Summer to-do list for new college students & families

Summer to-do list for new college students & families

En Español

Paperwork for the school

  • Create the student online account needed for advising and course registration and for viewing tuition and financial aid.
  • Register for new student on-campus orientation or complete online orientation. Sign up for parent and family orientation, too, if offered.
  • Take required academic placement tests.

Housing, transportation, supplies*

  • Apply for freshman housing if planning to live on campus.
  • Look at textbook requirements for classes and research renting or buying used books.
  • Research laptop purchase.
  • Make transportation arrangements for the move to campus. If your student will commute from home, look into public transportation options or parking availability.


  • Health insurance coverage is required for college students. Decide whether your student will stay on the family insurance plan or buy the school’s plan.
  • Complete health forms required by the college including immunization records.
  • Make doctor, dentist, eye appointments.
  • Transfer any prescriptions to a pharmacy on or near campus.
  • Fill out a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) release form.


  • Review the fall semester tuition statement and financial aid award. Make a plan for paying your family’s contribution.
  • Help your student make a list of expenses they’ll have during the school year and create a budget. There are websites with free budget software (such as and free or low-priced budgeting apps on iTunes (Pocket Budget, Toshl Finance and LearnVest to name a few).
  • Consider opening a bank account near campus if your student’s home bank doesn’t have a convenient branch.

Before move-in day

On move-in day

  • Your student will receive instructions about how and when they can move into the residence hall. Arrive early in the time slot.
  • Let your student take the lead during the process but be available to help.
  • They may want to say goodbye quickly or they may have trouble separating — both are normal.
  • If you have a chance to meet your student’s roommate and family members, exchange phone numbers and email addresses (in case of emergency).

*Books and other academic supplies, laptop computer and transportation expenses can all be paid for with financial aid.



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  1. These are helpful hints. It will also be helpful for students and parents of first year students to know that most of the freshman classes have hundreds of students in a single class. This includes classes like calculus which was over 400 students. Few are prepared for this complete change of academics.

    Brian Doyle
    • That does vary by school, but you’re right, many students will have at least one class that is taught in this manner. Parents can encourage students to ask their advisor about class sizes; the advisor should be able to give them a heads up and some information on what classes will be taught in a smaller setting.

      Evanne Montoya

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