How to Prepare Your Kids to Move to College

What to Bring, Wisdom to Impart, and Insuring Their Stuff

If you’ve never been a list-maker, sending your child off to college will make you a believer. 

Preparing them for life on campus for the first time takes a tremendous amount of planning. You’ll need to know everything from the size and color of their bedsheets (regular twin bed or extra-long twin?) to small appliances (will you provide the dorm room refrigerator, or will his or her roommate bring one?) to the ultimate test of finally finding out if all that financial wisdom you’ve shared will be put to use. 

Farm Bureau Insurance has helped families send their kids off to college for decades. We know how important it is to feel confident that your student has everything they need to make this big transition. We include some prompts below to help give them—and you—peace of mind. 

Outfitting the Dorm Room

The first area of preparedness that parents and students will likely tackle is furnishing the dorm room. We highlight the basics from two mega-sites for outfitting freshman dorm rooms (The Ultimate College Packing List and OCM). We also recommend the Getting Schooled site for more detailed lists and even tips for actually packing those suitcases and boxes. 

  • Bedding (sheets, pillowcases, comforter, pillows, blankets and mattress cover) 
  • Bath (towel sets, shower caddy, shower curtain and rings, toilet brush and cleaner, bath/shower mats) 
  • Housekeeping/Laundry (broom and dustpan, vacuum, hamper, detergent, rolls of quarters, iron, ironing board, hangers, closet organizers)
  • Food prep/Kitchen Supplies (mini fridge, microwave, coffee maker, can opener, cutlery, toaster, mugs, plates, dish detergent, sponges)
  • Furnishings (bookcase, lamps, TV, futon, storage containers, foot stool, curtains, curtain rods and hardware, clock)
  • Computer/Electronics/Accessories (laptop with case, printer, mouse pads, the works) 
  • School supplies/Backpack
  • Decor (wall art, posters, picture frames, bulletin board, mirrors, accent pillows, etc.) 
  • Miscellaneous (tool set, ear plugs, duct tape and plenty of paper towels)

Car Maintenance

Most college students have likely spent their lives depending on their parents for vehicle-related issues. When they’re at college they won’t have you nearby to take care of regular maintenance or, worse, the possibility of a breakdown. 

The more you actually open the hood, kick the tires, and talk with them about maintenance priorities before they leave for school, the better. Sit down and help them set up a maintenance reminder schedule to help prevent real problems when they’re out on the road, whether it’s around campus or weekend drives back home. 

Two good resources to start those discussions are Car Tips for College Students Leaving the Nest and Vehicle Maintenance Education for Your College Student

Personal Security

Your student’s safety will always be your number one priority, and these sites give the most current and pertinent sources for protecting their security. 

Financial Readiness

Another vital topic to discuss before your student leaves the nest is financial responsibility. 

Some of the most important matters to touch on are how much support they can expect from you, where extra money should come from (will they look for a job?), and how to manage money by setting up a budget. These financial tips could be good conversation starters when you have that talk. 

Helping them choose a versatile budget app can be a great way to keep them on track. This site compares several options to help you decide together which app is the best fit for your student. 

If you, as parents, are facing difficulties funding your child’s education, start by checking in with the Federal Student Aid information page, a part of the United States Department of Education, to put the process in place. You may be surprised to find out how they can help. 

Renters Insurance

From textbooks to smartphones, laptops, TVs, clothing, furniture, and more, the worth of your child’s belongings is more than you might think, and renters insurance is a valuable asset that can protect them in multiple circumstances. 

Renters insurance covers personal property (to replace lost, stolen or damaged items), liability coverage (to protect you in case you are found to be legally responsible for someone else’s harm or death while in your place of residence), and coverage for additional living expenses (which would pay for the cost of staying in a hotel or other accommodation in the possibility of a forced evacuation due to fire, weather, or other forces). 

Tip: for help in creating an inventory of your child’s possessions at school, consider this handy tool to catalog those valuables in the event of theft or damage. 

Your Farm Bureau local agent will be happy to discuss the options with you and ensure that you get the right coverage for your student’s belongings. 

Protect Your Student with Farm Bureau Insurance

Sending your college student off on his or her own is a new experience for both parents and child. Making sure their expensive electronics, clothing and other property are protected by a quality insurance policy with Farm Bureau Insurance in Arkansas can give you both that extra peace of mind! Get a quote on our affordable policies. Find an agent near where your student will live by using our agent finder.