EARLY YEARS: Helping to make the transition to college smoother

Dorm life brings some independence, but students still need to reach out for support from family and campus resources
Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 5:46 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Boxes, bins and yes, some forgotten items like hangers.

It’s all part of the process of moving our kids into that first college dorm.

Experts say the preparation for college should start well before moving day.

“Take them grocery shopping, do cooking with them, have them go to a laundromat with you so they can practice doing a little laundry solo. All the things they’re going to need to do in a different environment than they home that they’ve grown up in, so they’re prepared during the college transition to take on those duties of independent living,” says Sasha Chada, Founder and CEO of Ivy Scholars.

Along with navigating those life skills, college freshmen also need to learn how to structure their day.

“What does my schedule look like? What does it physically look like to walk from building to building? When do I have time to eat?” says Marcie Walsh, Director of Marketing for College Transitions.

Here’s the tricky question.

How much should parents help out during this time of transition?

“I think it’s important for parents to stay as an open door, and make sure that their child knows you’re a resource to help,” says Chada.

Experts say let your kid know you’re there for them-- but also encourage them to take advantage of the resources and support system on campus.

“They just need to reach out to an upper classman, as well, because they’ve been through it already. They’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt, right?” says Walsh.

As with most things, navigating college is a learning experience for the whole family.

“Enjoy it. Lean into it. And study hard,” says Walsh.