Your role as a parent has changed. While in the past you have made many decisions and been responsible for your student, it is time to trust in how you have raised your student.
College age students face several crucial human development stages. Educational researcher, Dr. Alan Brower, identified 7 important life challenges that college freshmen must meet and overcome in order to progress toward maturity and prepare to lead a fulfilling professional and personal life after graduation:
- Being on one’s own away from family and friends to develop confidence and comfort with independence.
- Establishing a personal and professional (career related) identity.
- Making new friends and finding a status and a place within chosen peer groups.
- Getting good grades. This means making the transition from high school level study skills to college level study skills.
- Establishing future goals. This includes identifying short-term and long-term academic, personal, and professional goals to maintain motivation.
- Managing time. Most students come from situations where many decisions related to time in education and home life are made for them. In college, they are suddenly responsible for making nearly 100% of time-related decisions. Organizing the proper amount of time to do the job of learning at the college level is equivalent to a full-time job.
- Maintain the physical self. This includes scheduling to get the proper amount of sleep, proper diet, and regular exercise. There is a strong correlation between these three activities and academic performance.
10 Things Parents of College Students Can Do To Help
- Be willing to give up some control. It is time for your student to develop a sense of independence, build confidence in them, and to develop an individual identity.
- Become more of an emotional supporter. Be encouraging, supportive, and positive. Avoid negatives, discouraging statements, and criticism. Praise for attempts to be successful and not only for successes.
- Understand that the transition to college involves much more than academics. This is a stage when many issues pertaining to independence, personal identity, career identity, status issues, and relationships must be resolved.
- Set up a system of rewards for earning good grades. Our whole society is based on rewarding good performance. The family is a good place to teach this.
- Demonstrate interest in your student’s college life. Go to orientation, parent’s day activities, and your student’s activities, if invited and whenever possible.
- Encourage your student to get career testing during their freshman year. Does (s)he need information to select a “best fit” major? If selected, are they in the right major? Without career testing, your student is guessing.
- Realize that graduating in 4 years is not what it used to be. Employers look for high grades, student involvement experiences, and work experience related to the major. Time to graduation is not of major concern to many employers.
- Buy a meal plan for your student. A poor diet will negatively affect learning and is likely to show up in lower academic performance.
- Ask to see your student’s calendar book. Are they using it properly to manage their time? All classes, meal times, study times, due dates, test dates, etc. should be included.
- If your student is struggling, contact the academic advisor to see what resources are on campus would be help and then follow up with your student.