In preparing this article, we interviewed several parents or families who have students attending college for the first time and families who have students who have graduated from a four-year university or college. We hope that you will find their collective wisdom helpful.
Get Involved In Campus Life
There are many on-campus events and activities for your student. Resident Assistants (RAs) plan activities in each building and promote student participation in larger campus events. Participation helps promote a sense of belonging, will help your student meet other students, and learn new things. Students who are involved in campus life report being more satisfied with their college experience. Ask your student if they are attending any events and activities.
Empower Your Student To Use Campus Resources
There are many offices and people who are here to help students. Encourage your student to use campus resources such as the Dean of Students Office, Counseling and Health, Academic Advising, and the Office of Residence Life, just to name a few. Contact information can be found on the University’s web site using the directory.
Help Your Students Develop a Budget
For many students, this may be a “first”. Discuss developing a budget with your student and, if possible, assist them in doing so. Expenses such as food, supplemental educational materials, personal items, entertainment, and other miscellaneous expenses were at the top of our list.
Sending a Student to College Is An Adjustment for Families
All of the parents we interviewed mentioned this adjustment and many of us under-estimated the sense of “loss” they felt when sending a student to college for the first time. On the positive side, this is a wonderful growth experience for parents and students.
Discuss How Often You Will Talk With Your Student & How You Will Stay In Touch
One of our “parents” suggested using FaceTime or Skype to communicate because you can notice non-verbal as well as verbal cues to how your student is doing. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear from your student as often as you would like. This is most likely a good sign that they are adjusting to college, meeting friends, and getting involved in campus life. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to reach out to your student if you haven’t heard from them in a while.
Anticipate What Coming Back Home Will Be Like For Your Student
Things may not feel the same for your student when they come home. Friends may change, therefore meeting new friends at college is very important. Several of our parents also recommended leaving their bedroom as is, so they have a comfortable and familiar place to return home. You may want to discuss which “house rules” apply now that your student is a young adult.
Send a Care Package
Students love getting packages from home. Send a care package with snacks, an encouraging note, and other useful items.
Ask About Roommates
Having a roommate is most often one of the best and most positive experiences a student can have while away at college. For some students it can also a challenging experience. Ask your student about their roommate relationships. Offer tips and advice about adjusting to a new roommate.
Encourage Your Students To Use Faculty Office Hours
Faculty have scheduled office hours which are available for student visits and questions about assignments, course content, and just establishing a positive relationship with faculty and instructors.
We Are Here To Help!
You may contact the Office of Residence Life, (920) 465-2040, email@example.com with questions. Although we are not able to share private information, a question you can ask is “If a student is in need of help regarding an issue, what would you recommend they do? You can also use AskGB Housing available on our web site to ask questions and get answers.