Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ready..Set...Go...CollegeReady with Sears

It’s nearly time again; time to begin those back-to-school shopping trips. I have three older sons; two have graduated from college and the last one is in his final year. In May I watched my second oldest walk across stage and accept his diploma. Four years of hard work and sacrifice paid off; he’s now a college graduate and is currently setting up house in New Orleans to begin a teaching job with Teach for America.

For all my sons, there was no college slush-fund. Each one of them enrolled with scholarships and student loans. Each of them also held a part-time job while in college to help with expenses. The two oldest left Cleveland to attend different colleges in Chicago where they learned valuable life skills like how to travel on the “L” without getting hopelessly lost, the underwear fairy doesn’t magically put fresh boxers in your drawers while you sleep, and Ramen Noodles can be their own food group. I can’t tell you how many times I received the dreaded “Hey Mom, can you put money into my account?” phone calls these past eight years. Don’t get me wrong, the two oldest boys learned the art of frugality; buying products on sale, learning how to trim their own hair with a pair of scissors, and packing two wash loads into one dryer to save the extra $3.00 to dry two loads. But money is tight when you’re a college student paying for college on your own.

But Sears is making the college experience a little easier on families. Sears CampusReady has reloadable gift cards that you purchase for both you and your college scholar. Parents can load funds onto the gift card online or in the student shop at their local Sears or Kmart stores. Your little Phi Beta Kappa can then spend to their card’s content online, in stores, or by phone. You can only purchase these reloadable cards in stores, but they’re capable of being funded online at any time, a great convenience for busy parents.

Sears also has a Facebook application for parents and students; CampusReady on Facebook. Design your dorm room with the Sears 3D Dorm Designer application and see your room in all it’s glory before you even step foot on campus. Create a wish list with the Sears Gift Getter application and share it with your friends and family; drop the hint and let them know what essentials you’re still lacking for your dream dorm room. Have some fun with the Roommate Match-Up; take the quiz and see what you and your new cohabiter have in common…or don’t. And then be sure to check out and see how Sears can make the college transition a whole lot easier on students and parents.