The summer before freshman year of college is busy. Once a college decision is made, you can expect a steady stream of communications from your child’s soon-to-be school, loaded with various to-dos and deadlines. Here’s a short list of forms that’ll probably come your way.
Living on campus? Fill out residence life forms
If your child plans to live on campus, you will need to complete several forms with the department of residence life. As the name implies, residence life oversees all housing matters. The most common student form is a housing agreement, like this one at Emory University, which outlines general policies and student expectations for living on campus.
Tip: Housing assignments are finalized in the summer, so complete your forms on time. Dorms can fill up!
Attending student orientation? Register in time
Orientation is an opportunity for your child to meet classmates, learn more about the campus community, and get a taste of student life. A college will schedule orientation either over the summer or right before the start of fall semester. And there may be more than one orientation week to choose from. Space can be limited, so check often to reserve your preferred spot.
Tip: Many colleges also hold a parent orientation. Plan to attend this event, especially if you’re a first-time college parent.
Borrowing loans? Complete entrance counseling
Student loan entrance counseling is a requirement for any federal direct loans. It prepares the student for the commitment of borrowing money by reviewing loan terms, the borrower’s rights and responsibilities, and repayment options, among other things The entire process takes about 30 minutes to complete online and only needs to be done once, before borrowing for the first time.
Tip: Your student won’t be able to save their progress and return to the form later. Make sure they have everything needed to complete it in one sitting, including the financial aid offer from the college.
Already insured? Submit a health insurance waiver
Depending on a state’s regulations, your child may need health insurance to attend college there. Many schools automatically bill for their own health insurance and require students to opt out if they’re covered elsewhere. To opt out, you’ll need to complete a health insurance waiver through the school.
Tip: Complete the waiver as soon as possible, or you could be stuck with this expense.
Facing a gap with costs? Set up a payment plan
Financial aid and college savings don’t always cover the bill. The good news is colleges offer payment plans to help cover remaining costs — in a more manageable, budget-friendly way. These plans are typically offered as 6, 9, or 12-month options and split the balance due across multiple months. For example, if you owe $7,500 for the fall and spring semesters and choose the 9-month payment plan, your monthly payment would be roughly $833 for nine months versus cutting a check for $3,750 each semester.
Tip: Before setting up a payment plan, revisit your budget. You may be able to pay more each month than you originally thought, helping to reduce your total borrowing.