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We understand that as a parent you have questions about your daughter’s or son’s education. We hope that by providing the information on this page we can ease some of the concerns you might have.
Beginning a new academic year can be a stressful and confusing process. Whether you are a parent, legal guardian, grandparent, spouse, partner, aunt, uncle or just a friend, you want the best for your student. We hope that you will have a clear understanding of our expectations for your student and the many programs and services designed to ensure their success.
Parent’s Guide to Letting Go
Getting a college education means acquiring knowledge and gaining additional skills. However, it’s also about exploring new ideas and opportunities in life. That additional freedom also means increased responsibility for the student. It can take a lot of self-discipline to go to class every day when so many other opportunities abound.
Coping with these new ideas and opportunities is not always easy. For most students, college is neither harder nor easier than high school. It’s just different. The same holds true for their parents.
The hardest part is often “letting go”. College is part of a student’s search for maturity and self-identity. Parents or guardians need to change their style of parenting with their college-age students. Although students still need love and support, the parental figures in their lives need to become a little less involved.
College is a time of transition. There is no way to move through such a transition without feeling some sense of excitement and loss. The excitement is easy to handle. The sense of loss or dislocation is less so… especially for parents. Students often seem different after they’ve been in college for a while. There may be changes in eating and sleeping habits, hair styles, how they see themselves, and how they interact with the rest of the family.
The key is to be prepared for these changes. Don’t make snap judgments on the quality or character of the differences. They may change again and again. Try to appreciate your student’s view of the world is expanding.
The following can help you successfully “let go” as your student goes to college:
- Build an adult relationship with your student with phone calls, e-mails, letters, and care packages. Let the student control the timing of these interactions to help maintain that sense of freedom.
- Don’t feel guilty if you adjust to your student being in college before other parents do. Everyone is different. Each parent makes the adjustment in his or her own time.
- Work to keep your emotions under wraps. If you burst into tears every time you speak to your college student, he or she may feel even worse about being in school and may stop talking to you altogether.
- Try not to focus conversations on problems or uncertainties you’re facing in your life. Help your student focus on his or her new goals or activities.
- Limit any other major changes in your life for now. Sending your student to college is enough of a shock. Changing jobs or moving to a new house could send everyone over the edge.
5 Ways You Help Your Student Succeed
- Encourage your student to stay informed of policies, procedures, upcoming deadlines, and events regarding academic and co-curricular activities.
- Listen to student concerns and encourage them to contact appropriate college personnel, in a timely manner, to address academic and co-curricular concerns and to request assistance.
- Encourage your student to read and respond, as appropriate and in a timely manner, to all forms of communication from the college and its personnel, including e-mail, voice messages, printed letters distributed via campus mail, etc.
- Encourage your student to take advantage of all of the services and resources provided for their success.
- Support your student by expecting them to accept responsibility for their actions and progress.