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Conversations for the drive to move-in this weekend

Posted by on Thursday, August 20, 2009 in Advice for Parents, Vanderbilt Safety.

Got a long drive tomorrow for move-in weekend at the commons for first-year students?   It’s not too late to talk about:

-Personal finance – I can’t tell you how many buddies I knew at college that started a life of consumer debt over a table on the quad for the prize of a lousy college t-shirt.  Will he or she have their own checking account for any bills?  Discuss whether he or she will have a job while in school?  My parents were adament that I wouldn’t, but many of my friends did work while in school.  The current research on the matter indicates that working less than 15 hours a week at a part time job has an insignificant negative impact on college GPA.  In fact, there are many educators who hold the belief that working part time (again, less than 15 hours) is better for the student, because it makes them have to better budget their time.  Less time for idleness.  Also, talk about always having money in his or her pocket for a cab ride home – or make sure he or she knows all about the Vanderbilt Cab Cash program, where local cab companies will accept money from a debit card on the Vanderbilt ID Card.  The mistake with this confab is to think this talk is an economics lecture.  This is all about personal responsibility.

-Alcohol – Clearly a topic that hits closer to home, but an important one nonetheless.  Part of tackling an adult life (what college is largely about) is personal choices and owning the consequences for one’s actions.  I think back to something my dad told me before going off to college, “Don’t drink something just because somebody else wants you to; you’re better than that.”  I of course dismissed it at the time because I was 17 and bulletproof.  He didn’t press it then, but I think he knew I heard him.  He was right of course.  Likewise, you know your son or daughter, and he or she will listen to you about alcohol use.  If you’re not sure what to say, Vanderbilt has some helpful tips and advice for first-year parents.

-Make sure they know how much you love them.  Ultimately, it’s your unconditional love and support that means the most and has gotten them this far.

Also, don’t forget about Family Weekend, October 2-4.  Our office is teaming up with the Parent and Family Association for the Vanderbilt Siblings Admissions Breakfast on Friday October 2.  This program attempt to demustify the admissions and financial aid at highly selective institutions (including Vandy of course) for interested parents and siblings of current Vanderbilt students.  The program will be hosted by myself, John Gaines (Director of Admissions) and Doug Christiansen (Dean of Admissions).  Spots are going quick so regsiter now.

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