1. Do not ask if your student is homesick

  • The power of association can be a dangerous thing. The first few weeks of school are action packed; adjusting to new people and new situations takes up a majority of a first year student's time and concentration. Unless they're reminded of it, they'll probably get over the loneliness and homesickness. And even if they don't tell you during those first few weeks, they do miss you.

2. Ask questions (but not too many)

  • First year college students have a tendency to resent interference with their newfound lifestyle, but they desire the assurance of knowing that parents are still concerned.
  • Honest inquires and friendly discussions can strengthen the bond you have with your student.

3. Expect change (but not too much)

  • Your student will change. It's natural, inevitable and can be inspiring. Remember that a first year student will be basically the same person you sent away to school, aside from interest changes and personality revisions. Don't expect too much too soon.
  • Maturation is not an instantaneous process.

4. Never visit unannounced

  • Students like to know that you're coming

5. Write/E-mail

  • Though most first year students in all areas are eager to experience their newfound independence, they also relay on the security of family ties. There's nothing more depressing than a week of empty mailboxes. Remind them that you're still around. (Warning: Do not expect a reply to every letter you write.)

6. Do not worry excessively about "down in the dumps" phone calls or e-mails

  • Often when trouble becomes too much for a first year student to handle (failing a test, an ended relationship), the only place to turn is home. Often, unfortunately, this is the only time the urge to communicate is felt so strongly, so you never get to hear about the "A" paper or the new significant other.
  • In these crisis times, they may unload trouble or tears of anger, then return to routine, relieved and lightened while you inherit the worry. Be patient with this type of communication. Granted it's a service that makes you feel lousy, but it works wonders for a frustrated student.