- Mom's College Planning Guide: All the Tips You Need to Know to Launch Your Child Off to College by Elaine M. Smoot
- Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn, Madge Lawrence Treeger
- In Addition to Tuition: The Parents' Survival Guide to Freshman Year of College by Marian Edelman Borden, Mary Anne Burlinson, Elsie R. Kearns
- When Your Kid Goes to College: A Parent's Survival Guide by Carol Barkin
- Pack Up Your Pupil: A Guide to Help Parents Move Their College Bound Children from Home to Campus by Judith Kunkel
Conversations to Have With Your Student
Common issues tend to surface during the transition from high school to college and we will address them with students throughout evoLUtion. In the meantime, we have listed a few topics for you to consider and perhaps discuss with your student prior to the first semester.
Poor time management is a major contributor to academic difficulty and student stress. Prioritizing goals and establishing a balanced schedule early in the semester will make the year go more smoothly! Students can receive help managing their time at the Center for Academic Success or the OFYE.
As you likely know, if your child is under 21 it is illegal to drink in the state of Pennsylvania. College is a time that they will make their own decisions and live with the consequences of those decisions. The Get Inclusive course is an online compliance and prevention training module expected to be completed by all first-year and transfer students, which covers the impacts of alcohol and other drugs, skills to intervene in harmful situations impacting others, and a proactive approach to mental health and wellness. Having a conversation with your student will also be useful:
- What are your expectations of them?
- What kind of college life do they plan to lead?
- What are their academic goals (because drinking can affect those goals)?
- What happens if they choose to drink and get caught? (Keep in mind that if they violate our Code of Conduct alcohol policies at Lehigh, you will be notified.)
You will want to talk with your student. The question you need to discuss with your student is when you are going to talk to them. Chances are, their daily schedule is going to look a lot different than it did when they were living at home. Plan in advance when good times will be to talk.
- Ask your student how often they want to talk and by what method (IM, email, text messaging, phone)
- Who is paying for the phone bill?
- What is the earliest/latest you can call because your student or his/her roommate will be sleeping, studying, etc.?
This might seem like common sense, but it is really important to talk with your student about your expectations of their academic performance – especially if you are paying the bills. Lehigh does NOT send home grades to parents without the student's permission because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (we will explain FERPA during Parent/Family Orientation) so your student is responsible for discussing his/her grades with you.
- What is an acceptable grade point average for your student's first-year?
- What is his/her goal academic performance?
- Will your student share mid-term grades and final grades with you?
- If he/she doesn't meet grade expectations, what are the consequences?
This is a big one for students…who is supplying the money? For some students, once they head to college they are cut off from the family financial tree while others are still well connected to that pocketbook. Where does your student fall? Is it better to make them aware of this now or when they need some cash?
- Will he/she get a daily/weekly/monthly allowance?
- Does your student have to open his/her own bank account (if so, Lehigh University students have several banking options located in Bethlehem. Lehigh students also have access to a full-service Wells Fargo bank branch and ATM located in the University Center. The Pennsylvania States Employee Credit Union (PSECU) operates a Financial Education Center at the Mountaintop Campus, Building C, 2nd Floor, and provides 3 ATM's in Lamberton, Taylor Gym, and Stabler Arena.)
- Will he/she have credit card access or be able to open up a credit card account in his/her own name?
- Will your student have money on his/her GoldPlus account for off campus purchases?
There is a new mix of people for your student to meet once they arrive on campus; it can be difficult for some to immediately make new friends and feel a sense of belonging. Again, encouragement to seek out new opportunities will go a long way as your student becomes a part of the Lehigh community.
A new roommate also provides challenges for some students. For many, this is the first time that they have had to share a space! Communication between your student and his or her roommate is going to be critical. Make sure your student thinks about the expectations that he or she has about living with someone else and vice versa, e.g. keeping the room clean, sharing personal belongings, etc. Students will have an opportunity to discuss room expectations when they complete their roommate agreement, which encourages students to share their thoughts on sharing a space.
Yes, at some point your student will come home. Help prepare for his/her first trip home by having these discussions:
- Will you have a curfew for your child when he/she is home?
- How much time will your child need to spend with family vs. friends?
- What will happen to his/her room when he/she is gone? (Is it going to be redecorated or given to a sibling?)
- Remember: they have been at college and you have been living your life while he/she is away. It may seem strange to your son or daughter that life has gone on without them.
When students start college they are in a completely new environment and it can be overwhelming at times. It is natural that students will miss home because that is the place that is comfortable and familiar. Your immediate inclination may be to bring your student home every weekend, but that does not always work because he or she is not on campus connecting with peers and establishing relationships. Encourage your student to pursue his or her interests and get involved on campus, get to know other students, and build new relationships. Avoid asking if your student is homesick, the power of suggestion can be a dangerous thing!