s trying to figure out which wastebasket best matches the color of her new sheets.
While students are laser focused on these kinds of issues, parents often have different priorities. They want to know about finances, safety, and what to do in a medical emergency. They want to know how to prepare their child for any situation.
Having gotten our four children into college and helped countless others, Jackie and I at Class 101 Cleveland OH Southeast get questions about these topics often. Based on our experiences, we have four helpful tips for parents sending their children to college for the first time.
Look for a bank near the college
While easy to overlook in the hustle and bustle of summer, access to money is important. It lets your student better manage her money should she decide to get a job. It also lets her withdraw spending money for school. When our son A.J. moved to Washington, DC, he realized he wouldn’t be able to deposit checks from work because our local bank had no branches in the area. To survive, he had to switch.
You can generally use Google to find options within walking distance of the college. We’d recommend using a larger and more established institution as they should be familiar with a college student’s needs.
Consider opening a credit card in the student’s name
As with a bank account, a credit card can be a useful for finances. Not only does it let your child build a line of credit, but it can also be useful in an emergency. Just make sure your child uses it responsibly.
Because they have lower requirements than most alternatives, we find Discover is often the easiest for students to acquire. If your child has a robust financial history, other options might be available. We’d recommend applying early in the summer as the application process takes time.
Set up medical power of attorney
When your child turns eighteen, she crosses the threshold into adulthood. That means she can experience many more things, most of them exciting. But it also means she isn’t legally under your control anymore. Should disaster strike, you won’t be able to make medical decisions on her behalf without first securing her medical power of attorney.
If possible, we would encourage you and your child to sit down with an attorney about what to do should an emergency happen at college. Based on these discussions, the attorney should be able to draw up a binding legal agreement upon which you and your child both agree.
Check with your insurance agent about coverage
Whether she chooses an on-campus dorm room or an off-campus apartment, it is important to ensure your student has sufficient protection for her belongings. College renters’ insurance specifically tailors itself for students’ needs. This coverage may fill any gaps that may exist in the coverage extended from your homeowners policy. Many colleges and universities offer college renters’ insurance, so you should contact the college directly.
You might just want to check your own insurance policy first to make sure your student’s belongings aren’t already covered.
These are just a few tips that we’ve found useful, but there are far more topics to be aware of. If you need help thinking about these topics or otherwise easing your student into college, set up a free consultation with us at Class 101 Cleveland OH Southeast.