As you prepare for your student to attend the University of Dallas, we know that YOU are probably going through some transitions and adjustments yourself. With that in mind, we share the following suggestions to help make your student's adjustment (and yours) smooth and healthy.
Listen: Allow your student to share his/her feelings and expectations about all of the new experiences college life will bring. Encourage your student to share both the excitement and concerns with you without reserving judgment by simply allowing your son or daughter to just talk.
Inquire: It is understandable that your student may be hesitant to share with you pre-college apprehensions and some experiences during the first year of college. Therefore it is important to ask about those subjects that your student might feel uncomfortable talking about. While you will probably ask how classes are going, you should also inquire about his or her social relationships (new friends, roommate(s), or romantic relationships). Ask your student about weekend activities and the choices he or she has made in regards to alcohol and drugs. Even though your student may not share everything with you, it is helpful for him or her to know that you are willing to discuss these topics should the need arise.
Support: Learn about the various resources available to the students at the University of Dallas. Regardless of the situation which your student might encounter, there is always someone on UD's campus that can help. Letting your student know that you have confidence in his or her abilities will greatly enhance your student's confidence. Phone calls, emails, cards and care packages are great ways to show you care and stay connected.
Suggest: Make suggestions when appropriate. Even though it is important for first year students to solve problems on their own, sometimes they need a point in the right direction. Be prepared to help your student find the resources needed to help. It is an important step in maturation for students to solve problems on their own; do not overstep this boundary and handle matters for them.
Share: Share your thoughts and feelings about your student's college experiences. Talk about your expectations regarding academics and behavior before your student leaves for college to avoid problems in the future.
Accept: College is a time of change for many students. Your student will continue to develop opinions and thoughts on a variety of issues and topics. Accept your student's emerging independence. He or she may decide on a major different than what you had recommended, or may adopt a different political view. Engaging in constructive dialogue will strengthen your relationship even though your opinions may differ.
Understand: Understand that everyone makes mistakes. Try not to overreact when your student makes a mistake, as this will discourage him or her from sharing information with you. Reacting calmly to adverse situations and supporting your student through any pitfalls will set a good precedent for communication throughout college life.