4 Tips for Parents of College-Bound Freshmen

Written by: Brittany Glaser, M.A., M.Div.
4 Tips for Parents of College-Bound Freshmen

Graduation has finally happened; celebrations have occurred, caps have flown in the air, and many speeches have been heard. All of the sudden, high school is over and college is on the horizon for many of our students.

College is an exciting and wonderful time but can also be a terrifying transition. College freshmen nervously wonder what will it be like and whether they can find a new home and friends. They will also have to adapt their study habits. College campuses offer a wide array of things to be involved in but students can slip through the cracks. They will have to figure out how to get involved and find their place in their new surroundings.

Parents, you can probably relate to their nerves. Many parents are so excited for their children but also scared that something might go wrong. If you and your child are in the midst of all of these feelings and questions, then I hope you know that you are not alone.

If you are worried about your child finding their way at college here are few tips:

  1. Communicate! Talk to your teen about how you can communicate during school and what ways they want your help with schoolwork. Since your teen is over 18 then the school will not release academic (or medical) information with you unless he or she gives them written permission. Talk to your teen about signing this form so you can communicate with the school if needed.
  2. Know the signs. The first year of college can be intimidating and overwhelming. Look out for signs like social isolation, lack of appetite, sleep issues, skipping class, and persistent hopelessness. If you notice these signs persisting then talk to your teen about possibly talking to a college counselor or other trusted resource.
  3. Be familiar with the school’s resources. Look into the school’s policies that would be applicable to your child. For instance, if your child has ADHD make sure you ask about accommodations. If your child has a history of struggling with depression, anxiety, or another mental illness then make sure you connect with the college counseling office and set up a crisis plan.
  4. Clubs! Finding the right group is quintessential to having a good college experience. Encourage your teen to look into the different clubs and teams offered at his or her school before college begins. Having something to be visualizing can ease anxiety and build confidence.
  5. Be open. Share your feelings with your teen if you are concerned while he or she is away in loving, non-judgmental way. Provide a safe place to land that is consistent In the midst of change. Make sure you’re also taking care of yourself throughout the transition as well.