It is easy to assume transitions to college are consistent for students given orientation and the numerous campus resources available to help support them; however, one of the most important resources lies at home: family. Each student will experience a different transition. Some will be able to identify and map their plan to get involved on campus or within their major. Others will know what resources are available to help within their discipline or how to develop or enhance their study skills. To help with this transitions, parents and families should come to expect change within their student. After all, college is a growing experience both academically and socially.
Below are a few tips to help understand what your student may experience or how you can further their support from home. We have also provided additional resources to dig deeper into this transition process and understand what your student may experience as they begin their journey here at Tennessee Tech.
Every family's experience of their child going to college is different.
A single parent whose only child goes to college will likely have a significantly different experience than that of two parents who still have two or three children at home. Parents whose child attends a university that is 1,000 miles from home will likely have a very different experience than parents whose child attends a college that is 20 miles from home.
Recognize that your child will be going through significant changes during the freshman year of college.
It is a good idea to sit down with your child and talk about the types of changes her or she is likely to go through and how to handle them. It is also advisable to discuss changing expectations that you have or that your child may have. For example, a discussion about changes in house rules is a good idea to have prior to the student returning home for a school vacation.
Encourage your child to develop a greater level of independence.
For example, if your child has a conflict with a roommate or a professor, your natural inclination may be to pick up the phone and try to resolve the problem yourself. It is important that your child learn to resolve adult conflicts in a mature manner. Encourage your child to attempt to resolve the conflict on his/her own first. You can help your child by problem solving with them about ways to approach the person with whom they are having the conflict.
Urge your child to access university support services as needed.
For example, Residential Life has placed a Resident Assistant on each floor to help students find their way around the university, answer general questions that may arise, and help residents resolve roommate conflicts. The Counseling Center can assist your child if he or she has difficulty adjusting to the university. Accessing these services can be a tremendous asset to a freshman student who is experiencing a problem.
Encourage your child to get involved on campus.
We find that students who are active members of student organizations tend to enjoy their college years more than those students who are not involved on campus. Joining one of the many student organizations, participating in intramural sports, or volunteering for a local charity can ease your child's adjustment to Tennessee Tech.
Recognize that your entire family will go through changes as your child goes to college.
If this is your only child or your last child, you'll suddenly find yourself with more time on your hands than you have had in some time. Investing in a new hobby or resuming an old one, going on a vacation, or taking a class can help ease your adjustment to this transition. If you have other children at home, they will likely have reactions to the change, as well. It is especially important that the lines of communication with all of your children remain open during times of change within your family.