Preparing for College Part 3: Tips for Parents and Guardians on What Your Child Needs (or Doesn’t Need)

by Allison Oster

The transition to college is a significant time for both new students and their families. Whether your child is getting ready to move away to college and live on campus, or if they’ll be commuting from home, you want to make sure they have what they need to set them up for success in their first year of college.

It’s never too early to start making a list, from dorm room essentials to textbooks, laptops, and more. Just as important is what they don’t need, or can get later (Target is only a few miles away). The following resources can help as you work together to make that list and start identifying what your child has, needs, or doesn’t need.

Start the College Packing List

If your student is planning to live on campus, be sure to look over the college’s recommended packing list as well as what’s not allowed in the dorm rooms. It’s also a good idea to connect with roommates in advance and coordinate who’s bringing what. Space in a college dorm room is at a premium, so it helps to be strategic in what you pack.

Get a Jumpstart on Buying Textbooks

Once your student knows what classes they are taking, it’s a good time to look into what books they might need. Plus, by planning ahead you can take advantage of any available back-to-school deals, having first access to discounted used copies, or taking time to decide which books they might want to rent instead of purchasing.

Evaluate Necessary Tech Tools

Your student may want the latest tech gadget, but when it comes to laptops, mobile devices, and other technology options, what will help them most during college? This is a good time to evaluate what they currently have and look at what they might need or will have access to on campus. And just like with books, you may be able to take advantage of some back to school deals on new tools or accessories.

Last-Minute Preparations

As the start of the semester and move-in weekend approaches, it’s good to know what to expect as you get ready for that long-awaited moment of sending your child off to their first year of college. Look into the events and activities that will be happening, including those designed for parents and families.

We can’t wait to welcome you and your student to APU! If you have any additional questions as you get ready for the start of their first year, our campus staff can help. Here’s a list of contact information to keep on hand:

For additional tips on preparing for college, check out part 1 and part 2 of this series.

Allison Oster ’01, M.A. ’05, is the senior editorial director in the Office of University Relations.