Deal with Drop-Off Day

Parents, brace yourself for college move-in day.

By Stephen Borkowski

April 21, 2009

Deal with Drop-Off Day Deal with Drop-Off Day

After more than a year of campus touring, application editing and financial aid wrangling, you’d think dropping your child off at college would be the easy part. But move-in day on college campuses is a high-stress, emotionally-charged event. There are cars to unload, orientations to attend, roommates to meet and goodbyes to say.

Fastweb consulted Christine Schelhas-Miller, the author of Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money, and the associate dean of students at Cornell University, for some parenting strategies to get through drop-off day.

The Meaningful Conversation

“Don’t count on having a meaningful goodbye once you get to campus,” Schelhas-Miller says. “Students do not want their parents hugging and crying and having the long goodbye in front of their new roommate.” And such a hectic day is not the best time to air your list of parental concerns.

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“Have the meaningful conversation and the goodbye before you leave home,” she says. With that done, students can focus on move-in day and parents can have a quick, graceful exit.

During your meaningful conversation “discuss things that are likely to become conflicts if you don’t establish expectations from the beginning,” Schelhas-Miller says. Parents and students should come to an agreement on financial matters like spending money and credit cards. They should also discuss how and how often they’ll be in touch.

She suggests parents start using email and instant messaging. “It’s the easiest and most convenient way for their student to be in touch.”

The meaningful conversation is also a good time for parents to do some confidence boosting. On move-in day, parents may find themselves whisked out the door before they can tell their child that they love them, trust them and are excited for them.

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