As college decisions are finalized and deposits are made graduating seniors are looking at the last days of high school. However, there are a few things to remember as these graduates enter the summer of their lives. With graduation festivities about to begin, summer jobs to commence, and college bags to be packed, there is much to be done before these little cherubs enter the next phase of their lives.
For students who are enjoying their first few weeks of freedom from high school, many are not thinking about college responsibilities. With proms, and class trips, they may not be paying attention to deadlines and requirements for the fall semester. Some schools have multiple steps to follow with deadlines of June 1st or 15th. These deadlines are important for students to meet because they often include room surveys for paring roommates, scheduling an orientation date, testing requirements for class placement, and also course registration for the first semester. For the larger universities, this process can be multi stepped and include long modules.
One of the first things incoming freshmen will have to do is set up their college emails either via an email link or through the schools portal. Most high school students do not check their emails regularly but as college students, it is a must that they check their new school email, every day. One suggestion is to have your student set up the new email onto their phones. Colleges will start to use these emails as a regular form of communication and if students are not checking these regularly, they may miss deadlines or important notifications. For some schools, these requirements must be completed before orientation and if they are not, students might miss out on course selection because the other freshmen will have registered, in some cases locking students out of required courses. This is obviously not how students want to start their freshman year. It could lead to the start of missing out on required classes and mean that students could have to extend graduation. So, no matter how much fun these next two weeks are bound to be, encourage your student to stay on top of emails, requirements, testing, and scheduling, whatever their school is looking for.
Another thing to be aware of is making sure that students are safe and making good decisions. For many, this is a time of graduation parties and celebrations like proms. It is very important to have a discussion with your student about drinking and driving, about keeping themselves safe, and staying out of trouble. Most students at graduation from high school are 18 which make them legal adults. With this responsibility comes the reality that legally they are adults and will have records if in fact are caught at parties with alcohol or other illegal drugs. I believe students should be able to have fun and celebrate with their friends however; they have so much to lose and need to be reminded of this during the next few weeks.
As the summer truly begins for these graduating seniors, summer jobs will begin as well. It is a good time to discuss with your students expectations on what their financial responsibility is for their contribution towards tuition and also spending money during the school year. Each set of parents have their own idea of what is appropriate for their student, but, for many, this discussion has not happened with their graduates. This is a good time to discuss budgets and expectations. It is a good time to get students a bank card, debit card, and or credit card. This next step into adulthood and entering college is monumental and finances often get overlooked. For many 18 year olds they have never had to pay a bill, deposit money into the bank, or be responsible for their own spending and saving. Discuss with your student how much they should save each paycheck and how much is reasonable to spend on a weekly basis. Discuss what monthly fees they may have while in school, or how much books and travel may cost them. As I mentioned, each family will have a different idea as to who is responsible for what, but no matter that decision, every student to some degree will need to understand their own finances and need guidance from parents as to what that looks like.
As the summer progresses, I will add to this list as to what are some different things that need to be taken care of and discussed, along with actions that need to be taken. Here are just the first three ideas that should be done in the next few days.
Congratulations to all you parents with recent graduates. As the mother of two who will soon walk down in cap and gown, I feel both your trepidation and joy during this time.