Is your teen getting ready to head off to college for the first time this fall? Even if not for the first time, seeing your kids off to college can be a stressful and emotional experience, especially when they (and you!) do not know what they could encounter.

Contributed by: Christie Garton

To help ease the stress, here are five things you and your teen need to do before stepping foot on campus! We know summer is just beginning, but it's never too early to prepare.

Discuss time management skills

This is the first time many young people are living in an environment where their academic success rests completely on their shoulders and Mom and Dad aren't there to push them to study. Sit down with your child and assess their time management skills. Do they have a tendency to cram last minute? Take on too many things at once? Put a higher priority on their social life than their studies? Review their strengths and weaknesses and then work with them to design a class schedule that best fits their study habits.

piggy bankSet up a weekly budget

Most students have never had to manage their money without the assistance of Mom or Dad. This is the time to crunch the numbers and really determine what's a luxury and what's a necessity. Issue your child a credit or debit card with a set monthly limit. Review their spending with them on a weekly basis to determine if they're using their money responsibly. Websites like will help your students keep track of their finances for free.

Have "The Talk"

Most parents tend to shy away from talking about sex with their teen, but according to a 2007 Stanford research study, one in four college students has an STD. Researchers noted this was mainly due to the fact that many young adults didn't understand that even when using a condom, they were still at risk. Take time to review this information with your child, or schedule an appointment with their doctor to discuss protective measures, signs and symptoms and treatment options.

Create a health checklist

Have copies of your child's medical and dental records made so they can keep them at school in case of an emergency. This is really important in the instance that your child has a serious condition like a heart murmur or a severe food or medical allergy. Also, research the nearest urgent care locations and look online to determine which pharmacies off-campus offer after-hours service.

School them on the health basics

Sleeping, snacking and safety. Getting enough sleep, eating right and playing it safe are three important factors that can contribute to your child's good health and well-being while away at school. Often, parents don't put enough emphasis on these topics, not realizing they can directly impact their child's personal success.

on Sleep^ Research has proven that lack of sleep can decrease memorization and concentration. This can greatly impact a student's test-taking ability, specifically if they're used to cramming or pulling all-nighters.

on Eating healthy^Proper nutrition is an important part of academic success. Protein-rich snacks like pita and hummus, yogurt and turkey can boost energy, improve concentration and help students retain information while studying.

on Safety^Campus crime and sexual assault is increasing across the country, specifically crimes against women. Does your daughter know how to protect herself? Is she aware of the correlation between binge drinking and rape and assault? Formulating a safety plan before your child heads off to school will help better prepare them for the dangers they may face once they leave the nest. [AllParenting Editor's note: Also talk to your sons about drinking, rape and assault.]

With these five tips and related information in their back pocket, your teen will be ready and able to handle any challenge that may come their way on campus!

More^ Get the scoop on the college experience from women who have been there and done it successfully with U Chic: The College Girl's Guide to Everything from U Chic, the leading brand and resource for college women nationwide!

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