• Mr. Jeff Neill

Transition Chat: The Drop-Off


Perhaps the most challenging initial part of the college experience for parents and first-year (freshman) students is the experience of the initial drop-off at college. It is such an energy and emotion-filled experience for so many that it can slip by in a heartbeat. However, as a result, it can be done well and poorly. So this week, we are asking you to take some time to think about the ways in which you can plan to do this well!


As such, for this topic, we encourage students to consider the following prompt:


What is your family’s plan for your drop-off at college?


Here are some additional thoughts and questions to contemplate:

  • When will you go to campus? When are your first commitments such as orientation for new students or for international students?

  • Alumni Advice: Go to the international student orientation! Even if you are not really international but have grown up overseas, you are likely to find great people who have had similar experiences there. If you don’t get invited, ask!

  • How will you get to college? Will you fly? Through which airports? When you arrive, how will you get to campus? Taxi? Uber? Rental car? Does your university offer shuttles?

  • Who will accompany you to drop-off? Will you go by yourself? Will a parent or sibling join you?

  • If someone else will join you, will they assist with your luggage and belongings? Where will they stay?

  • Alumni Advice: Get a parent to join you with their clothes all packed into a carry-on so you can fill their checked luggage with the things you need from home.

  • What is the schedule for drop-off and orientation? Have you seen one yet? What are the activities and events that you need to or should attend? Are there separate events for parents?

  • Are there other objectives that you need to meet during the first few days? Are you going to go shopping for things and groceries?

  • When will you say goodbye and part ways? What will that look like? Do you need to find privacy? Are there things you want to say?

  • If your parent is not going to drop-off with you, when will you say goodbyes? What will that look like?

  • Alumni Advice: Plan out and discuss saying goodbye to your parents. They will be very emotional, and they deserve to have your attention for a little bit. Be prepared: they will cry!

This piece is part of a series on “transitioning to college.” We encourage graduating seniors and their parents or guardians to engage in discussion on a weekly basis about these topics. If you have feedback or additional ideas or perspectives to share, please let us know so we can incorporate your thoughts into revisions of our posts.


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