Tips for Parents
What Your Student May Face This Fall
The Challenges Ahead
When students head to school, they'll face an array of good times as well as plentiful challenges. Luckily, campus is full of folks who are here to help, while encouraging your student to accept responsibility for his actions at the same time. Chances are, you'll hear about some of these challenges as your student is facing them or after the fact. They may include:
- acclimating to a new academic program — college classes are different than those your student experienced in high school because professors will expect higher levels of independent work, showing up for class and academic dedication
- figuring out the social scene — getting to know others, finding a sense of belonging, doing things on weekends that feel right instead of just going along with the crowd... there are many social nuances that your student will be navigating along the way
- living with a roommate — compromise, letting go of pre-established expectations and learning to communicate effectively will help students establish the necessary rhythms to live with others
- navigating campus — learning a new place takes a while, as students determine where they can eat after athletic practice, how to get to their lab, what services the learning center provides and more
- being smart with free time — when to study, when to eat, when to sleep and when to hang out with others — these are all decisions that are in your student's hands now as they parcel out their free time to get important tasks done
- forming their identity — as students experience new freedoms, people and responsibilities, they'll also be exploring their own identity: who they are and who they hope to become... this can be one of the biggest — and most worthwhile — challenges of all
Some information adapted from the Dean of Student Affairs site at Skidmore College (NY)
Helping Your Student Face Challenges
- listen well without imposing your own thoughts right awa
- ask what she has done to address an issue so fa
- encourage him to take action on his own — it's a primary way he'll grow and gain confidence
- talk through scenarios to help her feel more comfortable
- ask open-ended questions that require answers beyond "yes" or "no"
- let him know that you love and support him — that can go a very long way!
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