First Apartment Kitchen Essentials For Your Teen

First Apartment Kitchen Essentials For Your Teen

First apartment kitchen essentials

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Are you wondering what your teen will need in their first apartment? Or are you a young adult moving out for the first time? This is the first in a series of posts that will go room-by-room in an apartment, that will help you make decisions ahead of time. These posts will help you know what you need to think about, and also help you plan out how you want to budget for all of the needs of a first apartment. Here is the lowdown all about first apartment kitchen essentials.

Many times our teens will be living with friends, so that will help with the expense!

As we shopped for our son’s first apartment, it was really nice to spread out the cost over a few months. Some of the items that we knew he would need were rather expensive, but by planning ahead, we were able to manage the costs of many items by watching sales on Facebook Marketplace, Salvation Army and various websites.

Let’s get started with first apartment essentials for each room!

The first room that we will talk about equipping is the kitchen. This is the room that needs the most to supply, so I suggest that your talk with the roommates, and make a plan. Just know that most apartments are generally equipped with the larger appliances such as oven, refrigerator, and microwaves. The rest is really up to the tenants to supply. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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first apartment kitchen essentials

Appliances for first apartment kitchen essentials

Smaller Appliances:

Microwave, if not provided -There are so many to choose from, so measure the space available carefully. You may want to purchase a small side table, (I like this one with a drawer for napkins, etc) to put the microwave on, so that the limited counter space isn’t taken up by this appliance. Hopefully, this is a purchase that you won’t have to make!

 

Toaster oven -Again, this will take up precious counter space. But, I recommend a toaster oven over a plain toaster because they are perfect for heating or cooking individual meals without using an entire oven, especially if you are wanting something to be crispy. (My boys prefer heating their pizza in this because the microwave can make things soggy.)

Coffee maker -This might get used the most! There are so many choices. Find out how many of the roommates will drink coffee. There are a lot of individual serving coffeemakers if it is just one or two.

Crockpot -This is actually something our middle son has asked for. He loves to cook, and knows that he can put food in to cook all day. Since he is working almost full time, he likes the idea of coming home to a ready-made meal with enough to pack up leftovers for future meals. There are so many easy crockpot recipes. Check out this cookbook for easy 5 ingredient recipes to get your teen started!

 

Mixer -This might not be used often, but it is sure nice to have if they decide to whip up some cookies!

Instant pot -If your teen likes to cook, this is an amazing tool for the kitchen. Here is an easy cookbook to get started with this device.

 

Fun Extra Small Appliances:

Waffle maker -There are so many things that can be cooked in a waffle iron besides waffles. Biscuits, brownies, cookies, hash browns… The list is endless! The cookbook Will It Waffle is great for new ideas:)

 

Griddle -This is also a great kitchen tool. Can easily be stored under the sink to be pulled out to griddle up sandwiches, pancakes, or bacon and eggs.

 

140+ Resources for Parents of Teens

Other tools for a first kitchen

Pots and Pans and Other Cookware:

Set of cookware -I would not spend a ton, but also don’t do the cheapest if you want this to last through the next few years. I would highly recommend getting dishwasher safe cookware only because that is probably how it will probably be cleaned, hopefully it will be cleaned after every use, but don’t count on this…

 

Cookie sheet -For sheet pan meals, slice and back cookies, and pizza making, these are essential to any kitchen. Here’s a link to 20 easy sheet pan meals for meal prepping

Baking dishes -For baking brownies to a quick noodle casserole, having a couple of baking dishes are a good choice to round out a kitchen’s oven tools.

 

Utensils and Cooking Tools:

Kitchen utensils setThis particular set has everything and more that a kitchen will need. The price point is great for all that is included in the set!

 

Bottle opener -This is a good basic tool. There will always be bottles that need to be opened.

 

Can opener -Another necessary tool for all sorts of can opening. I am faithful to the manual, but there are really great electric ones as well! There’s even one for lefties!

 

Oven mitts/hot pads -Must-have!

 

First apartment kitchen essentials include wooden spoons!

 

Pizza cutter -A knife will work, but this is handy…

 

Set of knives -Every cook needs a good set of knives.

 

Dining Ware:

Set of dishes -Paper plates are okay on occasion, but real dishes are a necessity.

 

Flatware -Also a necessity.

 

Glassware -My boys like different sizes of glasses for different drinks.

 

Coffee cups -Lots of coffee will be consumed through college…

 

More first apartment kitchen essentials

Cleaning Supplies:

Dishwasher tabs -My appliance guy was just here the other day, and he recommended Finish over Cascade for the best clean and it’s better for the machines too. He also mentioned using this cleaner once every 3 months.

Dishwashing liquid -Dawn is the best, also eco-friendly.

 

Scrub brush -Must-have!

Dishrags -White rags will wipe up everything, and can be thrown into the wash with any load of laundry.

Dish towels -Same as above.

Apron -If you are picky about keeping your clothes clean, these are great!

 

Kitchen trashcan -Must-have! Don’t forget the bags.

Other Useful Items:

Storage containers -Much better than baggies, and there are often leftovers.

Placemats -Pretty to have, but totally optional in my son’s apartment…😜

Napkins -Same as above.

Canisters -If you have a baker on your hands, these are nice to have.

Popcorn popper -Love ours!

Furniture:

Table and chairs

Barstools

Tea cart

Does your teen know how to cook? Plan meals? Organize a shopping list?

My online friend, Marie Fiebach has an amazing website and she helps teens to know how to do all of these things! And, how to do all of that on a budget as well. Her website, feedyourfamilytonight.com is a great place to look for ideas about meal planning, prep and shopping on a budget!

I hope that this post answered the question, “What should I purchase for first apartment essentials?” Let me know if you can think of anything that I have forgotten!

Related posts:

My Son, An Onion, and His First Apartment

Is Your Teen Headed Back To College? Tips for Success

Backpack Essentials for College

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

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Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!❤️

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essentials for a first kitchen

How To Pack An Emergency Road Trip Kit

How To Pack An Emergency Road Trip Kit

Is your teen ready to come home at a minute’s notice?

Guess what? We are living in the day of weird circumstances, and we need to be prepared. Our teens need to be prepared. Is your teen going back to college? What if campus suddenly closes down again? What if there is a family emergency that your teen needs to leave for on a minute’s notice? Here are some ideas for an emergency road trip kit for your teen.

Colleges are preparing for the return of students, for whatever that may look like. Is your teen preparing to head back to college? Is your teen headed for the first time?

We need to help our teens to prepare for any type of circumstance so that in the moment of an emergency, they won’t need to think about it. Here are tips for packing an emergency road trip kit. These tips are good for us to remember as well!

Do you have a new driver? Here is a post for that.

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A bag to pack in

This set of 4 mesh bags. These will need to be filled with all of your teens favorite personal items. When purchasing things for this next school year, whether it will be a dorm room or apartment, go ahead and purchase some travel size items for this bag. Don’t forget a brush, and toothbrush with toothpaste. And, make sure your girls don’t forget some personal hygiene items.

Packing cubes will provide a little bit more room. Maybe use these for a quick change of clothes, dividing by category.

If you would rather purchase a kit that is already prepared, here are some really great ones!

General supplies

Car phone charger -Be sure to remind your teen to always keep their phone charged.

Flashlight, and they need to be sure to regularly change out the batteries!

First aid kit to leave in the car!

Kitty littler because if your teen gets stuck then this can be poured down for traction. Road salt or sand will work as well.

Duct tape is always a great thing to have around. You never know when it might come in handy.

Here is a handy road distress kit to throw into the trunk -just in case!

Medications and/or medical supplies

Please remind your student to keep their meds locked up in some sort of a safe. We found out the hard way that this type of theft is very common on college campuses. Here are other size safes for this type of situation. Remember to remind your teen to have a few over-the-counter drug items in their car as well, such as Advil for a headache that will come with stress.

Here is a pack that is already prepared for you! All the details already thought out for you!

Weekly medicine organizer which can be used all the time anyway.

Here is a pouch for all kinds of medicine.

Cleanliness items

Wet wipes are really hard to come by, but a travel size would be great.

Antibacterial hand wipes are a must. If you cannot find any, here is a recipe for making your own.

Liquid hand soap can be put into a smaller bottle for travel. This is great if your teen needs to stop and remembers to take it in in case there is nothing in soap dispenser!

 

Spray disinfectant for quick cleaning after visiting a gas station or wherever.

Covid supplies

Face masks -Sign of the times we live in, but having a pack of these in the car is something we all ought to be doing now, especially if traveling.

Disposable gloves -Another item to have in your car for pumping gas, exchanging money or even going in to use a restroom on a road trip.

 

Anti Touch, No-Touch Door Opener -This thing is a stylus, hands-free button-pusher, cool little gadget! We should all be carrying this in our wallets. This is one of the most multifunctional tools that I have seen.

Food for the road

Have a few snacks on hand, just in case. Even just one or two in one of the above bags is a great head start for a quick trip.

Trail or nut mixes are great for travel.

Frooze balls, these are yummy.

Money or gift cards

This is super important. They should put some cash in small bills, 20s or less in their safe to grab on the run. Also, if they have a credit card, they need to be sure to have that with their driver’s license. Having a few gift cards would be great if they need to stop for food or gas anywhere!

The Amazon Rewards card is great because you win when they spend. Having a credit card will be peace of mind for you if they do end up on the road. Our oldest got his first credit card his junior year of college. I think that this depends on the teen and their responsibility level.

Fast food gift cards are a great idea!

Winter emergency road trip kit

Remind your teens that even if they don’t wear a coat, they should have one in the car for a road trip in case something happens. Same with boots and possibly a heavy sweater, especially if they are going to be traveling through cold weather states.

In cold weather, they should keep at least half a tank of gas at all times. Before a longer trip, your teen should have their car serviced or at least have a trip check. Remind them a couple of weeks before a trip to make an appointment to get their car taken care of by a mechanic.

Jumper cables -These are actually good at any time, but for sure in the cold weather.

Ice scraper -Just put this under the seat until cold weather hits. I like this one a lot!

Reflective triangles -Again, these are good to have at any time, but especially if something happens on the road.

Emergency blanket or a heavy travel blanket for the road to keep warm, just in case.

Snow shovel -I like this one, it’s a 3-in-1. it’s collapsible and has a couple of attachments.

Some things to think about at any time

Help your teen to learn to know where the nearest exit is no matter where they are. Movie theater, mall, restaurant etc. If Covid has taught us anything, it’s that you can take nothing for granted. Our kids and teens need to be able to think on their feet. When we notice out loud things like seeing where exit signs are, keeping track of directions on the way to a new place or even reminding them that they really shouldn’t open a door to strangers-even now that they are older, we are helping our teens to be more prepared for emergency situations.

I am not saying that we need to become doomsday preppers, but helping our teens to be ready for anything will reduce their stress in the event of an emergency.

Be sure that your teen knows to have their car regularly maintained. Another thing that we have told our teens is to always have at least half a tank of gas these days, just to be sure they can get out of town at the very least.

Through readiness and discipline, we are the masters of our fate.” -Bill Paxton

This was a different type of post for me. As I was researching this idea, it made me feel a little unsettled. But, I wanted you to think about what your teen may need in certain circumstances. This is not something that we might have thought about even 6 months ago. But, being prepared is never a bad thing. This preparation will take some of the extra stress away if something were to happen when your student is away at school.

I hope that this emergency road trip kit is not necessary, but I hope that your teen takes one as they head back to school!

Related posts:

What Your Freshman Will Definitely Need in Their Dorm Room,

Is Your Teen Headed Back to College? Tips for Success,

15 Ways Parents Can Help a Stressed Out Teen

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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Emergency road trip kit|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

What Will My Freshman Need In The Dorm: The 4-1-1 for Success!

What Will My Freshman Need In The Dorm: The 4-1-1 for Success!

What Will My Freshman Need In The Dorm?

Hey, it’s approaching soon–moving your kiddo into their freshman dorm… That bittersweet day when your baby-not-baby heads off to college. How can this be? Just yesterday he was crawling around in his diaper! Just yesterday she was playing with her baby doll and twirling around the house in her little tutu! Now you are wondering, “What will my freshman need in the dorm?”

You blinked, and now they are practically grown! Seriously, we have to think about moving them out of our houses and into a dorm room at college. It’s not so bad if you are organized to begin with. I am here to help!

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*This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

What will my freshman need in the dorm?

 What will I need to move into the dorm?

First, remember that space is limited, so making careful choices is important. Second, if you have a girl, then she will probably want to decorate and make her room super cute. If you have a boy, then for the most part, he could probably care less. My 2 boys are of the care less sort.

The items on this list are not decorative, but super useful for any college student. They are in no particular order of importance, but all will be necessary!

Some suggestions…

One thing that I suggest you that you do, is to purchase a couple of things a month over the spring and summer before so that it’s not one big expensive month right before! Another option would be to divide the list of needs with the other roommate.

When I was a senior, my mom gave me one or two things a month for the whole year before college, so that by the time I went away, I had everything that I needed:)

Please check out my comprehensive lists on Amazon. I created lists for Dorm Room Essentials and College School Supplies,  These are pages I created on Amazon’s website where you can actually go shop right from the list! Check them out!

Grab everything all at once and have it all delivered right to your door! You are welcome😀

What will my freshman need in the dorm?

Have you thought about the legal implications for your teen turning 18?

HIPAA, FERPA, Selective Service… Check out my post which addresses all of those topics and what you should think about for your teen at their 18th birthday. There are so many things that I hadn’t even thought about, so, please inform yourself.

Items for move-in day

Before I start the list, you need to think about moving all the stuff in! Here are a couple of things that I would totally recommend having on hand. First, Ikea Frakta bags -these are the bomb, and order early because these go fast! A door stopper is great for all the in and outs.

The other item I would recommend having is a collapsible wagon. This can be stored under your student’s bed and then used for laundry, groceries or hauling things back out to their car for holidays etc.

Also, will you teen be driving a lot? They should have a safety container in their car for travel. This is a great place to put those legal forms that you work on above. If your teen will be on the road for long distance travel at all, I have some tips on an emergency kit for their car. Check it out here.

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What will my college freshman need in the dorm?

What will my freshman need in the dorm? 

Before you get anything, check with the college and the roommate so that you have the room dimensions, allowed items, and know what each roomie is going to bring. This will save you time and money. Remember to buy small. They can always replace when they run out of something. Horizontal space is limited, so be creative!

Before you spend the money on a microwave and/or refrigerator, check with the school because they may have a rental program with the exact model that they allow. Otherwise, think small, and stack the microwave on top of the fridge!

What will my freshman need in the dorm?

Multi-plug outlet/chargerthis has outlets, USB ports, and a timer, and even has a surge protector. This is a MUST! Be sure to have a long phone cord for charging because you never know where the closest outlet will be!

Surge protector -many schools won’t allow extension cords, so grab one of these and, be sure to get one with lots of outlets.

Whiteboardkeep track of schedule, lists, write note to roommate etc. Here are some great accessories! Markers, graphic chart tape in various colors,  and whiteboard crayons for fun! 

Under the bed storage -this is great for out-of-season clothing, and other rarely used items. A suitcase will work for this as well. One good thing to have is an overnight bag or gym bag in case your student goes away for a weekend with friends.

What will my freshman need in the dorm?

Keurig -This is great not just for coffee. Your student can heat up water for ramen, mac ‘n’ cheese, etc. A Brita pitcher is nice, too, depending on the taste and quality of the water. Be sure to get the smallest that you can for each since their space is so limited!

Area rugThis is for comfort, as well as style. It can be a basic monotone rug or multi-colored or patterned one. Stepping onto a rug is so much nicer than a plain, tiled floor, especially in the middle of the night! Don’t forget a rug gripper pad to keep it in place, and a small vacuum to keep it clean.

Mattress topper -Must have because the mattresses in dorm rooms are awful! Be sure that you find out the size of the mattress, sometimes they are twin XL, and sometimes not.

Mattress protector, 2 sets of sheets, and a cozy comforter are a must as well. My boys didn’t care what any of it looked like, but if you have a girl or a guy who cares, then you will get to have so much fun with this part!

Command hooks-many different sizes for hanging everything! Small, medium and large are all available. These can be used for a million reasons around a dorm room. And, these ceiling hooks are awesome for hanging flags or other lightweight items.

Shower caddySo handy for the dorm shower, even if you have a suite setup, it keeps all your “stuff” together! Don’t forget to pick up a pair of shower shoes while you’re at it!

Prop-up bed wedge -I like the one in this picture because it has a removable cover, and it’s oversized. It’s a bit more expensive, but no telling what might spill on this in a dorm room! Here is a super fuzzy wedge! Grab a bedside shelf or organizer– so great in the limited space of a tiny room.

 

Desktop fan -A dorm room can be really stuffy!

Prime Student 6-month TrialThis is the best! Videos, books for college and your kindle app, and lots more. *(Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping (with no minimum order size) * Exclusive deals and promotions for college students!)

Laptop computerEvery school is different, so you need to have your student check to see which computer is recommended. My oldest son got this for graduation, and our middle son got this one. They each had different wants and needs, and they have both been happy with their choices.

Laundry basketDon’t forget to grab detergent, stain stick, and dryer sheets while you’re at it. Also, check out this tiny air purifier that just plugs into an outlet and is the size of your fist. (It does not require a filter, and would be great in a dorm room for freshness. It will eliminate odors, bacteria, and allergens.)

What will my freshman need in the dorm?

Printer -Most kids assume that since there is free printing in many places on campus, they won’t need a printer of their own. What they don’t think about is that many times that means a walk to the bookstore or the learning lab or wherever the school printer happens to be.

A few cleaning supplies would be handy as well. Antibacterial wipes, room deodorizer, small trash bags, multi-purpose cleaner, and paper towels are all a good call.

Dorm safe -This is almost a must. My son was on meds that his friends always wanted. It was so much easier on him to be able to lock it up and not worry about it. They can also lock up their money, gift cards and jewelry.

First aid/health kit -This will come in so handy, and it can be refilled and personalized with specific meds and extra band-aids etc.

Toolkit -My son took a toolkit that my husband put together for him. He told me that almost every day someone needed something out of his kit! He also had a box of extras like scissors, flashlight, batteries, zip ties, liquid nails, thumb tacks, etc.

What will my freshman need in the dorm?

And, just for fun, these LED strip lights are so cool! My friend has them around the white boards in her classroom, and I thought they would be so much fun around the frame of the beds in a dorm room. They can be set to one color or set to change.

There you go. All of the most useful items already in a list for you! Be sure to check out my more comprehensive lists for Dorm Room Essentials and College School Supplies.

For all you moms out there!

Have you heard about the Flippy? My bestie in Denver got one of these from her daughters because it drove them crazy when she would build towers out of side tables etc to put her devices on to Zoom her daughter who lives overseas! She loves it! So get one for when you and your teen talk after they have left home! You can prop it up in any position for whatever makes you the most comfortable!

Make the most out of your last months as you answer the question, “What will my freshman need in college?”

Fall semester is quickly approaching. Enjoy your last month of summer! Get some hugs in if your kid will let you, and make family time happen! I am thinking of you because we have been there. I’ve gone through it twice now. so I know how quickly this all goes.

I hope that I was able to answer your question, “What will my freshman need in the dorm?” I am definitely sending my love to you all in this really bittersweet time! 

What will my freshman need in the dorm and how are they this old?

Other helpful ideas as you help your teen prepare for college

Another place with good gift ideas for teens, some of which would be good for dorm rooms, is this post. Check out my Pinterest board- Dorm Room Ideas with all sorts of ideas or College Hacks for even more ideas! And, here is a list of 5 things that you shouldn’t forget to bring to the dorm with you.

One thing that one of my boys loved was this digital picture frame. He wasn’t one to put up pictures, and he wasn’t far from us, but he said he would turn this on occasionally if he hadn’t seen us in awhile.

Good luck and have fun! Don’t forget about organizing and preparing the best backpack with all the essentials needed to be out of the dorm or apartment all day.

Do you have a younger teen in high school or middle school? Grab my high school parenting toolkit!

Are you wondering what essential tech items your teen will need for college? Here’s your answer!

Want tips for putting together a care package for your college kid?  Or grab a couple of tiny decorations for the dorm for Halloween?

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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What will my freshman need in the dorm?

How Do I Apply To College?-12 Steps to Success!

How Do I Apply To College?-12 Steps to Success!

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How do I apply for college? How you can help your teen!

This post covers how to make this process easier for your teen, starting the summer before their senior year. There are many things to keep track of, so get organized! Check out this post which will help your and your teen stay organized throughout high school.So, when your teen asks, “How do I apply to college?” and you haven’t been doing all of these things, it’s not too late to start!

Schools are sending information to prospective students via email and snail mail. It is such fun for your teen to receive all of these! Now, it’s time to begin the process of applying to colleges. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

There is even more great information below the video about applying to college!

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How do I apply to college?|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Throw away any unwanted information!

Have your teen throw away any packets from schools that they are not interested in. This will eliminate over half of what they receive. Your student needs to use both the trash can and their email trash. Tell them to stay on top of this because the stack will grow, and their inbox will get to be overwhelming!

This is one job that you can help with. I would go into my sons’ email inboxes (with their permission) and delete any that my they knew were too far away or too expensive or too whatever…

"How do I apply to college?, your teens asks. Trash anything he or she is not interested it

FYII have written a book with all of this information in it plus lots more! Check it out!

And, here is the blog post that goes in conjunction with the book. Many of these discussions that I write about in my book address the very things that your teen will need to know when thinking about “How do I apply to college?”

When Do I Apply for College?

The actual process of college application is in the fall. That is when application due dates typically begin. Each college will be different. Most will accept your teen all the way until school starts the next fall based on the number of applicants. Just beware that financial aid is rewarded first come, first serve. The later that your child applies, the less chance of monies. They will also run the risk of the freshman class filling up, and being waitlisted.

Make a plan

There are a variety of college counseling sites that will help you!

Here are a few choices. This would have been so helpful for us with our older two boys. I will definitely be shopping these options with our third when it’s time for college applications!

College Meister has two programs for application completion help. One and Done, meaning you will complete applications in one week. Or, Eight is Enough, meaning that you will complete your applications in 8 weeks. They provide structure and help as you wade through this process.

Loren Kelly Coaching provides college and career coaching for teens and their parents. She has an amazing program. She also provides resume writing services as well.

College Prep Genius has many helpful products. Here is a College Roadmap for success. And, here is an ebook about Insider Secrets to College Entrance Exams.

Prioritize By Due Dates

Some college application due dates will be immediate, others not for awhile. There may be an early decision date which is binding, others have early decision which is non-binding. Others will have rolling decision dates, which means that your child may have more time.

Have your child look on each college’s website. What is the tuition package? What sorts of scholarships are available? Is there a tiered fee structure? Where does your student fall in all of that?

This might help to eliminate more schools. Talk about a college budget, and learn the truths about student loan debt.

One more thing to look at as far as applications go, is whether or not the college charges an application fee. These can add up, so be sure that if you spend that money, it is really a place that they can see themselves going to for the next four years.

Fill out the FAFSA.

The FAFSA due date is October 1. Do not wait until the first to fill it out! It can take awhile to get it filled in, double-checked and completed! Read about what the FAFSA and what it actually is here. (If you are able to link through the IRS, the time will be greatly shortened.)

Have your child register for the ACT and/or SAT again, if those scores are something which they are wanting to improve upon. They can still apply for colleges, and can just update the score for the college either yourselves or via the test center. They can even take these tests after being accepted, just be sure that they update the college with any improvement to their score! (It might make a difference to the financial aid package that they might receive.)

Ways that ACT and SAT are scored

Some schools ask for the ACT composite score. This is the score of each subtest which is then divided by the number of subtests. The composite score and each test score (English, mathematics, reading, science) ranges from 1 (low) to 36 (high), and is the average of the four test scores, rounded to the nearest whole number. Fractions less than one-half are rounded down; fractions one-half or more are rounded up. 

Another ACT score that a school may ask for is the superscore. This is made up of the best sub-scores regardless of test date. Be sure to send in all test scores for consideration. This creates a new superscore using only the highest numbers. Not all schools will ask for either of these, but look out for these options.

Here is a great resource for SAT test prep.

"How do I apply for college?", your teen asks. Your teen will have more options with higher test scores.

Visit campus if possible!

One of the best ways to know if a school might be a good fit is to visit the campus. The best time to go is during the school year so that your teen can get a true feeling of what life is like during a school day. Here is a guide to planning the visit! Go anytime during their early high school years if possible. (During these days of COVID-there are online versions of college visits–just check out the college’s website.) This is a great list of questions to ask whether you are in person for the visit, or contacting the campus after looking online!

A lot of people wait until junior year, which is fine, but by then most teens are super busy. If you can take them for a visit during their freshman or sophomore year, it gives them time to think about things. Your teen can start to make decisions and eliminate some of their choices earlier.

Visit a variety of colleges if possible!

Visit small and large schools. Visit state schools and private. Visit one that is a little further away than is comfortable to them. Visit the school that is in their hometown because it’s different to actually experience it, than to just think they know about it.

Try to visit one college from each of these categories to give your child a good variety to choose from. They won’t know until they try what might be a good fit! Plus, it’s fun to see all their different choices.

Write Essays  

Essays can be tweaked for each situation as needed. One essay that your teen needs to write is, “What are your plans for the future?” Most schools want to know this information in some form or another. It is a good way for your child to actually think about this, and get their thoughts in order.

Tell them when filling out applications and writing essays that they need to be honest and thoughtful. There will be questions that will cause them to really think, and there will be others that seem ridiculous. Most questions are asked for a certain reason, so your child should think and answer carefully.

Monica Matthews from how2winscholarships has a great guide for writing essays and preparing awesome scholarship packages. Check it out here!

How do I apply to college? More and more the applications will be online!

Get Letters of Recommendation

This is a step that should not be ignored. Go to teachers that have been supportive. Tell your child to really foster good relationships with their teachers throughout high school, so that when they ask a teacher for a recommendation, it’s not a big surprise! This is a big one for answering that question, “How do I apply to college?”

Update Your Resume

A resume is a great way to put all accomplishments together in one place. This can be emailed to colleges as your teen applies to college. My friend, Loren Kelly, has great tips for updating and maintaining resumes! Check her out here.

Search the College Website

Go back to each college’s website. Look carefully through each tab. Search through student life, take a virtual tour of the campus, look at the available clubs and activities.

Google the nearby town to find out information about the size and what is available to do outside of school since it is where they would be living. Again, visit colleges if it is at all possible! Some tips for visiting colleges are here.

I hope that this answered your teen’s question, “How do I apply to college?”

Your child should do everything that that they can to inform themselves about each college as a possibility. This way, when it comes time to really decide where they will end up, they can make an informed decision with all the pertinent facts. This way, when they ask, “How do I apply for college?”, they now know some facts to start this process.

Books that will help in this process

Ultimate Scholarship Book

How To Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

How To Prepare a Standout College Application

Admission Matters

Related posts:

Survival Kit for Parents With Teens in High School,

Talk About a College Budget with Your Teen,

The Truth About Student Loan Debt,

Parents, Are You Asking How You Will Pay for College Next Fall?.

Your Teen is Turning 18! What are the Legal Implications?

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9 Backpack Essentials for College:  Don’t Forget These!

9 Backpack Essentials for College: Don’t Forget These!

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 Backpack essentials for high school or college

Packing an organized backpack for high school or college is essential to academic survival. It is much smarter to plan ahead for classes, emergencies, and daily occurrences than to just throw a bunch of stuff in your pack and go. Grab this list of backpack essentials before your teens head off for college!

 

Backpack Essentials for College|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

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One thing that all the students I asked had in common, was that they didn’t think about any of this before they were in high school or college, depending on the age of student I asked. Now that they have been in school, these are the things that they make sure that they always carry.

Each student and schedule will be different. Sometimes even from one semester to another, so think carefully, and readjust as the semester continues. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

Backpack Essentials for College:  What You Must Have

Here is a list of college student backpack essentials

I gathered this list from six current college students. There were no differences for the high school students I asked. It just depended on their class load at the time.

  1.  Wireless earbudsThese will come in handy for walking across campus, working out, and listening to music while studying.

2. Chapstick– This is long-lasting and has both UVA and UVB protection. It comes in a tube, not a stick, so it won’t melt.

3. Water bottle– This bottle is great with many features. It folds up, has a wide mouth, leak proof, and is BPA free.

4. PlannerBasic or bullet, makes no difference! Just make sure you use one!




  5. Jacket or sweatshirt-This is always great if there’s a cold classroom or you are just cold in general.

6. Portable charger– You will need one for your phone for sure, but an extra charger for your laptop is a good idea as well. You never know what kind of day you will have! Here is a smaller option.

7. Small office supplies–  I asked a number of students what this would include for them. These are the things that they listed. Small stapler, post-its, graphing calculator, tape, pencils and pens.  

8. A small pouch for personal items-Kleenex, hair ties, your favorite pain reliever, feminine products, and gum.

9. Last but not least, an umbrella!-Don’t get caught out in the rain with one. This particular one is windproof, which also comes in handy.

     


This is by no means a complete list of college backpack essentials!

However, when you are planning on your first semester at college or your last semester, the biggest takeaway I have gotten from the students that I spoke with is to be organized and be prepared for a long day. One thing I forgot from this list would be hand sanitizer, (these are cute and clip onto your key ring). Don’t forget it! Backpack Essentials for College:  What You Must Have

Be sure to check out my complete lists for dorm room essentials and college school supplies!

Related posts:

What Tech Items Will My Teen Need in College

What Your Teen Will Need in a Dorm Room

Your Parental Rights Change When Your Teen Turns 18.

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens

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Is Your Teen Headed Back to College?  Strategies for Success

Is Your Teen Headed Back to College? Strategies for Success

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Is your teen headed back to college? Before they leave, sit down and talk with you teen about what their expectations are for the next semester. Do they have any worries? Do they need some different strategies to move forward? Honest conversations and a listening ear might go a long way towards easing their minds.

Going to college is stressful, even under the best of circumstances! Classes, roommates, scheduling time for activities and studying are all considerations. Encourage your teen to think through some strategies for success before they head back to school. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

(As our teens head back during this time of COVID, be sure that you have some of these conversations that you might not otherwise have to think about. Let them know of any plans that might need to be if their campuses are suddenly closed down–what should they do?)

teen heading to college

Get more sleep

There are so many studies pointing to the fact that our teens need an average of 9 hours of sleep. Encourage your teen to have a fairly regular bedtime routine, and they should also know that naps are  a great tool for college survival -they can actually boost their brain health!

Have a working schedule

Note the use of the word “working”. That means that the schedule is a work in progress. Tweaks and adjustments can be made at any time to make it more functional. If something isn’t working, then change it.

As your teen is headed back to college, they need to schedule in plenty of time for studying. If your student has a part-time job, then maybe it needs to be more part time. Keeping track of grades is a great indicator of any adjustments that need to be made.

Weekly dose of parenting encouragement

Study

Have a frank discussion with your teen about your expectations for grades versus the amount of partying that you might be seeing on your teen’s Instagram. If you are paying for their education, then it is all right for you to set the parameters.

Tidy Up

How many of you are addicted to Marie Kondo’s show, Tidying Up? I binge watched the whole first season! Tidiness is not my strength at all. But, I do know that when my space is clear and things have their own place, it is so much more relaxing and comfortable.

Encourage your teens to try to keep their space back in the dorm/apartment fairly clean. It will help with their concentration for studying and with their sleep as well!

I know my boys have enjoyed having their own rooms for the break-space and room to really spread out! Of course, their rooms are complete messes right now, so I will be happy for those rooms to be clean again.







Talk to the roommate

Your teen is headed back to college, so encourage them to have a discussion with their roommate about next semester now. Let your teen know that their roommate may have things that they want to say to them as well. It is a conversation that could relieve a lot of pressure on both sides. Start the conversation with the roommate by asking if there is anything that they would like to be different for the rest of the year or for the upcoming year. Hopefully, that will open up a dialogue. Remind your teen to stay positive, and not accusatory. Try to find compromises for the main things that are bothersome to each roommate. They might even try to write a roommate agreement for this next semester.


Exercise regularly

One more thing for your your teen headed back to college to remember, is that exercise is one of the best stress relievers there is! This is a great thing for them to add to their working schedule, and make a real effort to fit it in at least 3 times a week. Going to the gym is a great place to meet up with friends or to make new friends. They should try different classes, different workout times, and different workouts to see what works best for them. There is no perfect answer, but switching things up is good for their body and makes things more fun, too. Exercise is important as your teen heads back to college!  


Heading back to school should hopefully be better if your teen considers trying even a couple of these strategies. Let them know you are always at the other end of a phone call or text, and that you love them no matter what.

Also remember that these kids will dump their buckets on us, and move on, so don’t take their stress on yourself either. Keep the lines of communication open, and keep encouraging them to take baby steps toward relieving their stress. Every little bit helps!

Do you have any good ideas for student stress relief? Please share this post with a friend, if you think that it would help someone’s child away at college. Remember, you can always pin it for later as well.

Related posts: Backpack Essentials for High School and CollegeWhat Will Your Freshman Actually Need in Their Dorm Room? and 10 Tips For Making a College Care Package, Preparing an Emergency Road Trip Kit for Your Teen.

A wonderful post written by a good friend of mine about going back to school. It has all sorts of links to many teen/college bloggers. Check it out here!

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teen headed back to college

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Stay organized with the necessary information required to apply for colleges, scholarships and future employment.

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