So You’re a New College Parent . . .
Congratulations! You’ve survived the college admissions process and the acceptance letters have begun to arrive. You are excited for your student, but you may be beginning to be a bit nervous. Now that your son or daughter is almost a college student, you’re almost a college parent! You may have been involved in helping your student through the admissions process – but now you wonder what you should be doing and exactly what your new role will be.
If you’re a new college parent, and you’re here at College Parent Central, you’ve found the right place to get started. Parents of college students are often told to “let go”, but we believe it’s all about knowing how your role changes and finding the ways that you can be productively involved to help your student throughout his college career.
This post is an index to get you started. We’d like to give you some things to think about and some tasks to get started in your new role. We’ll point you toward some of the posts that should be most helpful to you right now, at this beginning time. We hope you’ll also spend time browsing the site to find the articles that are most useful to you now – and in the months and years to come. There are lots of stages for parents along this journey.
Here are some areas to think about for now:
- What is your new role and relationship to your student?
- What do you need to understand about the world of college?
- What can you do now, while your student is finishing up high school, to help her get started?
- What are the first steps toward college?
- What homework will help? (Yes, we’re assigning homework!)
Your new role as a college parent
Don’t worry, you still have an important role to play in your student’s life even if he is moving out. But it’s important that you begin to understand how this role, and your relationship to your student, will be changing. Take some time to think about this new role and how you’ll take it on.
Understand the College World
The world of college can be a mysterious place, with its own language, norms, and expectations. If you’ve never attended college yourself, it may seem especially overwhelming. Even if you attended college, chances are that the experience has changed since you were on campus. Here are some suggestions to help you become more familiar with the world into which your student is embarking.
College Lingo for College Parents: Talk the Talk! (Follow the links at the end of this post for parts 2-6)
What can you do now to help your student prepare?
You thought your work was over. You helped your student apply to college and she’s been admitted. But there’s more. There are still some skills that you can help your student strengthen before she heads off in the fall. These skills will help her succeed. So here are some things to think about working on during these final months.
There will be lots to do for both you and your student before she heads out the door. There are a few things that will happen sooner rather than later. Here are some things to begin planning for as you look ahead to the final spring of high school.
Doing Your Homework
Your student is the one heading to school, but there’s homework for you. Take some time to continue to think about and prepare for your new role. We have some resources that might be helpful.
Parenting College Students: Recommended Reading List (Follow the links for additional lists)
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Remember that you are transitioning to a new phase of parenting just as your student is transitioning to become a college student. You’re still going to be actively involved and the more prepared you are, the better the experience will be for everyone. Enjoy the ride! Congratulations!