This week we welcome our new students as they move to campus. And as much as college is a transition for them, it is a big change for parents as well. Whether it is a parent’s first or fifth child in college, saying goodbye and letting go is tough.
Our Dean of Student Life, Brandon Dawson, offers these tips and suggestions to ensure both students and parents are ready for the exciting changes and challenges ahead:
Before your student leaves for college treat them to something special. Have some time set aside together. This could be college shopping, dinner without other siblings, or even going for a walk together.
Hopefully your student knows how to make the bed by now (you have only asked them to do that a million times), but try doing a load of laundry together. Make a simple meal together. Show them how to balance a bank account and talk about time management. All of these little things add up to create a more independent, successful student.
In the car ride to campus talk about your expectations, especially as it relates to life outside of the classroom. Discuss college parties, responsible habits and what that means for your new student and your family.
As hard as it may be, try your best not to focus on the upcoming goodbye and departure. You might miss the full impact of the orientation festivities and the excitement of your student.
During move-in day, try to meet other Elmira College parents, or you may know other parents of new students back home. They are likely feeling and going through the same thing. Reach out to them. Just a quick conversation could create a support network for whenever you need it.
As your student settles into college life, they might feel homesick. Fight your first urge to pick them up and bring them home. Instead offer to visit them at college, or send a care package with their favorite things from home.
Students may call about struggles with a roommate or friend. Do not take the issue on yourself, but discuss a course of action your student can take to solve the problem. Let them advocate for themselves. However, if problems continue or worsen, advise your student to contact their Resident Advisor or Residence Life Coordinator.
For many parents transitioning from seeing your student on a daily or regular basis to not at all may create some anxiety and uncertainty.
“Many new students need time to adjust and fully immerse themselves into college life, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from them right away or all the time," said Dean Dawson. "The best thing you can do in these situations is to trust your parenting, and support them, but don’t smother them.”
Hopefully these tips help ease the transition to having a college student. If you have questions, please contact Dean Dawson or the Residence Life team.
One Park Place
Elmira, New York, 14901
P: (800) 935-6472