You have survived graduation!  You have ridden the roller coaster of emotions as your “baby” completes one portion of their education and prepares to move on to another. 

You have survived graduation!  You have ridden the roller coaster of emotions as your “baby” completes one portion of their education and prepares to move on to another.  It’s time to get ready to send them away to college.  But are you ready?  For both you and your teen, going off to college is more than just packing the car and heading off down the highway of life.

Dr. Ruth Peters, a clinical psychologist in Clearwater, Fla., offers the following tips to make the transition from high school graduate to college freshman easier for student and parent alike.

 “The going off to college routine (http://today.msnbc.msn.com)  really has several distinct parts to it. First comes the difficult distinction between ‘What I want to take with me’ vs. ‘What I have room for and what the college will allow in a dorm.’ Usually the two are very different. Kids want to take a lot — their computer, stereo/CD system, all of their clothes, music, pictures, yearbooks and the list goes on. Forget the knickknacks and stick to the basics. Every college or university offers a list of necessary items to bring — just check their website or call the housing or admissions offices for further information.”

“If your teen is like most others, the last place they want to visit is the infirmary. Be sure that their medications (for allergies, asthma, and birth control if that is an issue) are up-to-date and packed. Make sure that all vaccinations are updated. Make sure that your child has had the hepatitis B vaccine, as well as Menactra — a newer vaccine for meningitis that is specific to the strain that appears to haunt the halls of college dormitories.

“Also, ask your teen’s physician to speak a bit about exercise, nutrition and the dreaded “Freshman 15” — the 5- to 15-pound weight gain that many kids experience during the first year or so of college.

“You know your son or daughter better than anyone, and if you sense more than a bit of anxiety about the move, be sure to address that. Some teens, of course, are raring to go and won’t give it a second thought, but many, many fresh high school graduates are fearful of the unknown. Some may even be depressed about leaving home or their old friends. Thinking and talking about fears and concerns ahead of time will make the transition much more successful and pleasant.”

“Make sure that your teenager has been taught some basic life skills.”  This should include laundry tips, basic car maintenance, and guidelines on budgeting finances.

“Make sure that your kid has a cell phone with an updated calling plan.

“Be sure to check to see if it works well on the road to and from school as well as at the college — in the dorm room and on the walkways between classes.”

 By following these guidelines, you and your teenager will be better prepared for a pleasant and successful college experience.

This should be one of the most exciting, challenging, and stimulating times of his or her life.  And yours, too!