So when I went to uni, in the early 80's (yes, I'm that old), my parents put me on a train and that was that. Bristol being 300 miles from Newcastle, with no convenient ring road round Birmingham at the time, it was a heck of a drive. The train was not much better as I often had to change at Birmingham New Street but at least they didn't have to trek along with me.
Not only did the Ball & Chain drive the 1,000 miles from Chicago to DC with the Queenager when she started, (schlepping her stuff) there's a Parents Weekend at most American colleges about a month after they start. Look at most American college web sites, and there's a special page for parents. There'll also probably be a Parents Office, a Parents Committee or some such body devoted to keeping parents involved. (Bear in mind that American colleges rely very heavily on donations, and you begin to see why they want to keep parents "In the Loop.) Here's the page from Duke University, and here's Yale's Parent Gateway. From what I can gather, British parents aren't expected to be quite that involved.
I admit, I'm being a bit of a helicopter parent at the moment however. The Queenager gets kicked out of her dorm a few days after her finals, meaning that she has to either bring all her stuff back (like bedding, towels etc) or find somewhere to put it. As any former student knows, exam periods can be stressful and exhausting and there's not much time for anything else, including partying.
Enter StudentBoxes (dot com) - an enterprising company which recognised a desperate market when it saw one. They send you a few boxes, which you fill with your stuff, then they pick it up and store it for you till next semester. Trouble is, you have to register with them, figure out how many boxes you might need and their dimensions, book yourself a moving slot (making sure that you have time to pack the boxes before then), and ensure that you still have enough clothes and supplies for the summer.
Enter the parents. It just so happens that the Ball & Chain will be in DC the day before we think her last day is. (Unbelievably we're still not sure as some of the professors decide to assign final papers instead of sit-down exams). He'll be around to make sure that the stuff gets packed. (Let's face it, if it doesn't get packed and gets chucked out instead, I will be spitting feathers.) At this end, I will guestimate when the boxes can be ordered, stick a pin in a calendar to pick a moving date, and make the payment from this end.
I keep asking myself "What would my parents have done?" but the truth is, we had our accommodation lined up before the end of the previous academic year. The downside was that we had to pay for it all through the summer, but at least we could move our stuff straight into it, and not have to worry about storage options.
Not quite apples and apples, as they say over here.