How You Can Support Your Child As They Start College

The time that you’ve been dreading and looking forward to since the day you brought your little one home…
a person walking in a library

The time that you’ve been dreading and looking forward to since the day you brought your little one home from the hospital has come. Graduation is looming, and soon your little one won’t be a little one any longer. The day has come when your high school senior will be a college student, living in a dorm room and making her own way in the world.

As excited and worried as you are, your soon-to-be college student is even more excited and worried. It’s easy to get overwhelmed during the months leading up to becoming a college freshman, so your support as a parent is extremely important at this time. From deciding which colleges to apply for to figure out what every college student needs to start their first year, it can be confusing. Below, you can find a few tips to help you support your soon-to-be college student in every way.

Don’t push your child on their choice of college.


While it may be tempting to keep a close eye on their grades and admission forms for so that you know they’ll get into Harvard, Stanford, or another top-tier college of your choosing, the keywords there are “your choosing.” Remember, your child is no longer a child and should be able to decide on their own which college is the right choice for them. Statistics show that teens who are pushed to choose the college of their parent’s choice often drop out without finishing their education. While you can be there to guide your teenager and help with admission essays and the like, ultimately, the choice of college has to be their own.

Don’t dwell on how much you’ll miss them.


While you’re going to miss your child awfully, it’s best not to dwell on how much you’re going to miss them, because they’re probably already nervous about leaving home to stay in a dorm with roommates for the first time. If you’re calm, cool, and collected, then chances are your college student will be as well. If you’re a hysterical crying mess when you drop them off for their first day in the dorms, then you’re going to make them nervous and a mess as well. Let your child know that you’ll miss them, but that this is an extraordinary adventure they’re embarking on, and that Thanksgiving break is right around the corner.

Send a care package.


Just because you can’t be with your college student all the time doesn’t mean you can’t send them a little taste of home. There are plenty of pre-made care packages that any college student would love, but you can also send home-baked goods or any important items that your college freshman loved when they were in high school and will remind them of home and how much you love them. Just the fact that you put love and work into the care package will make them feel better about being away from home, and loved also.

Encourage them to have fun.


While you want your college student to always have their safety first and foremost in mind, you want them to have fun at the same time. Grades and assignments are super important, but your child needs to get out there and make friends with their classmates. Often, the friends that you make in college are friends that last you a lifetime. So, while you want to encourage your child to study hard and make good grades, encourage them to have a little, safe fun along the way.

These are just a few ways that you can support your recently graduated high school student as they head off to college. Remember, while she is your little girl, the time has come to let go and let her become the great lady she is destined to be.