Parent and Family Tips
When your student calls home with a bad grade, resist the urge to scold them or offer advice about study skills.
Trust your student. They are trying to find themselves while away at college and the best thing you can do is believe in them to make the right decisions and learn from their mistakes.
The best cure for students' homesickness is not to come home, but to get involved in college life, and use the phone and e-mail to stay connected. Encourage your student to be active on and off campus.
There are so many great ways to keep in touch. Text, call, video-conference, social media, etc. - figure out how your student likes to communicate.
The biggest thing that students want from home is encouragement.
Visit, but not too soon or too often. Although they might not admit it, students look forward to a visit from their family. Resist the urge to just drop in.
Don't judge a book by its cover. Your student may be more apprehensive than he/she looks. Touchiness may mask anxiety about all the changes.
Remember that when they come home, they have been on a different sleeping schedule. College students home on vacation often sleep even later in the morning than they did as high school students.
Don't ask your student if he or she is homesick. Most will likely be too busy with activities, meeting new people, and adjusting to college life to realize what they are missing back home.
Don't ignore the small scholarships. Urge your student to apply for as many scholarships as possible. Don't overlook any simply because they're worth only $300 or $500. They add up!
Encourage your student to establish a good relationship with their academic advisor and visit them often. Advisors are there to help students stay on track with their curriculum.
Don't panic when you receive depressing phone calls or letters. When troubles like a flunked test or ended relationship become too much for your student to handle, they will turn to the people they know they can count on. Be a listening ear.
Remember that most students stay up late and try to sleep in as much as possible. Try to not call before noon.
Resist the urge to redecorate your son or daughter's room the first year they are gone to college. It will be a welcome refuge when he or she comes home for holidays.
Expect change. It's natural and inevitable that students will change through their college career. You can't stop it and you may never understand it, but you can accept it.
If you are concerned for your student’s health or safety, call your student's resident advisor if there is a major health or safety issue they need to be aware of.
Emphasize the importance of internships - they provide experience and skills directly related to their major and can lead to a job upon graduation.
Encourage your student to visit the Career Center. Spring semester of freshman year is the best time to start using their services. They can help with internships, resume building, interview skills, and more.
Your student wants to hear from everyone in the family.
Make your campus visits short when you visit. Offer to take a group of their friends out for dinner, but then allow them to attend whatever social function is occurring later in the evening. Plan on a late brunch the next morning.
Expect that your child will need to do multiple loads of laundry when he or she comes home for a visit.
Buy your student a grocery-store gift card. Even with a meal plan, it is nice to buy a few items from the grocery store, too.
Write, even if they don't write back! Even though most won't admit it, students love hearing from family.
Ask questions, but not too many. Your student will like the security of knowing that someone is interested in them, but will resent I-have-the-right-to-know questions.
Don't worry about one upset phone call. The roommate issue that made your student inconsolable at lunch might be solved by supper.
Reassure your student often. Remind him/her of past successes.
Your student will benefit more from compliments than from criticism, particularly during transitions. Encourage your student with kind words and compassion.
College is all about figuring life out. It's okay if your student changes majors - and careers!
Know that when your student comes home on weekends and holidays he or she might want some time to themselves. If, at school, they have a roommate, they may enjoy being in their old room by themselves for a while.
Encourage your student to become involved in campus activities and organizations - it will help improve their academic performance and provide them with skills valued by future employers.
Allow your student to make decisions. Students should follow their own interests and passions. It's okay to make suggestions, but let your student have the final say.
Let your student take more charge of their future. Be a gentle coach.