It’s hard to imagine whether the thought of heading off to college is more overwhelming for the student or the parent. Our money, though, is on the latter. Aside from the emotional toll it takes on parents to get their child ready to leave home for the first time, there’s also a checklist of must-do items that seems to be never-ending. Unlike the checklists for students that are well-documented and widely publicized, many parents aren’t aware of important steps they should take to get their children ready for college. We’re here to change that. Here are a few of the important items you might not think of.
- Submit the FERPA Form – If your child is 18 when he or she heads off to college, the school is unable to provide parents any information about the student’s educational records unless you submit a release form to the school.
- Legal Documents – In addition to the FERPA, there are other legal documents you should have your child sign before he or she leaves for college. State laws vary, but it’s a good idea to get a Healthcare Proxy, a HIPAA authorization, and a Durable Power of Attorney signed so you can still make decisions for your child who is 18 or older.
- Find a Physician – Your child will most likely stay on your health insurance. Make sure there is an-in-network PCP your child can go to on, or near, campus. Depending on how large the college is, the campus health center will likely provide treatment to students, but it’s best to have a plan of action before it’s needed.
- Transfer Prescriptions to a Local Pharmacy – As with a PCP, make sure there is an in-network pharmacy near campus where your child can refill any prescriptions and have his or her doctor transfer prescriptions for current medications there.
- Apply for a Credit Card – You can get your child a credit card specifically for college students that is in his or her name, which allows them to start building credit history. Or, you can get one associated with your account and set a spending limit, which is easier and protects your son or daughter from over-spending.
While these tasks might add to the ever-expanding list of things to get done before your child heads off to college, hopefully, they will help you avoid extra work down the line if something unexpected comes up. Which, of course, it never does, right?