As we start the Fall semester, you want to support your student, but you also want them to be independent, emerging adults. Here are a few questions to get a conversation started on a positive note.

1 – How often should we communicate?

Set expectations together on when you and your student will communicate. For commuter students or those staying home for remote classes, you may see your student every night for dinner. For residential students, you may have a Sunday phone call scheduled, and a good morning text each day. Setting expectations helps your student know they have your support, but also gives them time to adjust to college life. Students tell us it’s challenging if mom, dad, and grandma are texting them throughout the day. Your students are making new friends, concentrating in class, and participating in virtual activities. A conversation about when to talk will help them understand what you are thinking is reasonable, without cause for worry!

2 – Were you able to help someone today?

In this time of transition, your students may experience ups and downs on a regular basis. Their world might feel completely upside down and without structure, plus they have to ask questions like “How do I log-in to my class?” and “Where did I park my car?” Reframe the experience by asking if they were able to assist a fellow student, professor, or staff member this week. Lending a hand may give your student a much-needed confidence boost and often involves an interesting story to share with you!

3 – How can I support you?

Do you need me to just listen … to play pick-up basketball or Uno with you … to keep your little brother entertained, so you can do your homework? The answer you get might be surprising! Some students have A LOT to say about their first week of class, while others may have few words to share. Reframing the question into one about support may lead to a conversation about snacks, school supplies, or even how they are feeling about college. Most importantly, please continue to tell your students you are proud of them, and you know they can do this!!

4 – Can you tell me about a class syllabus?

Each class has a syllabus, which is an assignment schedule for the semester and details of the professor’s expectations. Your students are given the entire semester’s agenda in the first week, which includes the reading assignments, homework, and tests. The idea is to help them plan ahead and practice successful time management. In addition, the syllabus lists the professor’s virtual office hours. Students are strongly encouraged to visit their professors during their virtual office hours in the first few weeks of the semester to introduce themselves. As the semester goes on, they can make an appointment to ask clarifying questions about the class discussions and homework assignments. Professors want to see the students succeed!!

Parents and Families: As an emerging adult, your student still looks up to as a role model and needs your support. Your calm and positive outlook during this challenging time can make a difference. How can we support you? Please send an email with your ideas and feedback to:

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