This is what you’ve been working toward. Your baby is going off to college. The dream of a guest room or home office you always wanted is about to come true, and you’re going to have full-time access to your car again (not that it matters because you’ll soon be making the choice between tuition and gas).
If your student has executive functioning weaknesses, or just can’t seem to stay organized, it will be very helpful to have some systems in place before the big day. Aside from the lengthy list from the college of what to pack and not pack, consider helping your student with some of the basic structures for success.
- A system for organizing papers: Reinforce the need for your student to keep up with all academic paperwork. Purchase a small sturdy file box and set up folders for each of your student’s classes, plus separate ones for important papers such as health insurance, meal plan, computer information etc…
- A system for documenting assignments: Encourage your student to choose a way to track assignments before school begins. Some co-eds prefer the electronic method of a cell phone or computer. If this is the case, try to establish the structure now. Will they be using a software program that reminds you of obligations daily? Will they be able to print a schedule or list of requirements?
- A system for transporting books and notebooks: Many college students want to move beyond the backpack to something more sophisticated, such as a big tote bag. The method is optional; the important thing is to decide how the student is going to carry materials to class, the library and back to the dorm.
- A system for planning time: The choice of a calendar is an important decision, and sometimes two calendars are necessary. If the student wants a monthly or yearly calendar to see long term obligations, a second calendar for daily obligations may be necessary. Even if the student plans to use a software program to manage time, a second calendar to divide long term projects or future events will be helpful.
Like an Olympian preparing to compete on his first day, the planning and practice that takes place prior to the event can make or break the final outcome. With the right structures in place, next summer your child could be celebrating his very own academic “gold metal.”