Graduation and prom are over, Beach Week is just a Facebook memory and soon —too soon for many of us— you’ll load up your child and half her belongings and head for the dorm. For the freshman in your family, it’s a big step toward becoming a fully independent person. But for parents, it’s a heart-wrenching rite of passage to help usher our “babies” into adulthood. While you’ve probably figured out meal plans and written those first painful tuition checks, nothing quite prepares you for saying goodbye and leaving your child at her new dormitory, far from home. So here are just a few hints to smooth the process, for all of you.

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