Sending your first child to college is a big deal. So here’s our best advice about what not to do during your student’s first year on campus.
1. YOU'RE THE PARENT. BE THE PARENT.
What not to do: Above all else remember that you’re the parent and he/she is your child.
What you need to remember: Your child is your child; that’s not going to change. However, your child most likely will change. College students are in a formative part of their lives, and it’s their first time living away from home for an extended period. Expect your child to grow, and he or she may seem different that first time they come back home.
2. IF SOMETHING IS WRONG, FIX IT.
What not to do: If your child has an issue during the semester, make phone calls, send emails, tweet, and get the attention of the right people to fix your child’s problem.
What you need to remember: We are here for your student. If your student has an issue, encourage him or her to utilize the resources provided on campus. When your student has trouble with his or her roommate, encourage him or her to talk to the roommate, and if the issue persists, with the RA. Remind your student that his or her RA is also a great resource. If your child is having trouble in a class, encourage him or her to talk to professors during office hours.
3. THEY’RE IN COLLEGE. EXPECT GOOD GRADES. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.
What not to think: College is the world of higher education. Your child is here to study and learn all that there is to know. Constantly remind your student not to waste time playing games and goofing off with friends.
What you need to remember: College academia is a different ball game than high school was. Your child may have a rougher start to the semester than either of you expect. Don’t be surprised if it takes some time before your student fully makes the adjustment to college academics. Be patient and supportive of your child as he or she gets used to college. And remember that life outside of the classroom is just as important as what they’re learning inside.
4. MAKE FRIENDS FOR YOUR CHILD.
What not to do: Meet as many potential friends for your child when you help your child move in. Introduce your child to all his or her new friends.
What you need to remember: Your child will make friends even if he or she is on the shyer side of social interaction. Between Link groups, classes, and suitemates, your student will be introduced to several fellow incoming students. In addition, there are peer mentors, RAs, and SGA members—all student leaders—whose personal mission it is to help freshmen become active members of the student body.
5. PLAN OUT THAT GOODBYE SPEECH.
What not to do: You’re getting ready for move-in day. It’s going to be the last time you see your child until he or she comes home the first weekend. Make sure to write down the 13-page speech you’ve been forming in your head all summer. This is your moment to impart all the final things your child needs to know before beginning his or her college career.
What you need to remember: Move-in day is an emotional day for both you and your student. Use those last moments to tell your child that you’re proud of him or her, that you love him or her, and that you really believe in him or her. Those words will leave a great lasting impression on your child as he or she begins the semester.