The Top 10 Things A Parent Can Do To Promote Student Success In College

  1. Call them often. Show you’re interested in their success. Expect some moodiness, homesickness or stress reactions, and monitor how those feelings seem to affect their happiness or their ability to function as a student. Monitor their progress, but also give them some room to develop skills on their own. Try not to rescue them from every discomfort, because they need to learn how to solve problems and talk to other adults for themselves. If the discomfort is so great, however, that they cannot function, then they are in need of further assistance.
  2. Early in their time at college, monitor their attendance in class. Going to class is strongly associated with success. Ask.
  3. Find out what classes your student is taking, and ask now and then about each one. Make sure they can tell you what’s going on in each class. It matters.
  4. If at all possible, come to campus and visit at least once after school starts. And don’t just go to the game – check out your student’s room, meet their friends, and find out about how they spend their time.
  5. Make sure your student knows that you’re interested in their grades. Go over their grades in person.
  6. Talk about, and set, expectations. College is a big investment for any family; make it pay off. Also expect them to take on more responsibilities as they grow.
  7. Remember – and talk with your student about this – that the first 10-12 weeks of school are a stressful, high-risk time. Many students establish their patterns of use of alcohol during those weeks. It is during these difficult weeks of transition that too many students on all campuses experience violence.
  8. Have a conversation – several times – with your student about drinking. Talk about what they expect to happen when they get to campus – and, later, about what actually did.
  9. Encourage your student to get involved in student organizations, recreational sports, and campus events.
  10. Beware of credit cards! Credit card companies target students, and too many students accumulate unmanageable levels of debt and experience disruptive stress because of the competing demands of academic achievement and financial obligations. Don’t assume that a student who hasn’t asked for money recently isn’t having financial problems.