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College Countdown Checklist for Students and Parents

​The countdown to college is on! The summer before college is a busy and exciting time for students and parents alike. To help your family prepare, here are some important steps to take before college begins:

Complete all paperwork

Check that all documents and forms are sent to the college on time. Examples include official high school transcripts, test scores, housing and meal plan applications, as well as medical and immunization records. Many schools require new students to get a health check-up, so be sure to schedule any necessary appointments this summer.

Shop smarter for dorm supplies

When shopping for dorm room supplies, try to stick to the essentials. Sheets, towels, shower shoes, toiletries and plastic storage containers are dorm room must-haves. On the other hand, trendy dorm décor is more of a “nice-to-have." Save money and add personalization with DIY artwork, framed photos or string lights.

Buy or borrow textbooks

Textbooks can be a big college expense, but you have options! To save money, buy or rent used textbooks instead of buying brand new ones. Check for gently-used books online or at your college's bookstore and compare costs. Remember to take good care of your textbooks so you can resell them or return rentals without a fine.

Have the “money talk"

It's a smart idea for families to discuss college costs and expectations before move-in day. Take time to review all sources of college funding. This may include financial aid, scholarships, grants and federal and private student loans. Make sure everyone understands the loan terms and who is responsible for payments when they come due.

Parents can also use this opportunity to explain the basics of budgeting and responsible credit card use. Students may think about getting a part-time job to help with expenses and earn extra spending money. Once at school, students can use Wright-Patt Credit Union's (WPCU) free Money Management tool to track their spending and stay within a budget.

Another good idea is to keep in touch with the financial aid office over the summer. If your family's financial situation has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, consider filing a financial aid appeal. Every school is different, but some may be able to provide additional financial support.

Start college on the right financial track with WPCU

If you have questions about paying for college, WPCU is here to help! We're proud to offer our members free access to Edmit's college planning tools, which include:

  • Personalized Advice: Decision support tools and a human touch to help navigate this major financial decision
  • Learning Center: Extensive guides, lists and resources related to paying for college
  • Software: Personalized aid and scholarship estimates, calculators and college scholarship search

Between our smart student loan choices and this new tool, WPCU is here to help you and your family make the best decisions when it comes to paying for college. Visit to check out this helpful resource today.