As you and your student prepare for their first year of college, here are some tips to help them succeed at WSU next year:

Attend an Alive! Orientation Session. Orientation is mandatory for all incoming students at WSU. If your student has not registered, do so soon as space is filling up quickly: alive.wsu.edu. At Alive!, your student will receive academic advising, take their Writing Placement Exam, register for classes and receive information on the many campus resources available to them.

Connect with other incoming students through WSU’s Facebook App. Students can connect with
other incoming students around similar extracurricular interests, majors, residence hall communities, and University clubs. This is a great opportunity for your student to get to know others before they arrive on campus! Parents can also connect with other parents of incoming and current students through the WSU Parents Facebook Group.

Create a budget for the first year. If this will be the first time your student moves away from home. There are likely some unexpected expenses to prepare for.  Help your student budget properly for clothing, entertainment, school supplies, travel and food. To help budget for food expenses, use the WSU Dining Services Dining Plans website to learn more about where your son or daughter can use their Residence Dining Account (RDA) and Cougar Cash.

Find furnishings for your residence hall. As your student begins to pack items for their residence hall, be sure you are aware of the amenities offered by WSU Housing Services and what your student’s roommate is planning to bring. Be sure to read Housing’s guidelines regarding what to bring to college. Representatives from Housing will be at each Alive! Orientation session to answer any additional questions you have about what to bring.

Learn to use a student planner. Your student will be faced with multiple deadlines for school projects and tests, as well as events for their extracurricular activities. A student planner may be helpful in prioritizing important dates, deadlines, and other commitments. Make sure your student knows to include study time in their daily schedule and makes a point to plan social events around their classes and study time.

Make a plan now with high school friends to meet up over a break. At WSU, your student will make many new friends, but it is important to keep in touch with their friends from home. Encourage your student to plan ahead to meet up with friends during Thanksgiving, winter, or spring break. The WSU Outdoor Recreation CenterCenter for Civic Engagement and other departments on campus often offer activities over the breaks as well.

Is your student used to paying bills, doing laundry, cooking and cleaning up the mess? If not, summer may be a good time to give him or her a head start on these skills.  In addition, as a parent, you may enjoy having somebody else do the laundry for a change!

Consider getting a job or volunteering. A summer job is a great way for students to earn spending money for their first year at college and to begin gaining work experience that may help them land a summer internship or future job. Many professions and professional schools require students to have previous experience. For example, if your son or daughter is interested in WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, one of the requirements for admission is to have experience with animals. If work experience will be helpful for your student, and he or she doesn’t need the spending money, consider volunteering a few hours a week at a veterinary clinic, or with another professional in your student’s area of interest.  If students are not sure what to major in, volunteering with different professionals may help them identify their interests more closely.

Have fun. College is fun, and WSU offers many new and exciting opportunities for students. However, before your student leaves home, encourage him or her to have fun in their own backyard and spend plenty of time with family and friends they may not see for a while. You may even want to take a family trip. Encourage your student to explore new treasures in your own community and leave plenty of time for your student to do the things they enjoy the most.