How will my student change, and how will our relationship change?
College is a life-altering experience and a period of emotional and intellectual growth. Students are introduced to new ideas and challenges, and students interact with a diverse group of people. These interactions and experiences help students grow and mature into well-rounded critical thinkers, and families should encourage and support this kind of growth in their loved ones. The student will want to share new and viewpoints with you; be open to such conversations and listen to what she or he wishes to share.
Families may need to alter the expectations of their students.
A university education is demanding. Students may not be able to maintain the kind of schedules or level of family responsibility they had prior to college and still do well in college. The following are areas that may need to be rethought and renegotiated.
The student may not be available for traditional family times.For example, the student may not be available to have dinner with the family every evening because of academic or work responsibilities, so perhaps one evening a week is set aside for family dinners with the understanding that even then there they may be exceptions made.
Students who don't attend class don't pass.Family requests for students to miss classes in order to drive relatives to appointments or to care for relatives at home put students at risk for failure in their courses. Families should work together to identify other ways these needs could be met; for example, doctor appointments could be made after the students’ classes have concluded for the day.
Successful students do more than just attend classes.Expectations that students either return home or go to work immediately following classes prevent students from engaging in campus life, participating in study groups, using campus resources, and meeting with professors. Remember, in college, most of the academic work is conducted outside of class. Additionally, college is much more than just attending classes, so students need to be able to remain on campus for various purposes.
A quiet study space is essential.Students need a quiet space for studying, so the family may need to negotiate that space. It may be a family space such as a shared bedroom or even the kitchen that is reserved for quiet study during certain times of the day.