Write a Letter to Your College-Bound Kid

College-bound kid wearing University of Delaware t-shirt

Katelin is ready for Delaware! Starting college is such an exciting time for new students, but also a bittersweet one for their parents. A letter from home can help!

Write a Heart-felt Letter to Your College-Bound Kid

A Letter is a Great Opportunity to Share Your Best Words of Wisdom & Guidance.

College Drop-off is One of Those “Big Days”

It’s August. College drop off is coming! It’s bound to be one of the most emotional days you and your college-bound kids will experience. This is a “Big Day” and one that’s “Once in a Lifetime”. It’s one of those really-happy-but-it-also-kind-of-hurts emotional days. It might be exhausting and sweaty, too, between getting up early, enduring long drives and traffic, and hauling boxes and bags and suitcases from car to dorm.

At the end of this “Big Day” you may be a tired, sweaty mess of swirling emotions, but ready to impart the Wisdom your kid will need to succeed in this new phase of life. And when the moment comes, you choke up, and they turn towards their new life — without you — and that’s it. Goodbyes are done and before you’re ready, you are in the strangely quieter car heading home. Finally and deeply you understand what everyone meant when they cooed at your baby some 18 years ago and said wistfully, “It goes so fast.”

A college kid and his mom hugging goodbye

College drop off. We all work so hard for this moment, but still have important stuff we want them to know.

Write Your Letter After College Drop-off

But this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. A letter to your Freshman is a treasure for both of you.  It’s your chance to put in writing the important things you meant to say, and the words you want them to hear as they start this new part of life. So grab paper and a pen and let the wisdom flow. Remind them of the most important life lessons you raised them with, include what has helped and guided you in your life, what your hopes and dreams for them are, and what it meant to be their parent. Most importantly, tell them that you believe in them and that they can succeed on their own, without you…because they can, and they will (and remember that it’s all because you did your job so well).

Your College Kid Will Appreciate Your Wisdom (eventually!)

Then put your letter in an envelope with a stamp and write their brand new address on it. When it arrives a week after they start college, the newness of living on campus will be wearing off a little bit. They might even be starting to feel your absence. Text them to check their mailbox. Seeing your handwriting and reading your words will have even more impact when it arrives because, who else writes letters these days? Reading your note might even get you an email, text or phone call in return just to let you know how they’re doing.

Whatever wisdom you decide to you write in a letter to your freshman, remember that it’s “Big Day” important. Your unique, heartfelt message will be remembered always.


A college kid and his mom hug goodbye

College drop off for the second one to fly from our nest. Photo credit: Rich Marcinek

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