As a college parent, you worry about your student’s transition to college life. Perhaps you talk to your student about things he can do to help make the shift to being a college student and being away. You hope that all will go well and you hope that the college personnel who work with your student will help your him with the transition.
Most college personnel who work with first year and transfer students are very aware of the impact and importance of the transition to a new environment and way of life. As a parent, you should be reassured that there are designated people at most colleges charged with the responsibility of helping your student succeed during her first year.
We recently returned from the 31st Annual Conference on the First Year Experience in San Antonio, TX. This conference was a gathering of approximately 1800 college professionals from 1200 different institutions who came together to share information about successful programs, initiatives and studies for the first year experience of your college student. This conference was a powerful reminder that colleges and universities recognize the importance of this transitional year and are working to help make this transition go as smoothly as possible.
As a college parent, you might find it reassuring to know that the college personnel working with your student are continually learning and sharing new information to be able to help your student even more. You might find it reassuring to know that these faculty members, administrators and staff members belong to organizations, attend conferences, read journals, conduct studies, and communicate with each other all with a focus on the first year of your student’s college career.
There are many ways in which college personnel connect, but we thought parents might find it interesting to be aware of five important national organizations that exist for college personnel to connect around helping your student. As you visit schools, you might even ask whether individuals are members of any of these organizations.
- National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition focuses on enhancing the learning and success of all college students.
- National Orientation Directors Association (NODA) provides education, leadership and professional development for those who work to create and conduct orientation experiences for students.
- NASPA — Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education affirms the commitment of student affairs to educating the whole student and integrating student life and learning and focuses on the campus wide student experience.
- National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) promotes and supports quality academic advising to enhance the educational development of students.
Additionally, there is a professional association committed to helping the college personnel who directly work with you — college parents. This association recognizes the importance of the family in student transition.
- Association of Higher Education Parent Program Professionals helps colleges and universities throughout the world constructively involve parents and families in the higher education experience and promote those interested in helping accomplish this mission.
We think it is important for parents to realize that a lot of individuals at a lot of colleges work directly and intentionally to help your student succeed. Whatever programming might be happening at your student’s school may not be happening in a vacuum. It may be the result of information gathered from national studies and sharing. You can help your student succeed by encouraging him to take advantage of all that his school is offering him to help with his transition.