About Staying Connected
|Working with Your Student – Helping Them Help Themselves
By Sarah A. Tetley, assistant director of housing and residential life
As parents you get the pleasures (and pains) of seeing your student go off to college. In my seven years of professional experience, I have found one of the most important things a parent can do is have an action plan about how they are going to help their student adjust to college life. Having an action plan will help you feel more comfortable during conversations, and will help you show your student that you are there for them, but that they can make solid decisions on their own.
There are many proactive efforts that can help you with conversations with your students. Here are some suggestions on how you can help your student get all the resources they need to address their issues on their own.
Empowering your student is one of the single most important things you can do for your student’s college experience. If they begin to address their own issues earlier they will gain a confidence that will help support them through the rest of their college career. Within these four (or more) years they are becoming the people they will be for the rest of their lives. Help them become students with their own problem solving abilities by encouraging them to utilize the resources available to them. With your support they can continue to grow.
- Know who to Contact – Make them aware of the student and professional staff support they have to help them deal with their issues. If they are living on campus there is their Resident Assistant, the Hall Director, and even the Central Housing office to help them through their issues or help them get connected to the right campus resource. If they are an off-campus student the Deans Office has staff that can help them get connected to a wide variety of campus resources.
- Know the Policies – If you are educated on your institutions policies and procedures ahead of time, during conversations with your student you will be better equipped to articulate how the university typically handles certain situations. Many of these polices can be found on the university website. Your student will see that there is an appropriate way to address concerns, and the staff will appreciate your students understanding of how the process works.
- Be aware of situations in your student’s life – Keep up to date with the issues facing your student. When you know what is going on you can direct them to the resources that are available to them to address their problem. The earlier problems are addressed the better. You don’t want an issue to evolve and come to fruition during a hard time for your student (mid-terms, finals, etc).
- The Two-Sided Coin – In every situation there are two (or more) sides to consider. Your son or daughter has a unique perspective (their own) when describing events and situations to you. A healthy level of sympathy and challenge can help you help your student see all the sides of the situation. By being supportive but also recognizing the bigger scope can help your student better articulate their issues to the staff who can help assist your student.
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