Tips for Parents of New College Students
Many parents are currently dropping off their first-year students at college and some will be doing this soon. Parents, this may be the first time you have sent a child off to college. Here are some tips that Wolf College Consulting recommends to parents that have just dropped their son or daughter at college for the first time:
- Do not expect your son/daughter to respond to all of your emails and texts. They are learning about what it means to live independently and they need to learn to make decisions on their own.
- Do not call crying and telling them how much you miss them. Your conversations should be celebrating their growth and college experience.
- Be sure to set up expectations on their return to your home – this includes rules at home, curfew, chores and work expectations.
- Do not give them a bottomless credit card. If you choose to give them any money, set an allowance and allow them to learn to budget and be responsible for their financial actions.
- Keep them in the loop about the cost of their college and make sure they are aware how much you are paying, how much you are lending them and how much they are expected to contribute.
- Get involved with a new activity and go out with your friends. You can take this time to model how to make healthy transitions when life changes.
- If your child runs into a problem at school, give them the tools to get it solved themselves. Do not run to the phone (or to the campus) yourself to solve it. Your student needs to learn to solve problems (including bad roommate problems, incorrect bills, closed course problems, etc). Listen to their problem, but let them know you are confident that they can solve it themselves. Obviously, if your child is in harm, you will need to take action, but if they are not in harm, the student needs to learn to problem solve.
- It’s okay to send care packages – students especially love ones that include homemade food items –like their favorite cake or favorite holiday food.
- Do not ask your son or daughter to come home in the first few months of school. It is recommended that students do not come home in their first year until Thanksgiving. This helps them get connected to the campus and form relationships. When students do come home, tell them to bring their friends from college – college road trips are a great way for students to get connected. When students create friendships in college, they are more likely to succeed academically and graduate.
- Lastly, know that the relationship is going to change. They will want to be treated as an adult, but they still want to know they are loved and they especially want you to be proud of them. When they do something great, let them know that you are proud of them. When they mess-up, remind them that you always love them.