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Dorm Crafts: A First Aid Kit

Saturday May 31, 2014

First aid kitEvery dorm room needs a good first aid kit, stocked with ibuprofen, bandages, antibiotic ointment and such. So this summer is the perfect time to put one together. You can find them ready-made, of course, or simply fill a plastic box with all those things. But make it this crafty DIY version and it will not only look great, it sports all those critical First Aid 101 factlets on the outside - from how to treat a cut to when to call 911.

Health Insurance: University or Private?

Saturday May 31, 2014

DoctorsProwl through your kid's university paperwork this summer and you'll encounter a health insurance waiver. If your family has good health insurance, you may be tempted to put an X in the we-don't-need-campus-insurance checkbox and send it back. But before you do, here are a few insurance-y things to consider, especially if your child is going to school out of state.

Your college kid - or about-to-be freshman - may be covered,  but your employer chose your company's health insurance options based on what was convenient for company employees, not their offspring. The Blue Cross or Kaiser or whatever policy that works at home may not cover anything except emergency room visits when your kid is seeking healthcare in Kalamazoo or Bozeman or Miami. (And that's not all. Check out the link above for more issues - and solutions.)

Shots, Dots & Campus Health Paperwork

Friday May 30, 2014

Doctor's bagIf you've got a freshman-to-be heading off to college next fall, this is the time to make a doctor's appointment for him. (Actually, it's best to have him make his own appointment, but reminders will help.) That annual visit is a good idea anyway, but this particular visit is essential.

Some universities have TB screening requirements with time restrictions -- as in, get it done by X date or your kid can't register for classes. Your child may already have gotten his or her meningitis vaccine, but there's a chance he needs additional immunizations. And then there are the forms: The campus health center requires a sheaf of paperwork that covers medical history, vaccinations and other background.

Read through the paperwork carefully, fill out anything that you can and flag each portion that requires the doc's attention. He or she may need to sign and initial in multiple places, for example, and it's frustrating for everyone to have to go back just to get that errant autograph halfway down page 3.

Dorm Debris & Summer Storage

Friday May 30, 2014

Moving dayI suspect there is some little-known law of physics that says that a college kid's possessions will double over the  course of the school year, so that what fit in the back of the SUV last fall, now requires a second car. Or some serious boxing and strapping onto the roof of the car. And once you get it all home, it will continue to grow, until any hope you ever had of seeing your living room floor again or reclaiming your garage is doomed - at least until next fall.

Fortunately, there are a few summer storage options to consider on-campus, off-campus and in what sounds like a mysterious undisclosed location.


Graduation Gifts: Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday May 29, 2014

Kurt Vonnegut BookIf all those graduation speeches are beginning to sound a bit cloying, check out the kind of stuff novelist Kurt Vonnegut told new grads. The new "If This Isn't Nice, What Is?" (Rosetta Books, 2014) is a collection of his commencement speeches, edited by Dan Wakesfield. They're witty, brilliant and the exact opposite of cloying, whether he's referring to graduation as a "long-delayed puberty ceremony," delivering a sharp commentary on politics or the state of the world, or urging new graduates to remember to notice moments of happiness and tell themselves, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'"

It's a good book to add to your list of great graduation gift ideas - or to read for yourself.

Five Great College Parenting Books

Thursday May 29, 2014

30big.jpgThose "what to expect when you're expecting" and "terrible twos" books are a dime a dozen, but when the kids hit 18, forget about it. Your parenting job has just changed dramatically - and will continue to evolve over the next decade - but the number of Dr. Spocks for our demographic is few and far between.

Fortunately, that self-help bookshelf is not entirely bare. From Sally Koslow's "Slouching Toward Adulthood" to Jeremy Jensen Arnett and Elizsabeth Fishel's new-in-paperback "Getting to 30" (the hardcover version was "When Will My Grown-Up Kid Grow Up?"), here are five of the newest and best of the bunch.

Best Graduation Speeches of 2014

Monday May 26, 2014


We've all sat through boring commencement speeches - the type filled with cliches or recollections of the speaker's own graduation ceremony and zzzz. But these five speeches - all from the 2014 commencement season - are winners, from Ed Helms' exhortations to "be a fool"; to "Frozen" director Jennifer Lee's stories of bullies, self-doubt and redemption; and NFL quarterback Alex Smith's witty, wise and inspirational talk about boos, applause and life lessons.

5 Ways to Cut College Tour Costs

Saturday April 19, 2014

college admissionsHeading out on the college tour circuit? Did you know many hotels in college towns offer discounts for families visiting those universities? Here's how to score the price break, plus four more ways to trim costs as you look at schools (or grad schools) with your child.

Graduation Ceremony Survival

Monday April 14, 2014

GraduationIf you've got a high school or college graduation ceremony coming up, it's time to start thinking about packing that survival bag. Sitting in the glorious sunshine for a few minutes is a lovely thing. Sitting under that blazing orb for four hours is a recipe for pomp, circumstance, sunburn and heatstroke. So here's what to pack - sunscreen, of course, but also these nine sanity savers. Plus, perhaps a graduation bingo board or two.

The Lowdown on Dorm Options

Saturday April 12, 2014

Dorm move-inAs parents, we obsess over those housing forms - is it better for junior to opt for a double in the freshman wing or a suite on the special interests floor, the Triton dining package or the basic-plus? And what the heck is a gender-neutral room? Wait... does that mean co-ed by room?

This is the month when housing decisions must be made. Here's the lowdown on what all those options mean. And if your recently-admitted-freshman-to-be hasn't received a housing application yet, tell him to check his university e-mail account. Yes, he has one and it's brimming with vital information and a housing application with a looming deadline.

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