8 Things Incoming Freshman Must Do The Summer Before College

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When I asked my soon-to-be-college-freshman son what to include in a pre-college to-do list, he said: say goodbye to your girlfriend or boyfriend, buy a good alarm clock, and watch a movie about balancing partying with education.

Well, at least one of his suggestions mentioned education (sort of).

Based on what my other kids have experienced, there is a lot more to do before you arrive on campus. If you’re heading to school in the fall, be sure to check these eight things off your to-do list.

3 Unexpected Expenses That Go With Moving Off Campus

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This fall, my daughter is moving off campus with her friends. Of course, this process started in the spring, when they went on a waitlist for an apartment complex they wanted to live in.

When they reached the top of the list, they had 24 hours to accept the available unit … or drop back to the bottom of the waitlist. So yes, “we” started paying rent on May 20—three full months before she’ll actually move in.

And while those extra months of rent proved to be an unexpected expense, they were far from the only one students moving off campus face.

4 Points To Consider When Buying A New Car

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With college in the rear view mirror, many new grads may be thinking about the next phase of their lives—and how they can get around it in style.

A car may be a new, necessary expense if you’re entering the workforce. Borrowing your parents’ van can get old in a hurry. And, chances are, keys to a new Ferrari didn’t fall out of your graduation gift card from your grandmother. (Though that gift card to Target is perfectly nice too.)

If you are seriously thinking about stepping up to the plate to buy a new car, consider these four things before you do.

A Parent’s Take On The “Worst” Graduation Advice From Parents

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When it comes to new college grads, my generation is always good for passing along well-intended—but possibly less than stellar—advice (as Sasha pointed out last week).

I found Sasha’s post intriguing, not only because I’m a parent of college students who will eventually don a cap and gown, but also because I’ve hired interns. So, at the risk of providing even more unasked-for advice, here’s my two cents on the “worst advice” people told her.

The Story Of My $3,000 Tank Of Gas

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Next time I ask one of my college-aged kids to fill my car with gas in exchange for borrowing it, I’ll think twice. The other day, one of my three (who shall remain nameless) had a minor scrape in my car by turning too sharply on the way home from filling my tank. What should have cost me about $75 in fuel—and saved me some time on my morning commute the next day—is now a $3000 problem, thanks to a few dents on the side of my car.

3 Reasons To Manage Expectations For Your Family’s College Contribution

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Award letter season is right around the corner. And with it, I’ve been thinking about what’s realistic for a family to contribute when paying for college—especially in this age of students suing parents for tuition.

My husband and I take an “oxygen mask” approach to our finances, i.e., we apply our own before assisting our children. In other words, if we couldn’t fund both equally, we’d allocate money to our retirement before our kids’ college tuitions, even if that meant not meeting the “expected” family contribution listed in an award letter.

You might dislike the idea of your parents thinking more about their own future than yours; however, it makes sense. Here are three reasons why.

What’s “Love” Got To Do With Choosing A College?

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In this season of Valentine’s Day, love is on the mind of many parents—especially if their kids are choosing a college based on where their boyfriend or girlfriend is going. These parents are freaking out, and I don’t blame them.

Plenty of lists on how NOT to choose your college usually include letting your heart make the choice. However, some emotion plays a part in almost every decision. If the emotion dominating your college choice is “love for a significant other,” though, remember to consider the following.