Advice for Parents of New College Students
The transition from high school to college can be difficult for both students and parents. Family who understand the unique challenges of a commuter student can help make their college experience better overall. You got them this far. Here are some tips we have collected to help make your child’s transition a smooth one.
How to Support Your New College Student
Acknowledge the Commute
Recognize the time your student spends waiting for a bus, riding to school, driving, or finding parking. Scheduling a checkup on the car at a mechanic’s shop or providing a healthy snack for their commute are acts that can help ensure a smooth commute for your student.
Acknowledge Your Student’s Commitment to Academics
By talking about changes in family chores and granting more flexibility for household responsibilities, you will let your student know that you understand and respect that their college work should be their number one priority.
Be Aware of Stressful Times
Mark the important dates and deadlines related to your student on your calendar. Not to remind them, but rather to help parents remember that exam time can be a difficult period for students. Little things such as chores, providing snacks, or filling up their gas tank are valued gifts during these more challenging times.
Encourage Your Student to Stay on Campus
Staying on campus and engaging with the community between classes will help your student feel like a valued member of the community. The University holds many athletic, wellness, and other student events.
Designate a ‘study’ or ‘quiet’ Space at Home
Students often find that they struggle with doing homework at home. Providing a quiet, clean space where they know they have uninterrupted time can help your student focus and create boundaries where they can consider themselves a “student first.”
Encourage Them to Get to Know Their Professors and Attend Office Hours
Connecting with their professors supports their feeling of being integrated and successful in their college experience.
Commuter Students Need Support, Too
Even if your student still lives at home, it’s important to give them the freedom that you would if you had dropped them and their suitcases off in a residence hall. They have earned the right to spread their wings, even if they are returning to the “nest” at night.