By June Headley-Greenlaw
I wanted to share some advice in this blog for all the parents that just moved their kids into college. I feel like having taught a freshman orientation class at the University of South Carolina for 14 years and having moved two of my own children into college; I may have some insight.
Here are some things you should encourage your new college student to do:
- Have them get to know their instructors early in the semester.
- Go visit instructors at the beginning of the semester, don’t wait until you need them
- Visit them during office hours and introduce yourself and let them know how important their class is to you.
- Instructors are people too and they are teaching for a reason. Most of them want to guide students and they enjoy getting to know them.
- Take stock of all the resources available to students. Most campuses offer Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions for classes they have identified to be particularly difficult for students. There may be free tutoring available.
- Advise your child to make use of as many meal swipes as possible. If they don’t have time for a meal, go get some fruit, chips, granola bars or whatever else might be offered that you can take in your book bag to class with you or back to your room for a late night snack. You’ve already paid for it!
- Have your student do a “schedule at a glance”. Print out blank calendars and fill in all assignments from each syllabus so that you can see now where your trouble spots will be and prepare for them. This is an assignment I gave to all my freshman and many of them verbally thanked me for forcing them to get it done.
- Remind them often to use good judgement. Moving away from home is tough and there are a lot of pressures in their first year. It’s easy to get caught up in activities that they don’t realize may be detrimental to them later. I often used the phrase in class “remember decisions you make today could affect the rest of your life”. I meant that very literally and gave them examples. The decision tonight to have unprotected sex could lead to an unexpected pregnancy and could change the rest of your life.
Remind yourself not to be hurt if they don’t call often. They will be extremely busy getting acclimated, making friends, and doing all the things for themselves that you would normally do for them. They still love you. They are just doing their best to show you that they are all grown up!