First-Year Experience Information for Parents and Families


Students sitting together in the Student Activities Center o

Enrolling in college can be an exciting and demanding journey for students.  College is a time of transition for both students and families, and family support is an important foundation in college success.  Your student may be feeling a bit overwhelmed with the campus, new and unfamiliar services, different policies and procedures, and few familiar people. 

Attending college is an important milestone, and as parents or family members you can help your student succeed in college by communicating with your student and letting them know that you are supportive of their journey.  To help you offer support, we suggest the following advice:

Tips on how family members can help their students be successful in College:

  • Help your student understand that coming to this college is a major transition, and parts of it will be easy and parts of it will be difficult. This is normal--everyone experiences some challenges with transitions.
  • Encourage your student to ask for help. Learning is a cooperative effort, and asking for help is a vital part of the effort.
  • Students are not expected to find all of the answers for themselves; faculty, staff, and fellow students have lots of knowledge and they enjoy sharing it.
  • Encourage your student to participate in the employment fairs, workshops, and services sponsored by the Career and Transfer Center.
  • Encourage your student to visit professors during office hours to get help or discuss academic performance.
  • Encourage your student to achieve a sense of balance including a healthy diet, adequate sleep and exercise, and relaxation.
  • Reassure your student that the next few weeks will be stressful and challenging, but you are there to support him/her.
  • Encourage your student to take a renewed, invigorated look at new classes and potential classmates as opportunities for new connections and improved academic performance.
  • Communicate the importance of balancing academic and social demands.
  • Ask your student about their academic adviser meeting in preparation for next fall’s registration.
  • Keep the lines of communication open and supportive.  One of the best strategies students have against stress and fatigue is talking with someone they trust.
  • Encourage your student to speak to professors about difficult classes or exams on which he/she did not perform well before the end of the semester.
  • Emphasize the wisdom of approaching finals with the attitude of doing the very best he/she can, and not worrying tediously about what has or has not happened so far in the semester.
  • Both you and your student may have a realization of how college influences life decisions. Discuss your insights.
  • Ask your student about what was most helpful in terms of your support and communication.
  • Be open to your student’s feedback about those things that may not have been helpful.Discuss strategies for time management and/or the balance of time devoted to school, work, and recreation.
  • Continue to express trust and a belief in your student’s ability to be successful.
  • Congratulate your student on his or her academic successes and progress toward graduation.
  • Celebrate this major milestone that another year has passed!
Three circles showing family, school and community intersecting for student success