Mason Family Flash

Important conversations to have with your student

Communication is key to better relationships. You and your student are about to begin a new chapter in your lives and it helps if you are on the same page.  It is important to have a conversation that everyone is willing to participate in. The intention should be to listen to everyone respectfully even if they don’t agree.

The George Mason Parent and Family Council have a list of questions you may want to talk with your student about before they arrive at Mason:

  • Does your student want to go to college?
  • What is your student expecting to get out of college?
  • What does your student want to do in college?
    • Study abroad? Internship? Meet lifelong friends?
  • What if your student wants to switch majors and add another year?
  • What if your student wants to leave school?
    • Would they finish the semester or the year?
  • What are communication expectations?
    • Call once a week? Text Daily?
  • Does parent(s)/family members(s) have a tracker on your phone? What is the agreement for college?
  • What is the expectation for school breaks? Family time or catching up with friends?
  • You will miss family events and maybe vacations – how does your student feel about that?
  • What happens if there is a death in the family/pets, how does your student want to be notified?
  • Can parent(s)/family member(s) be aware of your schedule?
  • Can parent(s)/family member(s) have phone numbers of your new friends?
  • What are alcohol expectations of your family?
  • What are boyfriend/girlfriend expectations of your family?
  • Are parents forth coming about their own college experiences and success/mistakes they made?
  • Will your student complete a FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) form?
    • A federal law that prevents Mason from releasing certain information from a student’s record without their consent.

Insurance Questions

  • Do you understand how your healthcare works with your student on campus?
    • Does your student understand the healthcare they are on and how to use it?
    • Network vs. Out-Of-Network
    • Accidents/flu/general doctor visits happen at college
  • Scheduling doctor’s appointments before leaving
    • Work their appointments around days when your student is home
      • Dentist – every 6 months / General Practitioner – once a year
  • Call your insurance agent for specifics on homeowners and how that applies to your student’s belongings
    • Purchase a separate policy for student laptop – for theft/break (they get stepped on a lot)

What’s in Your Wallet (Do this every year):

  • Photocopy (front and back) all important information your student stores in their wallet in case it gets lost or stolen
  • Make two copies for you and your student
  • If student is taking their passport to college, photocopy it and store in a safe location

Legalities to discuss if your student is 18 or older

  • Do you have the necessary legal forms completed for them?
    • If you are unclear what forms to use, call your local estate attorney
  • There are websites available for free legal advice
  • Discuss organ donor and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders
  • Have your student write down all social media accounts and passwords and store in a sealed envelope. It is not to be opened unless in an emergency.
  • If the parent(s)/family member(s) are co-signing loans, do they fully understand their responsibility?
    • Outstanding student loan debt from your student may jeopardize your retirement
    • If your student dies before debt is paid off, will you be in a financial position to complete the loan payoff?

Parent and Family Council
George Mason University

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