It’s back-to-school season, which means your college student will be packing up and preparing for their next school year.
Whether they’re first- or fourth-year students, your student will do best with you supporting them. Here are eight ways to support your college student as they head back to school for another year.
As you’re probably well aware, college is expensive. Many students entering college aren’t doing so with a large sum of money. Loans and scholarships can help a lot with housing and meals. If you’re able, consider showing support by purchasing some of their school supplies, such as pens, notebooks and textbooks.
Taking this small financial burden off of your student is a great back-to-school gift to your student. It shows that you want to know about their education.
As your students use these products throughout the year, they will occasionally remember that you support them through their college journey.
Help Them Pack
It may not seem like much, but helping your students pack their belongings can mean a lot.
By helping them pack, you’re showing them that you support their journey through college and want to be there for them throughout it.
Always ask permission to pack your child’s things as you want to respect their right to privacy. Even helping add suitcases to the car is an excellent way to send them off to the year ahead.
Know Campus Resources
At college, you’re not going to be physically there to guide your student when getting academic, financial, medical and mental health support.
Learn about all the campus resources your student’s college offers and remind your student to take advantage of them. While you get much personal information from the school, if your student is over 18 years old, you can serve as a directory for your child’s needs and point them in the right direction when they require something.
Know the contact information of these resources to share with your student and contact them yourself if an emergency arises.
Be in Regular Contact
While your student is never off your mind, it can be easy to fall into the trap of not checking in on them frequently.
You want to give them their space to enjoy college and trust them to make good decisions. However, you never want your student to feel disconnected from home.
Send a text every few days checking in on how they’re doing. Forward any emailed family events or announcements. Call now and then so you can hear each other’s voices.
Regular contact with your student helps them know you’re always there, reassuring them when times get stressful.
Check-In on Them
As discussed in the last tip, checking in on your college student is integral to ensuring their well-being while away at college.
A simple “How are you?” can go a long way when things become overwhelming. Let your students know they don’t have to put up a front for you and acknowledge that college isn’t always easy.
Encourage your student to vent to you about their stress and offer advice on how to get through it. Maybe share times you remember feeling the same way while acknowledging that they’re going through it in a different time.
Lending an ear to your student for good and bad updates helps them know that you support their whole journey, not just their successes.
Ask Questions While Respecting Boundaries
Another way to show your support is to ask questions about their experience. Learn about their academic programs, friendships and activities. It shows your student that you care about their time in college.
When your student goes to college, their going to encounter new perspectives and cultures. Be open-minded to any changes that come from this and seek to learn more from them.
When you do ask questions, don’t pry too much into their intimate relationships or unsavory actions. Your student is an adult now, and you want to show that you respect their right to make their own decisions.
Show Your Trust
For many students, the college offers previously unknown freedom. With new space comes new mistakes, and it’s unrealistic to think your student won’t experiment with the party culture that goes hand in hand with college life.
Encourage your students to be honest with you when a decision they made or are considering bothers them. Be there to help them out no matter the situation, and trade your frustration to support in that vulnerable time.
Every parent wants their children to stay safe, but chastising them for giving in to temptation will discourage your child from sharing their college experience with them.
Plan For Important Dates
Lastly, you can support your college student by knowing the essential dates around campus.
You should know when they go on breaks and graduate, but paying attention to other important days shows interest in their school’s activities.
Be aware of any big football games, theatre performances and student-sponsored events that you or your student are interested in or involved in. Know when mid-terms are as well as any extensive tests or networking events.
When you’re aware of these things, you can communicate with your student about their experience or join them at an appropriate event. Being aware shows your child that you are interested in their college life.
Helping Your Student Find Success This Year
The start of a new year brings your college students one step closer to reaching their education and career goals.
College is an exciting but stressful time. By showing your support in various ways, you can help your student succeed in the year ahead.