September brings an end to summer and the start of autumn: cooler temperatures, changing leaves, football games and homecoming. Historically, homecoming is a time for graduates to return to their alma mater, relive some of their younger years, and share what they have been doing lately. For many parents of college children this will be the first time you have seen your child since they left this summer for school. It’s exciting to hear about the latest chapter in your child’s life. It is also a great time to discuss successes or failures in college thus far and help students focus their studies.
College has three major aspects: academics, social life, and preparation for professional life. To be successful students it’s helpful for students to understand how each of these aspects are different than the K-12 experience. Here are a few key points about each area and some questions to use in guiding the discussion.
College and university professors are very different than K-12 teachers. Teaching is only one part of the job while researching and writing on their area of study is another. Because of this it is very important for students to communicate with the professors, develop a relationship early on, and determine the specific class expectations.
There is very little “homework” in college so students need to regularly study and learn on their own. Students need to understand each syllabus and know exactly how each class is graded.
QUESTIONS TO ASK:
• Have you received any grades yet? (If their grade is low encourage them to meet with their professor as soon as possible.)
• What study techniques have you been trying?
• Are there other students in your classes that you like to study with?
There needs to be a balance between social life and school. Being either too social or not social enough can cause problems. Creating a study schedule each week making school work a priority is a necessity.
QUESTIONS TO ASK:
• What are you doing when not in class or studying?
• Have you found a church group yet?
• What has been your highlight so far?
• Have you met anyone that you enjoy spending time with?
The third reason to go to college is to get a job after graduation. Exploring options through a variety of classes helps to determine a student’s passion for various vocations. Encourage your student to think about finding a research positions during the regular school year or during summer break in the field of study he might enjoy. This is a great way to discover new career options.
QUESTIONS TO ASK:
• What is your favorite class so far?
• Have you learned anything new that you may want to study further?
But as a warning to moms and dads, do not come on too strong! Take the time to be alone with your child and listen. You want to hold them accountable to do their best and learn but this is their college experience. Help guide them through the ups and downs. Even though kids are considered adults and on their own, they need to know you are always there for them, are interested in their future and love them unconditionally.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Proverbs 11:14 ESV
By Megan Stone, M.Ed.
Wife to Rick
Mom of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of Stone Foundations of Learning, Inc.
Author of Own Your Education: A Student’s Guide to Greater Success in School (And Life)
Contact Megan for one-on-one academic coaching or a parent seminar.
Check out Megan’s book,
Own Your Education: A Student’s Guide to Greater Success in (And Life)