Dorm Life Tips for Parents

Dorm Life Tips for Parents

This is a sponsored guest post.

Whether your teenager just started college, or returned in September, you may still have some questions and concerns on your mind: What about room and board? Was it the right choice? What are you shelling out for, specifically? Why is room and board often so pricey?

The short answer is, simply, that it covers the costs associated with accommodations (the dorm, or “room”) and meals (the “board”) for your child living on campus during the semester. Many parents are more at ease having their children reside on campus as opposed to off, and that feeling of security alone often makes the expense more than worth it.

Many schools advertise their fees for room and board in their brochures, but your specific expenses may have tallied up to be less or more than those advertised fees-bear in mind, they are always subject to change. Usually, living in a Residence Hall is the only way to accrue room and board charges directly through the college.

Your child may alternately choose to live in an off-campus apartment or in a fraternity or sorority house, for example, and in those cases rent is paid to a private landlord, and meals would not likely be included unless it is some sort of rooming hall. A really nice, single room in a residence hall will of course cost a good deal more than a shared room, which is the usual standard.

College Room and Board OptionsIf your child lives on campus, he or she usually choose from various meal plan options, so help him or her choose one that best fits their needs and your budget. Also bear in mind that many schools require the purchase of a meal plan when maintaining residence on campus.

It’s a good idea to get to know the campus layout even if your child is across the country or even abroad. Pay a visit. Get a sense of the environment. This will make it easier for you to deal with campus or residence hall concerns should they come up. While you’re there, make it a point to introduce yourself to the Resident Assistant. This person is often invaluable for providing resources for your child.

But don’t forget to respect the fact that your “little one” is indeed an independent adult now, for all intents and purposes. Avoid giving off an air of overprotectiveness. A little bit of genuinely expressed interest in the policies and activities of the hall will go a long, long way.

Researching the specific costs of room and board choices, even if your child is already committed for this semester, is also wise. You may discover options that are available in the future, and if it’s early in your child’s college career, you can and should expect adjustments to be made over time as they carve out their paths. The options are many, so stay prepared- it’s not too late to research them!

Make sure you and your child completely understand all the facts and figures before making any final room and board decisions for upcoming semesters; if you feel a change is in order, it’s still early in the school year, which means a transition will still be relatively easy, as opposed to later, when it could feel like a much more significant upheaval. Remember that the tone you set whenever dealing with your child’s college choices may affect your relationship over the entire course of his or her college years, so do your very best to make it a positive experience when you’re hashing out decisions with them.

If your child has decided to give dorm life a try, there are many fantastic online presences to explore that offer everything from dorm-specific merchandise to tips for getting along with roommates and how to cope with homesickness. For example, check out the outstanding expert specialty dorm outfitter, Our Campus Market, where you’ll find everything you’ll need to help the student maintain a stylish, comfortable dorm room at reasonable prices.

There are also some very helpful and practical resources for college residence hall residing students and their parents to check out over at Psychology Today, Huffington Post, and AboutOurKids.Org.