How to Help Your Child Adjust to College Life

While your child might not want to admit it, they may feel anxious about going to college, and it might take a few months for them to adjust. If your college freshman has been in school for a month or two, they may be going through this adjustment process. As a parent, you may be wondering how you can help without overstepping your child’s boundaries. Let’s talk about a few options here.

Connect to Home

Whether your child wants to admit it or not, they may be homesick in the first few months of college. It is important to give your child space so that they can begin to adjust and find their way without you. But, it is still a good idea to check in.

Around this time, many colleges have Family Weekend. If possible, attend family weekend to connect with your child. A few other options are:

  • Set up regular Skype or phone calls.
  • Send your child encouraging texts.
  • Send a care package.
  • Give help and advice when your child asks for it.

Adjusting to College Life

While your child may want to maintain their connection to home, it is also important that they embrace living at college. Help them establish a social life at school by encouraging them to get involved in something that they are passionate about. Whether that is an intramural sport, a club, or a job, your child should take the opportunity to explore their interests and meet new people.

In addition, check in to make sure that your child is getting along with their roommate. While they don’t have to be BFFs, a cordial relationship will make living on campus and away from home easier. Encourage your child to be a respectful roommate and to communicate if they have problems with the living situation.

Adjusting to Academics

A major cause of uncertainty and stress when going off to college is the academic program. Your child may need some time to adjust to a more rigorous course load and schedule.

Here are some tips that you can pass along to them to make sure they are not overwhelmed by their classes:

  • Encourage your child to take classes they are interested in.
  • Have your child create and stick to a study schedule so that they do not fall behind.
  • If your child has trouble writing papers, encourage them to visit the writing center. Many universities offer free resources to help students write papers.

Staying Out of Trouble

As your child adjusts to college life, you might be nervous. For the first time in their life, you will not be there to monitor what they are doing or protect them. This can be a daunting idea that can cause you as a parent to stress out. It is important to trust that you have raised your child to make their own decisions and use common sense.

In the first few months, consider checking in with your child about their social life. Communicate the consequences of using drugs and alcohol. They could be subject to action taken by the school as well as the police if they are caught doing something that they shouldn’t.

If your child is having trouble adjusting to college, or if they have had a run in with the law, contact my office. I am happy to help.