Once students are in their first year, parents should try to act as a sounding board—listening if their students have problems and directing them to resources on campus, such as the Counseling and Wellness Center, Housing and Residence Life office and the Academic and Career Planning Office.
It is important to speak to students about things such as coming home on weekends. Parents should ask themselves questions such as “Will my student be coming home frequently?” and “How will our house rules be different than college rules?”
A student converses on her cellular phone.
While it may be easy for your student to come home every weekend, Dave Blandford, director of campus life, does not encourage this.
“Tell students to give it a legitimate chance,” he says. “There is always a chance to go home but I encourage them to stay on weekends.”
He also explains that most students decide whether or not they will stay at college within the first six weeks, so it is important to encourage them to get involved and to remain on campus as much as possible.
Also, Blandford recommends parents not come rushing to their students’ aid each time an issue arises—give them advice, he says, but let them try to solve the problem on their own.
One issue he often sees come up is having to share a room. Many students have never had to share a room before, and having to live with a roommate for a year can sometimes be difficult.
“Students are in a situation where they need to communicate with people,” says Blandford. “You can learn to live with someone who isn’t necessarily your best friend.”
He stresses how crucial this is for students’ futures; students may have to live with roommates in the future to save on costs, and learning to live with one in college will give them the skills they need to successfully share a living space.