Information for Parents & Families of New College Students

College presents new opportunities for students to make decisions and become independent adults. Changes of this magnitude evoke mixed emotions in both students and parents. The excitement of a new beginning is often accompanied by worry about being successful. It is not unusual for new students to experience some temporary anxiety when transitioning to college. They may become irritable or tense, feel overwhelmed or exhibit behavioral changes. Students may make decisions you do not expect and may not always share as much as they once did.

You may be wondering how your relationship will change. As a parent, you have been heavily invested in your son/daughter's academic, personal and social development, and were encouraged to take an active role in his/her education by attending meetings and checking grades on the Web. You may feel obliged to continue this level of involvement during the college years. However, it is not helpful for students when parents continue to make decisions or manage responsibilities for them. We encourage you to allow your son/daughter to use this time to develop skills for transitioning into adulthood. Students who are trusted by parents have more self-confidence.

Your student still needs you though! He/she will want you to provide support for difficult decisions and during life's ups and downs, and that you trust him/her to make the right choices.

Support tips

  • Ask how things are going.
  • Keep lines of communication open.
  • Acknowledge that adjusting to college can be stressful.
  • Act as a sounding board for your student and avoid giving unsolicited advice. 
  • Allow your student to make mistakes. 
  • Resist rescuing - it could delay learning to making good decisions.
  • Tell your student that you trust him/her to do what it takes to get good grades.
  • Avoid checking up on attendance or grades. Part of the financial deal with your student may be to share end-of-semester grades.

If you have specific concerns about your student, you may call the Dean of Students at 410-386-8217.

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