What can you do to support your student as they begin college?

  • Be a good listener.
  • Keep an open mind — your student is learning to be an independent person.
  • Stay in touch with your student and talk openly about how often they'd like to check-in with you.
  • Remember that ideas about choice of major may change, especially in the first year.
  • Encourage your student to get involved in something outside of class and make use of support services on campus.
  • Remember that your student will sometimes feel like an adult and will not want your guidance and at other times may turn to you for support and direction. Think of yourself as a stable home base.
  • Think of your role as a "consultant" as your student is learning how to make independent decisions.
  • Gently but firmly set limits. It is usually not helpful for new students to return home every weekend or to talk on the phone with you for hours every day. Set up a reasonable schedule for phone calls and home visits.
  • Remember that your dreams for your student may not be their dreams.
  • Talk with your student about money management and academic goals.
  • Understand that even very bright and hard-working students sometimes struggle academically when they get to college.
  • Talk about the use of alcohol and other drugs.
  • Make the most of visits home — spend time together, do things together and talk openly about your changing relationship.