5 Things to Put in a Welcome Basket for Student Housing [For the Parents]

It’s August, which means the time for commercials for school supplies has officially commenced (and even though many of us have—thankfully—been out of school for some time, this is very depressing. Probably because we are just realizing that we didn’t take any vacation days to go to the beach like we promised ourselves we would. Summer slips by so quickly when you don’t get a mandatory three months off). And college freshman are getting ready to leave the nest and live in student housing—either on campus or off.

And once the housing is picked out or assigned, and everyone is more or less happy with the living situation, wouldn’t it be nice, as the property manager, to provide your important renters with a nice welcome gift? After all, this is a stressful time, and there will probably be tears involved.

Don’t worry, it’s not like you’ll never hear from Junior. He’ll call when he’s out of money.

Seriously, parents never fail to embarrass their kids. (Insert eye roll here.)

Yes, the students are the ones staying in the student housing. But the parents are likely the ones paying. And, especially now that parents are typically more involved in their kids’ lives (ahem, helicopter parents, ahem), and especially if it’s their baby’s first year away from home, they’re going to be nervous.

So here are a few suggestions of things to give the parents when they arrive with their kids to help them set up their dorm rooms or apartments, or, better yet, in advance so that they’re prepared for the big day.

5 Things to Put in a Welcome Basket for Student Housing [For the Parents]

A list of local hotels. Sometimes if the school is far away from home base, or if the school is in a cool college town and people want to relive their glory days and hang out with coeds, the parents will want to drive up and stay for the whole weekend. Make it easy on them by providing a list of local hotels so they can plan their trip in advance.

Coupons to Bed, Bath and Beyond, the campus bookstore, or other local merchants. No matter how early you prepare, and shop and pack, there is going to be something that you forgot. While the parents are up at the school, they can run out and get the cable adapter or comforter or red Solo cups and ping pong balls (for science projects, obviously) that their kids realized they needed when they got to their new space.

A coupon to Shutterfly or other photo-uploading site. Many parents will want to take a lot of pictures of Sam and Matilda on the big day—pictures of them unpacking, the new roommates, family shots, pictures of towers and towers of unopened Ramen, etc. Why not get them a discount on a photo album? This could also be used by the parents to take pictures of things at their home that the kids might miss if they’re homesick, like pictures of Rex and Fido, and that way they can upload the pictures and make something special for the students.

The phone number for the property manager, super, RA, etc. Just in case the parents need to reach you if there’s a problem. However, do this at your own risk. Once Sam and Matilda are making new friends and enjoying college life, they’ll probably communicate a lot less with their parents, which could lead to a lot of panicky calls to you at 2 in the morning because they haven’t heard from Sam and his Facebook status says “To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die,” and you have to explain that that’s just song lyrics. (By the way, why does every college student think he or she is the first person to discover The Smiths? And, on the same note, why don’t college students have better taste in music?)

A chill pill. Like a Xanax or something. Just kidding. But this is a very nerve-racking and exciting time for parents. So maybe a bottle of wine, both for some liquid courage, and so they can toast to their kid’s—and their own—new phase of life.

What are some of your suggestions to give to parents who are dropping their kids off at college at their new dorm or apartment?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit: DEKANARYAS