5 Must Reads Before You Drop Your Child off at College

Since August is the month when many of us say goodbye to our college-age kids and find our homes more quiet (and our hearts spread far), I thought I’d once again share some of my thoughts about important conversations to have during the college preparation and drop off time.

Last year during this exact week I was dropping my third child at college while my oldest two were starting grad school and senior year. Even though it was my third time going through the whole process, it wasn’t any easier saying good bye than it was the first two times.

In the months leading up to her departure, I knew there were some important conversations we needed to have before I left my then 17-year-old living on her own at college.

Some of these pre-college conversations can be a bit awkward to start, so one idea is to share one of these posts and discuss it together after you both read it. That might provide the nudge you need to have some tough but important conversations before your young adult heads off to the life-changing — and sometimes dangerous — world of college.

5 Must Reads Before You Drop Your Child Off at College

#1 Who You ARE Matters More Than Where You Go

As my daughter and her friends head off to college—whether it be to their “dream” elite university, a large public university, or a smaller, lesser-known school—they should know that no matter where they wind up, there will be resources in place to help them grow and thrive. But it will be up to them to take advantage of those things.

#2 Honest Talk About Alcohol

“3 Things to Teach Your Kids about Alcohol,” the most important thing I’ve ever written, was a plea to parents to talk with kids about alcohol and prevent the kind of tragedy that a family close to ours experienced in 2004. This is a topic that I will continue to revisit until we stop losing more than 1,800 college students a year to alcohol-related deaths. READ MORE.

#3 Preventing Sexual Assault

Many rapes go unreported due to shame, embarrassment, and not being clear on what constitutes sexual assault. What is clear is that students, especially women, are at a higher risk of being sexually assaulted while in college than at any other time in their lives. The assaults are not from strangers in dark alleys but are more often perpetrated by men in their social circle. A variety of cultural factors, including rampant binge drinking, has contributed to this crisis. READ MORE.

#4 Final Conversation Before College

What I want my daughter to find in college are friends who know and love her for who she is and with whom she can be her true goofy self. As I send her off, I pray that she’ll connect with a few (even just one or two) life-long friends who will love and support her through her college years. READ MORE.

#5 Episode 12: Teaching Teen Girls to Get Savvy

Identifying predators’ traits, tactics, and tricks is just one important part of author Kathleen Buckstaff’s educational message for young women. Examples from Kathleen’s own experience and interviews with many young women provide compelling examples of steps to take to reduce the risk of sexual assault. LISTEN NOW.

During this exciting time of transition, it’s easy to get caught up in the “what do we need to buy for the dorm room” conversations. Remember to also take time to have some important, heart-to-heart conversations about challenging topics that can positively impact your young adult’s college experience.


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