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Other Transition

College Orientation Checklist!

August 26, 2017

So the time has finally come. Can’t wait to start your first year of college?  Well, before your classes get rolling and before you know the ropes, you’ll probably be attending a student orientation. Yippie! Depending on the school, orientation can last anywhere from a day to a whole week.  During orientation, you’ll learn a lot about your new school and your new classmates.

Below is a list of 5 things that you should bring for your orientation.

  1. A pen
    You’ll receive plenty of paperwork during orientation.  When you are taken for tours around campus and if you attend assemblies, your group’s orientation leader may have pamphlets with relevant information to give you.  They can be from places like the academic center, the health center, or even the library. Always listen to what your leader has to say; they are seasoned college students and are trained to know what’s what.  If you keep a pen handy, you can jot down any additional information that you’ll want to remember.  It’s also helpful to write down the times and locations of various orientation events that are being offered, so that you’re sure to stay on schedule.

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Other Safety Transition

Packing for College – Some items Parents Shouldn’t Forget that don’t require any room!

August 8, 2017

Your car and student bags are likely overflowing, but here are a few vital things that college parents should remember that don’t require extra room.

Five additional items that you must not forget:

1) Create a personal file.While getting their belongings together, students should set up a file of key personal information, including a copy of their driver’s license, insurance cards, Social Security card, debit and credit cards and immunization records. Using a digital tool such as Evernote can be a smart idea as it will allow you to have all the information you need at your finger tips and can be easily shared.  A passport or a copy of one also is useful, both for travel and to confirm citizenship if you apply for a job.

2) Complete the FERPA form – before leaving your student at college be sure to discuss your expectations for how you can support their education and how you will be able to help them during a crisis.  Without your student providing permission, you will not have access to their university records.  Most colleges provide a form to complete during orientation or within the student account or you can also use the FERPA authorization form provided through College Parents of America.

3) Purchase at least some Tuition Insurance.  Starting at $29.95 for $2,500 of coverage per term tuition insurance is an affordable way to protect your investment in college.   It is vital to understand your college refund policy.   Most colleges don’t refund money after day 25 – even for illness, injury or disability – so you could be out thousands of dollars.   Tuition insurance may not be something you needed in high school or something you have even heard of, but most students would benefit by having at least a minimum of $5,000 of annual college refund insurance. 

4) Renters Insurance. “Don’t forget that colleges are not likely to replace stolen or damaged property of your student.  In addition, you may or may not have coverage for your student within your homeowner’s insurance policy which normally has limits of coverage including the full-time status of your student and up to 10% of your property coverage.  Expensive items like that new computer may not be fully covered; if you are worried about replacing it, then be sure to purchase renters insurance which costs typically less than fifty cents a day.  For protecting your stuff consider a college specific renters insurance plan such as those offered through GradGuard – which includes worldwide property coverage, replacement level coverage, and personal liability coverage.

5) Health Insurance.  Though you are not likely to forget it, we recommend that college families consider your alternatives when it comes to student health insurance.  See this useful and comprehensive article by The New York Times.   Your first choice is likely going to be your family policy.   If you are looking at buying your campus recommended plan, we suggest comparing the features and benefit levels.  If money is particularly tight and your student is in good health, then it is also possible to consider using a short-term medical plan while relying on the primary care services of the university health center.

Remember, that each of these tasks can be done before actually moving to campus, but purchasing tuition insurance must also be completed prior to the start of classes.   You can not purchase tuition insurance after the start of classes.

Other Transition

8 Things College Freshmen Need To Know (Before School)

August 18, 2016
8 Things College Freshmen Need to Know

Out-of-state or not, living away from home for the first time means adjusting to new responsibilities. From getting along with your roommate to keeping up with classes, you’ll be expected to navigate through experiences and make adjustments to your former lifestyle. Here are eight tips to help you make the best start possible:

Remember: you’re all in the same boat. Despite the obvious cliché, this may be the most accurate way to describe the first week of college. It may feel like you’re completely alone, but it’s important to realize that almost every other freshmen you meet during orientation is probably feeling the same way. Think of it as a way to meet friends more easily.

Attend orientation activities. Don’t write off that day at the beach or trip to the mall as a cheesy get together. You never know where you’ll meet a new friend. And don’t forget, the people you meet at those outings are there for the same reason you are—to meet other students and (hopefully) make new friends!

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Other Transition

The Orientation Events You MUST Attend

August 17, 2016

Albany Medical College - Orientation

Orientation is an exciting time for a student. It is the opportunity to really learn about the college or university you’ll be moving to in the fall. It is also a great chance to explore your surroundings, meet your peers and network with future professors, advisors and mentors. Orientation can absolutely be one of your favorite memories and experiences in college–it’s memorable, thus be sure to capitalize on all it has to offer.

During your orientation period, there are a million different things to see and do. Here are the premiere must-attend events for any freshman:

  • A student panel: If you want to know what it’s really like to be a student in college, be sure to check out a student panel during your time at orientation. Students can be open and honest about their majors, professors and overall college experience thus far. You may get to learn a few things about your campus that you didn’t know. Also, feel free to ask questions during a panel–if you have one, it’s more than likely that someone else in the room has the same question.
  • Tours of your surroundings: During orientation, it’s all about familiarizing yourself with the place you’ll be calling home for the next four years. Forgot to check out the gym? Want to explore the town or city surrounding your university? There’s probably a tour for both. Orientation will make you feel like you know your school as well as you know the back of your hand, especially before all the other students hit campus for the fall semester. Take advantage of the tours–you’ll be thankful you did!
  • Receptions with professors and administrators:  If you have the chance to meet administrators and professors before your first class, definitely do it! Professors and administrators are your biggest fans in college–they teach you, guide you, encourage you and are happy that you for chose their university. If you begin networking with them early in your college career, you may have access to jobs, internships and other connections in the near future. Plus, they make great mentors for when you’re about to declare a major or find a job somewhere down the line. Lastly, they can be a great asset down the road should you need a recommendation letter.
  • Nighttime events for other incoming freshmen: Usually, orientation will consist of academic-focused events like registering for classes, the textbook ordering process and preparing for your major requirements. At night, all of those go away and new students can have fun! If there’s a big orientation party for new freshmen on campus, go! You’ll meet lots of other new students and pick up a lot of free things from your school. You may also be able to visit different clubs and organizations to find out which one is the best fit for you.

College orientation may seem intimidating, but it’s meant to be enjoyable and knowledgeable at the same time. Have fun exploring your campus and meeting new people. GradGuard wishes you all the best in the upcoming year!

Other Student Life

6 Things College Students Should Do To Prepare for the Fall Semester

August 13, 2016
6 things to prepare for the fall semester

The fall semester has arrived. Maybe you don’t want to believe it, but coursework, papers and lectures are becoming a part of your daily life again. What have you done to prepare yourself for the upcoming academic year at college?

If you haven’t put much thought into it, check out this to-do list for returning college students:

Set personal and academic goals

What do you want to accomplish this year? Maybe you’d like to make more friends or be more social. Maybe you’d like to study more and party less. Or try out for a sport or take more advantage of the campus gym. Or perhaps there’s a club you’d like to join. Whatever your goals are, write them down someplace where you’ll be able to reference them often and gauge your progress.

Same with academic goals. Are you aiming for a 4.0? Or do you want to pull your Cs up to Bs? Maybe you’d like to write better papers. Or you’re applying for a prestigious grant and need to work on meeting the requirements. Whatever your goals, keep them written down someplace. Define the steps you’ll need to take to achieve them, be it seeking help at the tutoring lab or asking one of your professors to mentor you through the grant application process.  

Get into a routine

Few things are as shocking to the system as going from totally irresponsible to totally responsible within one day or two. If you’ve been partying all night (or, more likely, watching Netflix all night… ) and sleeping all day, stop. Set a date for the party to end and make it soon. Give yourself some time to start getting serious again. Though college life should also include fun and leisure, the point of it is earning an academic degree and you should be taking your time there seriously, not wasting it.

Start waking up earlier, defining tasks to be done each day and going to bed sooner. Lay off the booze and the socializing. You’ll be glad you came back to school with a calm mind and clear head rather than stumbling onto campus with the summer’s parties still wreaking havoc on your body.  Plan your semester and year.  Welcome the support of your parents and suggest ways they can help keep you on schedule.  


College requires an awful lot of reading. If you haven’t been spending any time reading over the summer, you might want to crack open a few books to get back into the swing of things. If you know what courses you’ll be taking next year, read books that are related to those topics to get ahead on classroom discussions. If you’re not sure what to read, here’s a curated summer reading list for college students from the Washington Post.

Set a budget

College fees and tuition, books, food, entertainment can all put a strain on your budget. If you’re a returning student, you should have a good idea how much money you spent the previous year. Take a look at areas where you could save or, if money is an issue, consider getting a part-time job while in school to supplement your spending. Most colleges have a job board posted in the student lounge, library or counseling centers. Make sure you have your financial situation sorted out before returning to college, so you can be the first in line for highly coveted on-campus jobs.

Protect your stuff – even things from home

Be careful with your expensive property.  Your backpack can be filled with thousands of dollars of electronics and books.  Easily resold by thefts that are looking for an easy buck.   Be sure to get a renters insurance policy that is designed for students – a low deductible plan that offers real coverage for your property and personal liability such as the one offered through GradGuard can really be helpful.   Better than expensive stuff – bring to campus framed photographs of friends and family, a tupperware of your mother’s cookies, your high school yearbook or some other memorabilia. Even though you have your friends at school, sometimes it can be hard to be away from home. Bring something with you that will help when you miss your friends and family.

Consider your health and habits

Student health issues are real.  The stress of living on your own and being in an active community can expose students to illnesses and injuries that can disrupt your education.  Take a moment to consider what will happen if you are forced to withdraw from school mid-semester.  Most times, schools will not provide 100% refund of your tuition so you could be risking thousands of dollars of tuition and fees.  If you can’t afford the cost of an extra semester be sure to have your families purchase tuition insurance.  Tuition insurance has to be purchased before classes begin but is often an affordable way to protect yourself and your education.  In addition, watch your habits. If you’re spending a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or Whatsapp, then chances are you’re going to have a hard time breaking that habit when classes start. Start to set time limits for yourself in the weeks before school starts. If it’s hard for you to stick to it, then you know it’s a problem. Check out this article on how to kick your social media addiction.


Cari Bennette is a blogger and ghost writer and contributed to the original article in 2015.  She works at custom writing service and shares her advice on academic writing, grammar and editing. Cari loves to blog about education and college life, follow her on Twitter.