If you are a family member of a first-generation college student, congratulations! You have no doubt played a huge role in helping your student achieve this important goal and you should feel very proud of both your student and yourself.
This blog post provides some tips to help you know how best to support your student as she makes the transition to college. Because while this is a big change for your student, it is also a big transition for you, as it is for every family member whose child goes to college.
And if you and your student are still deciding which college is the right fit, these tips can help you know what resources to look for and ask about when you’re visiting schools.
Encourage your student to …
- attend New Student Orientation programs and events.
- keep in touch. If your student resides on campus, send a letter or care package for a nice surprise.
- become familiar with university resources and remind her to take advantage of these resources.
- develop relationships with faculty and staff by visiting their office hours, offices, or chatting with them after class.
- focus on her studies and her new community. Some families may find this more challenging than others, especially if they have depended on their students to care for younger siblings, work in a family business, or provide additional income.
- remember you are here. Remind her that even though you might not be able to provide specific advice on how to navigate college or have the answer she needs, you are always there to support and love her.
- know that pursuing higher education does not mean your student will lose the values she was raised with.
- ask for help when she needs it! She is not expected to know every answer and asking for help is a sign of strength.
- be patient with herself and with you; this is a learning experience for everyone.
- be excited! College is a great adventure for both you and your student.
Your continued support will be critical to your student’s success in college. You can find more tips for parents and families on our First-Year Experience website.