Practical School and College Tips

Keep school supplies together so fall inventory is simple and quick

Keep school supplies together so fall inventory is simple and quick

It’s not too early to begin assembling and assessing your back to school supplies.  To make it easy, create a designated school supply shelf.  At the end of each school year, clean out backpacks, scour desks, playrooms, etc. for any leftover supplies.  Place them on the shelf. 

During the summer, the kids will know where to go if they need paper, writing and drawing implements, etc.  And, before you head out to reload on this year’s school supplies, you can do a quick assessment of what you have vs. what you need to avoid duplication and over purchasing. 

Fortunately, my kiddos are done with K-12 school, yet despite all those years of practice, I have to confess, I never quite mastered whether it was more convenient to pre-purchase school supplies using the school specific lists or wait until school started and dart out as there always seemed to be last minute teacher special requests.


hipaa copy Image by Darko Stojanovic from Pixabay.jpg

I prefer not to repeat my practical tips. However this tip is possibly the MOST important step you can take prior to sending your child off to college. In fact, any young adult 18 and older should have these. For new followers who missed this tip in the past, please read. Additionally, there is some new critical information this year, so read on.

Be sure to have your son or daughter sign a HIPAA release form.   HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).  This gives you rights over your health information, including the right to get a copy of your information, make sure it is correct, ensure your privacy, and stipulate who has access to your medical records.  You may have signed HIPAA documents at your own practitioners' offices.

If your child is 18 or older and becomes sick or injured while away or even if they stay local, you will want to be able to obtain information about their condition, assist with insurance claims, etc.  But when the clock strikes midnight on their 18th birthday, you are no longer privy to any of their health data unless authorized by them. If they are in an accident, contract a severe illness, or injured, by law, medical providers will not release information about their status without expressed consent. Suppose they are unconscious and unable to verbally grant permission, you could be left in the dark as horrifying as that is.

You might think that since your child is still on your health insurance policy that gives you access, not at all. In fact, filing claims and speaking with insurance providers is prohibitively difficult without a HIPAA release.

Upon arrival at campus, it is advisable that they give a HIPAA copy to the school's health clinic to keep on file. Retain a copy for your own records so that you can scan or fax if necessary.

Click here for a link to a sample form.   Your child's campus might have their own release of authorization form to be completed, so check with campus health services. They will likely need a copy of your child's ID to prove their identity.

Image by  Susan Sewert  from  Pixabay

Image by Susan Sewert from Pixabay

Now here is the new information promised, and I will warn you, it is grim so apologies for being a downer, but it is truly worth considering. Advance Directives enable a person’s health care wishes to be carried out in the event the patient is too sick or impaired to do so for themselves. This includes assigning a health care representative to make decisions on their behalf in accordance with directions stated in their Advance Directive. Here is the part that is not fun to contemplate, the Directive allows your adult child to select preferences for end of life care, for situations of permanent unconsciousness, or progressive illnesses to avoid extraordinary suffering. To be honest, this document will be a challenge for you and your child to complete. Take the time to sit down together to discuss what it means and review concerns. My son filled his out this summer. It lingered on his desk for weeks before he was able to confront it, and when he did, I am not sure how much thought he put into it as opposed to just getting it done. He had signed a HIPAA release when he first left for college, but I honestly never considered Advance Directives for a youngster until an estate attorney set me straight. I have no idea why my own attorney had not suggested it for either of my kids.

Fortunately, the Oregon Advance Directive form is not replete with legalese so it is easy to comprehend. Nevertheless, it is difficult to tackle. Regardless, better to have it completed than not. And, if you are thinking, yeah, well my kid is healthy, this is not for me. Consider that we enroll in insurance programs for our health, our property, our lives when times are good to serve as protection when things are not so wonderful.

In an upcoming blog, I will be exploring crucial legal documents with a local future planning attorney to ensure that you are adequately prepared for any unforeseens. So please keep an eye out.

I do wish to elucidate that I am not in any way giving legal advice, just practical guidance. Please confer with your attorney about how best to proceed including selecting forms for your individual needs.

Begin this step for your own peace of mind.

Want less hassle when you arrive on campus? Take advantage of pack and hold services for easy pick up and go.

Want less hassle when you arrive on campus? Take advantage of pack and hold services for easy pick up and go.

Sending a graduate off to college this fall?  If you have not begun preparing, it is time to get down to business.  First, each year I share this #1 tip by clicking here to view information about HIPPA release forms.  Nothing is more important than peace of mind and your child’s well-being. 

Secondly, if your daughter or son chose a school a plane ride away or the car is too small to haul lots of stuff, then take advantage of shopping here and picking up there with pack and hold programs like the one offered by Bed, Bath and Beyond (BBB).  It’s a free service where your student can pick out what they want at a local BBB store, then grab and go at the BBB near campus if one exists.  I did this with my daughter and it was a blessing.  Our dorm move-in time was scheduled for the afternoon, so we picked up our awaiting bundle early in the morning hassle-free.  This is much cheaper and easier than shipping cross- country and no uncertainty about where and when the package will arrive, and who would be there to receive it.  Other services offered include shopping with a college expert and creating a registry to share with friends and family so your child gets just what they need or want.

Before you go overboard on purchases investigate how much space is available in the dorm or apartment, existing storage, policies governing wall hangings, and sharable items roommates are covering.

Download the BBB campus checklist and/or apartment checklist to ensure that daily living necessities are purchased.  Check out their 20% off College Savings Pass every time you shop until December 31, 2019.

No BBB nearby?   Target offers a similar program.  Act now to take advantage of a 15% off savings.

Finally, for complete dorm collections at unbeatable prices and attractive styles, try On Campus Marketing (OCM).  I took this route for my son.  I was hesitant at first, doubtful that the goods would be decent quality for such a reasonable price.  I was pleasantly surprised.  And the package was awaiting us on campus.  For mid $200s, his 27 piece collection included:

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2 extra-long flat sheets
2 extra-long fitted sheets
2 standard pillowcases
2 extra-fluffy machine washable pillows
1 extra-long reversible comforter
1 extra-soft fleece throw
1 extra-long quilted mattress pad
1 extra-long Memory Foam mattress topper
1 extra-long microplush blanket
2 all-cotton bath towels
2 matching cotton hand towels
2 matching cotton wash cloths
2 oversized bath sheets
1 laundry bag
2 underbed storage solutions
1 bedside storage caddy
1 clip fan
1 flexible clip lamp

If the prices don't entice you, keep this in mind:  OCM sends dollars back to your school for campus and housing programs and enriching the college experience.  They also donate to local charities and non-profits, such as United Way, American Red Cross, Women in Need shelters, Humane Society along with other worthy causes.

Happy shopping and an easy college life transition for you and your student.

#Target, #Bedbathandbeyond, #OCM