Parents play an important role in the personal development and academic success of students. We recognize this role does not end once they enter college, regardless of their living situation, past achievements, or year in school. Students and parents typically feel both fear and excitement about the transition to, and navigation through, college. It is important to make a significant effort to keep the lines of support and communication open through the inevitable accomplishments and setbacks that your student is sure to experience.
Here are some ideas that may increase your chances of adding to your son or daughter's college experience in a positive manner:
- Listen with an open mind; they are more likely to share when they feel accepted rather than judged.
- Maintain a supportive relationship; be encouraging and let them know you are there when needed and will offer guidance when asked.
- Understand that college students are learning to be independent and will make mistakes; it is important to allow them the opportunities to navigate this process.
- Set realistic expectations; success in high school does not guarantee success in college.
- Keep in mind that students are much more likely to be successful when following their own interests, rather than yours or anyone else's.
- Be specific about the extent to which you will/will not offer financial assistance, so your daughter/son is clear on this ahead of time.
- Encourage your son/daughter to get involved in the classroom, on campus, and to explore new interests and make new friends.
- Keep the lines of communication open; make arrangements to talk regularly, with input from your daughter/son on the frequency.
- Make use of (or develop) your own support system separate from your son/daughter.
- Remember to take care of yourself as well; pursue your own interests and get involved in your own activities, especially those you may have been putting off.