Helping your son/daughter adjust to college — Part II

On Monday, we listed some tips for you to help your son or daughter make that leap from high school student to college undergraduate. Today, we have a few more suggestions.

Financial issues


    •  Search and apply annually for institutional and private scholarships, grants and loans
    •  Help them set realistic expectations so they can successfully balance school and work
    •  Help them understand the financial aid process
    •  Offer to help them develop a budget and maintain it
    •  Warn them about credit cards and loans

Parent/child adjustment issues


  • Be supportive and trusting.
  • Encourage independence but provide a safety net.
  • Accept that you’re not going to know every detail of his or her life. (We know, this is hard.)
  • Realize it may be hard for them to return home after they’ve been living on their own without your house rules
  • Write letters, email or text them. Your son or daughter will be curious about what you are up to and may expect to know more about what you’re doing. (Don’t be surprised if they’re less inclined to let you know what they’re doing.).
  • Show concern for what they’re experiencing. Ask questions but try not to intrude too much.
  • Respect their space and privacy. Often, they’ll let you know what’s happening in their own way.
  • Send them care packages. (Next month, we’re going to give you advice on how to create great care package.)
  • Stock up on his or her favorite foods when they come home for the holidays.
  • Have plenty of laundry detergent on hand for all the dirty clothes they may be bringing.
  • Be careful not to talk too much about college being the best years of their life. If they’re struggling with exams, papers, or is having other college-related frustrations, your words may give them little comfort.

And, if you have any suggestions just let us know, and we’ll pass them along.   

On Friday we’ll provide other resources that may help.


Helping your son/daughter adjust to college — Part 1

Remember when your son of daughter was a baby? Remember those hopes you had for him or her? For most of us, those hopes included his or her going to college. Now the time has come. (Whoo hoo!)

What can you do to help your son or daughter make that transition? Lots.

Here are some suggestions we hope will help:

Academic issues

  • Help them purchase helpful organizational tools such as a daily planner and wall calendar
  • Share with them ways they can improve time-management skills
  • Encourage them to discipline themselves and find a quiet place to study
  • Tell them not to fear their professors; they’re there to help
  • Help them set realistic expectations for college-level work
  • Read the undergraduate catalog

Independence issues

  • Support their changes and be willing to change as well
  • Listen, support and encourage them
  • Encourage them to see their resident advisor if they have a problem in the residence hall
  • Discuss the importance of managing their time and money well
  • Talk to them about the importance of staying healthy (a little junk food is OK)
  • Encourage them to make choices for themselves
  • Discuss setting sexual boundaries for themselves and how to communicate them
  • Talk to them about drugs and alcohol

Fitting in

  • Remind them that friendships take time and effort
  • Encourage them to participate in campus activities
  • Discuss the types of diversity they will encourage, whether it’s ethnic, religious, sexual orientation or geographic
  • Encourage them to explore and communicate about the changes they’re experiencing

Do you have any suggestions? If so, please share them. We’d love to know.

On Wednesday we’ll address how you can help them with financial and adjustment issues.

Moving to campus — You just can’t bring everything

So, you’re getting ready to move on campus. What do you bring? More importantly, what do you leave at home?


This can get you started and will give you a chuckle:

When you’re starting to pack for college, keep in mind that:

  • your space will be limited, so be realistic about what you’ll really need
  • you’ll probably be going home at least a couple of times, so you won’t need to bring every piece of clothing you own
  • you should contact your roommate to see what he or she is bringing. If your roommate is bringing a TV, you won’t have to.

The CollegeBoard offers more tips, including an Off-to-College Checklist to help you plan what to bring.

We also offer a list that will give you some ideas.

What if you forget something? Don’t fret.  There will be at least one store  on campus — and other places to shop in the community — where you can buy what you need if you forget your toothbrush, a bathing suit or a backpack.

Are we missing anything? If so, just let us know.

Adjusting to college — Part II: Fitting in

A college campus is a great place to meet new people. But where and how do you start? Here’s how a few of our students and a recent graduate did it:

Alicia Hooks

Alicia, a senior business management major, says her biggest adjustment was coming from Washington, D.C. to Bradford, which is a much smaller town. She adapted by going to a lot of campus events so that she could meet people and make new friends. “With all the friends I made I was able to explore this area better,” she says.

“Don’t let your fears take control and keep you from meeting people and making friends,” Alicia says.

 Alex Davis

Alex, who graduated in May with a degree in public relations and is now a staff writer for The Middle Township Gazette in Seaville, N.J., is shy (really shy). So, his biggest adjustment was overcoming that shyness.

His knew he had to “put himself out there.” So, he started working at the student newspaper, The Source. That got him covering events and interviewing (and meeting) many people, from the president to deans to students.

Katie Zapel 

Campus life is a little different for Katie, a senior majoring in human relations, because she doesn’t live on campus but commutes from home instead. Joining clubs, she says, is a great way to meet people with similar interests and make friends. (Although she admits you’ve probably heard that from your guidance counselor, which made you roll your eyes.)

“That doesn’t mean you’ll all become BFFs, but at least it will give you somewhere to start,” she says.

Nuwangi Dias

When Nuwangi started at Pitt-Bradford, she planned on transferring after two years. However, “I got the guts to venture out on my own and got involved on campus. I joined a few clubs and met a lot of people. The better you know your surroundings, the better you feel.”

“The more I got to know the campus, the better I felt about being here,” she says, noting that she never did transfer. She expects to get a biology degree in 2012.

Do you have any advice to share? Just let us know.

Next week: What to bring to campus — and what to leave at home.

Adjusting to college — Part I: Academics

Have you noticed that many adults are quick to give you advice on how to adjust to college? Don’t procrastinate. Go to class. Study. Don’t party too much.  While they mean well – they really do mean well — it’s hard to take advice from people who haven’t been in a college classroom for a decade or two or three.

Wouldn’t it mean more to get advice from current or recently graduated college students? We thought so. Here’s what some of our students and recent grads had to say about adjusting to college.

Lyndon Orinion

Lyndon graduated in May and is now a web content editor at the Wesley Theological Seminary. He says his biggest adjustment was realizing that he actually had to study to get good grades. “High school did not prepare me for college, and I had to find out how to study and what my study habits were.”

He figured it out the hard way: a couple of failed tests and low grades. But, he got help from his advisor and the TRiO program and graduated with two degrees: an associate degree in information systems and a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and technology.  

Dan Robinson

Dan is a sophomore nursing major and says now is the time to learn good study habits, and organizational and time-management skills so you can get off to a good start. He says time management might be the most important skill, since it will show you how much free time you have.

Dan says it’s also important to figure out early what subjects come naturally to you. Those will require less studying, which will give you more time to study for those classes that are harder.

Nuwangi Dias

For Nuwangi, a senior biology major, adjusting is all about looking ahead. Look at the course catalog and see what classes you think are interesting. Figure out what classes you’ll need for graduation. “One thing I know I didn’t do as well,” she says,” is look ahead all the way to graduation. It’s important to plan ahead.” (Yes, she suggests doing this before you even get to campus.)

If you’ve already picked a major, contact the head of the department or a faculty member to learn more about it, she says.

Do you have any advice you’d like to share? If so, let us know.

On Wednesday our students will give you advice on how to adjust to college’s social life.