Next week right about this time I'm scheduled to take my son to college. When we visited in May the campus seemed rather intimidating and beautiful but in a Harry Potter sort of way if you know what I mean. The campus you see is huge and green and kept in tip top shape and the architecture is unmistakeably Gothic in style. The place simply breathes history and excellence and starting next Tuesday my son will be spending the next four years of his life in this environment where he will no doubt undergo life changing experiences.
To get ready he had to:
- Apply for his student visa. Luckily we had been through this before when he got accepted to boarding school so we knew the ropes including the payment of the SEVIS fee, the completion of the various application forms, the taking of photographs, the submission of acceptance letter, proof of finances (thank God for financial aid), the waiting in line, the interview and finally return of passport with visa.
- Do his medical. Yes your immunization record has to be up to date and some stuff that you might never have heard of before will be required like mantoux tests. If not you won't be registered. That was quite a headache but after the inoculation and testing and letter writing (for those who wish medical exemption etc) and another bill payment at least there was one bright note with my choice of almonds for the picking.
- Read a ton of stuff. The school sent loads of emails and attachments along with regular snail mail during the summer. There is so much paper once you print and collate everything. There are forms relating to college employment, room assignments, foriegn language placement and course choices. There are cute colorful cards directing you to websites or other wonderful places like laundry agencies or outside stores and where to go when moving in.
- Pay his fee. Nope he didn't. The salary he earned this summer just didn't cut it so that was our job but he has saved his money for the things he plans to pay for like the cell phone and the related bills. Who you're gonna call? ....is what I'd like to know. Somehow I don't think it's me.:)
- Discuss money. Yeah this is a biggie and related to the one above. These days seemingly more than ever budgeting is critical. He won't be getting a credit card but will participate in the debit card thingy at his school and will open a bank account. This will be a good learning experience.
- Buy Small Stuff at Home. One of the benefits of attending boarding school is that you understand pretty quickly how easy it is to buy too much stuff and how storage can become a problem. Since my son went to boarding school in a wintry place, he loved taking tropical posters and other little things to remind him off home. He'll do it again for college. Nothing like having the sun setting over the ocean while it's 10 degrees out. When you are traveling by plane however it can get costly and also dorm rooms aren't that big so it will basically be the small stuff.
- Make a list. For all the other things we will have to do when we get there.