College Transition Guide

Students entering on-campus college life for the first time is a very exciting time and marks a child’s first step into a bigger world. While the experience might be exciting, it comes with some early challenges. We have six tips to help keep your students from becoming overwhelmed.

Plan Your Move In Advance

Move-in day at any campus is a busy affair, so consider planning ahead well in advance.

  • Find out what the move-in date is as early as you can.

  • If you need to rent a trailer or vehicle to move furniture, you could save money by booking a reservation far in advance rather than waiting until move-in week when demand is at a peak.

  • If the campus is near enough to visit, scout out the dorms, parking situation, routes in and out that you may have to navigate with a large truck or trailer.

  • If an in-person scouting trip isn’t possible, make use of Google maps street view to virtually “crawl” the campus.

Handling Independence

Going away to school gives many students the chance to be mostly independent for the first time.

  • Teach them the importance of learning to manage their time and keep their priorities in check and clear.

  • To help stay organized, try using a cloud-based calendar app that you can share with your student.

  • They need to learn how to stay on track by themselves, but by periodically checking on them, you can help them stay accountable.

  • Help them understand how to find and track important dates in a syllabus and stay on deadline. These can become good habits for the rest of their lives.

Have a Financial Backup

Unexpected things happen that may require a financial “Plan B.”

  • Make sure your college student has their own BancorpSouth bank account, and that they have the login and password well-memorized so they can access it easily and quickly by tablet, computer or phone.

  • Cards can be damaged or misplaced. It’s always good to have a backup second form of payment, whether that’s mobile wallet, a second debit card, or perhaps a credit card. If you need to set up a bank account for your student, we can help you with that.


Students won’t spend ALL their time in the dorm and classroom. They’re going to need to get around.

  • Many larger campuses have their own bus system. Sit down together with your youth and look online for information about public transportation and, if available, familiarize them with routes.

  • If there are maps and information, have them bookmark or download it into their phone, so it’s always handy.

  • If they will have their own car, take a second look at your insurance needs and make sure the deductibles and coverage are adequate.

  • Consider signing up for a service that provides roadside assistance. Many insurance companies offer roadside assistance as an add-on at affordable rates. Ask yours about possible services.


One of the most infamous expenses for higher education is textbook costs. Fortunately, there are ways to save money.

  • Some colleges and universities include textbooks and course material in the cost of tuition. Find out if your school does for any of the classes.

  • Buying used books can knock a significant amount off the cost. However, if a class requires the latest edition of a book, this option may not be possible.

  • Book rental is another option if you don’t want to pay full price for a text you’re likely only to use once.

  • Digital books can sometimes be cheaper than their hardback counterparts, and digital book rental is also an option.

  • If you are friends with a classmate or your roommate shares some classes, consider splitting the cost of a single book that two of you can share. Whichever route you choose, make sure you’ve got a plan for how to cover the cost of books.

Meal Plans

Most universities offer meal plans. These plans give you several meals per week at a fixed cost.

  • Meal expenses may or may not come out of your financial aid package if you have one, so budget accordingly.

  • Some plans have flex spending options to add additional meals. This might allow you to save money dining out.

  • The most important tip is to make sure you use up all your meals by the end of the semester, as meal plan balances tend not to carry over their credits into the next period. Use it or lose it!

By planning out the beginning of college with your first-time students far in advance, you can help them have a more successful transition. Make sure to have the MyBXS mobile app on their smartphone and set up easy transfers from your account to theirs in your online and mobile banking. If you need to sign your student up for a bank account, check out My Way Checking for Students to get started.