Family Orientation

Changes in the Transition

Are you wondering what you can be doing to support your student as they go through the process of starting college? Below are some ideas and concepts that your student could experience as they begin their college career. Please keep these in mind as you encourage your student to spread their wings and start life as a Falcon!

Supporting Your Student (Moving to Campus/Leaving the Nest)

If your student is living on campus, there is a fine balance to strike on their big move-in day to campus. Your student might appear excited, sad, or display any range of emotions on this day. We encourage you to support them in however they are feeling. Find a balance between dropping them off and hitting the road immediately and trying to move in with them. You can let them know you are always a call or text away, and even can help them make plans for when they can visit you next. (We encourage students to stay on campus until Thanksgiving break to help them overcome feelings of homesickness and build connections on campus.)

Helping Versus Taking Over

Inevitably, your student will face some challenges as they enter college. This could include academics, roommate disagreements, or other issues. As a supporter of your student, you can empower them to make their own decisions, advocate for their needs, and take responsibility for their experience. Don't make the call on their behalf - COACH them through the process. It can be difficult to see your student struggle, but know that by helping them from a distance can help them gain necessary skills and independence to feel confident in confronting difficult situations on their own as an adult.

Taking Responsibility for Academics

It can be intimidating for students to learn to reach out to their professors, but we encourage all students to connect with their faculty inside and outside of class. Our faculty members are dedicated to student success and are interested in building meaningful connections with students. Below are a few ways students can take advantage of faculty connections:

  • Visiting during regularly scheduled office hours
  • Come prepared to their semester advising meetings
  • Learn more about and pursue field-related internships
  • Pursue research and lab work opportunities

If your student is struggling in a class, it is important for them to take action. Even reaching out and meeting with a professor to let them know that their academics are a priority can have a big impact on your student's success.

Family Relationships and Dynamics

Whether or not they directly express it, your student still needs and wants your support during this new chapter of their life. However, they also need some space to explore their new independence. It is important for you to communicate, listen, and, when your student asks for it, be willing to offer advice.

Sibling bonds may also shift during this transition, regardless of whether students are living on campus or commuting from home. For students living on campus, try to encourage sibling communication through Facetime, texting, Snapchat, or other social media channels. For students commuting to campus, it will be important to discuss how to balance their new class and work schedules with family responsibilities. It can also be helpful to dedicate time each week to spend with one another as a family.

Contact Us

New Student and Family Programs


M-F, 8:00am - 4:30pm

Rodli Hall 226, Student Success Center

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