Transition tips

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On Sunday, Sept. 3, 600 new students will arrive at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass.

One of the first people they meet will be Voncile White, dean of first-year students. It's an extremely exciting day, she says, but also one that can be fraught with anxiety for both students and their parents.

To help ease the transition before families set foot on campus, Ms. White sends parents the following list of tips, titled "Learning to Let Go: Transition Tips for Parents Sending Kids to College."

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*Say goodbye before the last minute. "Once your child is on campus, she or he has already begun making that important separation from you," says White. "It may be too awkward and public for everyone to have that intimate moment in the presence of other classmates, families, and a roommate. Spend some time earlier - perhaps the night before - having a quiet time together to celebrate their excitement and pride. Let your daughter or son know you will miss them."

*Resist the urge to decorate the dorm room. "One of the best ways for roommates to learn about each other and to forge a good relationship is to work together on how their room is to be arranged," says White.

*Once orientation has begun, take your leave. "Students make a better adjustment to college if they participate fully in orientation events," says White. "It's a burden for students to have their parents still present after these scheduled programs begin. Having a set time for families to depart makes it easier for everyone."

*Talk about credit cards and finances before school begins. "I encourage parents to have a frank discussion about finances before the student leaves home," says White. "Will the student have a credit card? Should a parent be the cosigner? Banks bombard college students with credit-card offers."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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