13 Things to Do with Friends Before Leaving for College

  • 01 of 13

    Take a Good Group Photo

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    There may be hundreds of pictures of your young adult and her friends, but getting everyone together for a group shot is something she will always be happy she did. Unlike photos from events like prom, homecoming, graduation or other special days, having a picture in which everyone looks just like they usually do - not dressed up or in costume - will be a priceless memento. Have one printed and framed for each person in the photo as a going-away to college gift.  A great goal is to get the group...MORE back together for another group photo after college graduation.

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  • 02 of 13

    Share a Binge Watch

    group of teens watching tv

     If everyone can commit to one evening a week together for the summer, your young adults who are off to college should choose a show to binge watch together that no one has seen before. Parents, you can suggest some of the oldies but goodies that are available, like The Mary Tyler Moore Show or Hill Street Blues. Watching from start to finish will be a fun way to experience a new show, and will create more memories.

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  • 03 of 13

    Get in Tip Top Shape


     Everyone has heard of the dreaded freshman 15, so getting in great shape before leaving for college can help your student fight the battle early on. Encouraging each other to make it to the gym, go for a run or take a yoga class is a nice way to stay connected and can continue once everyone leaves for school via apps and texts. Feeling good and looking good are both terrific ways to start off in college.

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  • 04 of 13

    Have a Dinner Party


     Ordering pizza is fine for most get togethers, but how about a good old-fashioned dinner party? With thousands of ideas on Pinterest, it can be fun to create a centerpiece, put together table settings, plan a meal and cook it - with some help from mom and dad, if needed. Potluck is great too. Ask everyone to dress a little nicer than usual, create a dinner party playlist and then enjoy.

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  • 05 of 13

    See Movies in the Theater

    teens at the movies

     It's really easy to order a movie on demand or from Netflix or Hulu, but for summer movies it's usually a lot more fun to go to the theater and watch, especially in 3-D or IMax. Your young adult and her friends should pick a couple of the big blockbuster movies and promise each other that they'll see the as a group. If funds are tight, buying discount tickets at a warehouse store or online can help. 

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  • 06 of 13

    Go to a Summer County Fair

    county fair

     Hot summer days at a county fair - what's more fun than that?  Your young adult should round up her group and head off for a day of farm animals, carnival games, giant turkey legs and deep fried Twinkies. There's no shame in people watching at a fair, and if you walk around enough, the calories don't count - as much. 

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  • 07 of 13

    Make Collages


    While it may seem really old-school to your young adult at first, making a collage - using magazines, photos, glue and scissors - is a fun way to spend a really hot - or really rainy - summer afternoon. Have everyone draw a name from a bowl and make a collage for the person who's name they pick, then sit back and watch as young adults become creative and excited about making a special gift for one of their favorite people.  

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  • 08 of 13

    Go on a Road Trip

    young adults road trip

     A road trip is a rite of passage for every young adult - getting in the car and driving off to someplace hours away, music blaring, windows rolled down. If your young adult asks about a road trip, don't say no. You may be scared of the idea of a bunch of young people driving off on a long distance trip, but in just a few months those young people will be freshmen in college, and they need to spread their wings before they go. As long as they have roadside assistance cards or contacts and a...MORE credit card in case of emergency, they'll be fine. 

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  • 09 of 13

    Go to a Great Concert


     It doesn't matter how good the seats are, going to see a musician or group that they love - together - and singing along to their favorite songs is an unforgettable way to share an evening before leaving for college. Bonus points if it's an outdoor concert and they can see the stars above. Music is one of the most powerful ways to evoke memories, and especially the music from high school. 

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  • 10 of 13

    Make a Time Capsule


    Have each friend bring one item that represents their high school experience. Put them all in a box, tape it shut, and have one of the parents hold on to it for safe keeping. In ten years, or even twenty, the group can gather to open the box and be reminded of their special times together. 

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  • 11 of 13

    Have a Sleepover

    group of teens having fun

     Whether coed or single sex, a sleepover before heading off to college is a must. Unroll the sleeping bags and snuggle up for a night of reminiscing, junk food eating, a few tears and lots of laughter. Parents, go to your room and stay there - let your young adults be together like they are little kids again once more before they head off in different directions. Don't complain about the mess - in a short time, you'll miss all the commotion.

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  • 12 of 13

    Watch the Sun Come Up

    watching the sunrise

    In the early morning when the sun is rising, there is a sense of new beginnings and possibility. Watching the sun come up - whether on a beach or in a backyard - can be a poignant and special moment for friends to share as they begin their college careers. Afterwards, going to a favorite spot for breakfast is always a good idea.  

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  • 13 of 13

    Watch the Sun Go Down


     Saying farewell to old friends is one of the most difficult parts of leaving home for college. Sharing a sunset together is a symbolic and beautiful way to say goodbye right before leaving home. A beach bonfire after the sun goes down is a good idea, as well. Roast some s'mores, talk about the past few years and look ahead to what's to come.