How can you help your son or daughter have a successful college experience?

As first-year students arrive at a college or university and begin to venture forth they experience different reactions and thoughts. Some students will adjust to life with little difficulty, while others may find that the transition stretches beyond the first year. Parents can help by understanding the developmental process that their students will journey through as they enter a college or university and recognize that this process is part of the higher education learning environment.

  • Upon arrival, many students enjoy a period where the newness and excitement leads to strong positive feelings about college life.
  • A few weeks into the semester, students begin to realize that higher education is not all glamour and fun – there is hard work, and there can be frustration and disappointment as well. Students may receive their first low grades.
  • About mid-semester, students may begin wondering if college life is better at another school. They might believe that transferring to another institution will solve the problems they are experiencing. Or they may wonder if they would be better off out in the work world.
  • Students begin to learn that things at home have changed. Life has gone on without them. Alternatively, first year students learn that they have changed, and because of this, their relationships with family and high school friends may be different from what they remember. Like college, home suddenly feels like a new and changing place.
  • As students progress through the semester they refine their academic and study skills, engage in their first deep conversations with classmates and enjoy expanding their circle of friends. It is often at this time that true intellectual fulfillment begins and meaningful relationships with classmates and faculty develop.
  • Sometime during the second semester, students begin to view college as a total experience. They come to see the classes, casual discussions with new friends, parties, and other elements of their college life are related and part of an interrelated whole. First year students come to understand that the choices and commitment that they make have a tremendous impact on the shape of their college experience and future.

Common questions we receive from parent's: