College Survival 101

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner


College Survival 101

Back to school may mean off to college for some of us moms of not-so-little ones.

Trading bedrooms for dorm rooms brings a new set of challenges for students. Not only will they have to manage their study habits, they’ll also need to do their own laundry, (possibly) cook their own meals, and schedule their time wisely. It’s a tall order for kids who have had the luxury of having Mom around for 18+ years! Putting together a college survival kit for your student will help set them up for collegiate success.

Tip & Tricks for the 1st Year

Add a little mom wisdom

Send your student off to university with a little “mom wisdom” to keep nearby. Simply jot down tips & tricks on spiral bound index cards to create a handy reference guide!

Even if your child is living in a dorm, they’ll have to figure out how to navigate the laundromat. Jot down a few tips to help them avoid turning their whites pink or setting pizza stains in their favorite hoodie. Cover the basics of sorting, stain removal, and temperature. Include an envelope of quarters for the machines. The bonus for you…no giant bags of dirty laundry on weekend visits!

If your child is living off campus, they’ll need to add cooking to their list of skills. You’ll find that many college students want to avoid the “typical” junk food diet – they quickly realize that it costs more to eat junk! Collect basic recipes & include them in the tips & tricks file. Cover easy one-person meals, as well as a few “impress your friends” menus. Grocery store gift cards make great gifts for students!

It may come as a rude awakening that college doesn’t come with maid service. Dorms and apartments have to be cleaned occasionally! Create a simple room-by-room checklist for students to follow. Organizing chores into small daily tasks will make it less overwhelming (and make it more likely to be maintained). Pack a small basket of cleaning wipes, dusters, and “magic” erasers to help make the work a bit easier.

Time Management for Teens


Even as adults, it’s difficult to keep up with everything that needs to be done! If your student isn’t already in the habit of using a planner, encourage them to start! Academic year planners can be purchased at any office supply store, and spruced up for individuality. Go ahead and write in “Call Your Mom!” on a few days! Even though there are dozens of productivity, calendar, and note-taking apps on smart phones, nothing really beats the efficiency of a datebook & a pen!

Go ahead and write in “Call Your Mom!” on a few days!

Keeping in Touch

complete card

Speaking of smart phones…they’re certainly handy for keeping in touch. Skype, text message, and social media offer lots of opportunities for students to “phone” home. Still, it’s awesome to get some snail mail once in a while. Slip a few self-addressed envelopes into your student’s college gear to increase the chances of finding a little love in your mailbox.

Sending children off to college can be scary for parent & child. Just remember that it’s all a great adventure, with lots of opportunities to learn & grow (for parent AND child). Enjoy the ride!