This is the time of year that many high school seniors and their families are facing the daunting task of preparing for their first truly adult experience of “going off to college”!  Whether it’s across town or across country, many of the basic requirements are the same.  As parents, we have spent many years preparing our kids – making sure they are responsible, independent and resourceful.  Insight Credit Union’s goal is to make the initial experience, the Orientation and Registrations, go as smoothly as possible.  So let’s talk about some ways to help your student succeed.

Three primary areas that each student will face are financial responsibilities, time management and personal safety.

Financial Responsibilities
Ideally by this time, your youngster has their own savings and checking account.  If not – get one! A checking account, with a parent or guardian as joint owner, allows a degree of financial independence and responsibility.  Have a frank and clear discussion before they leave for school of what the finances are, how to budget and access their funds.  A discussion now may avoid problems in the future.

What to Set Up?

  1. A Personal Checking Account – Direct Deposit or transfer for fund access.
  2. Debit Card – Make sure you research ATM’s and fees so there are no surprises.
  3. Credit Card – Establish the card in your child’s name to begin establishing credit. (You may have to sign on the card as well.) Request a low credit limit but one which allows for emergencies.
  4. Online Banking – Set up Online Banking for access to account information. Know the passwords in the event of an emergency

Time Management
Being totally responsible for where and how you spend your time can be an amazing feeling for a young adult, but also one that requires practice and judgment. Make sure your child understands the many new demands that this freedom will bring. You are no longer able to make sure they are up in time for class or allow time for study, it is all on them. Show them how to take care of themselves personally – to make time for class, study, friends and laundry can be overwhelming. Make them aware of the dangers of trying to do too much, or too little! But if you start the lessons now, they will be ready!

Personal Safety
This is a big concern for many parents as they send the son or daughter off to school. Reminders about what they should already know is a great place to start – Don’t Drink and Drive, Don’t Go Out Alone at Night, Lock Your Doors – car and dorm room, Choose Your Friends Wisely.  Make sure you and they understand the campus security provisions, such as Call Kiosks or security escorts after dark. Encourage your child to take the security issue seriously, and visit the college website for tips.

Required Documentation:
What personal documents you will need for Orientation or Registration?

  • Government Issued ID (Driver’s License)
  • Social Security Card
  • Health Insurance Card
  • Immunization Record
  • Back Up Copies of Transcripts, Test Scores, Scholarships or Financial Aid Awards

You may also want to visit the website of the school or university your child will be attending. Depending on the school, different documents may be required and often times a list of what you may need is posted. The website is also a great resource for any unanswered questions.  Good Luck!