Tips to Best Support a Successful College Student
Communication is key!
- Listen to what your student is sharing. This approach is a lot better than talking or asking a lot of questions
- Who is the student comfortable talking with?
- How do family dynamics take place?
Prepare for Independence
- Foster your student’s independence
Your student will need to manage their own time, and make independent decisions. You can be a sounding board if your student comes to you.
- Prepare to be more independent from your student
You will also need to be understanding of this new experience your student is going through. Help them by understanding they need to balance time between family, social, and academic obligations.
- Accommodate a new schedule
Intensity of college schedule. Very different schedule than high school. Class times throughout the day, but expected to do a lot of studying beyond class, when maybe they didn’t study as much for high school tests.
Going to college is a 40+ hour a week job!
4 classes x 3.5 hours= 14 of in class time
4 classes x 8 hours= 32 of study time Total: 46 hours
Students should also have time to get to know other students, and participate in activities. Work 10 hours maximum.
Students who are commuting should stay on campus as long as possible. Students who are living on campus should not be expected to come home each weekend.
- Connections with community = academic success
Know the general campus calendar & SCU quarter system: Weeks 3, 4, 5 and 6 midterms….Week 11 finals. Your student will need to disappear to study during certain times of the quarter
- Be prepared for changes
It is normal for students to change their career and major. Your student may begin to change their perspectives and priorities, and see a shift in various relationships. These are all normal, and show that your student is growing throughout their experience here at SCU.
- Support new interests:
Universities are structured for students to explore:
Core curriculum/core requirements: All students are required to take a set of classes that exposes them to various topics, subjects, etc. This helps students identify areas they are interested in, helps them gain a well-rounded education
There are also a variety of co-curricular and extracurricular activities: Academic clubs, immersion programs, study abroad, internships, service learning, campus events, research, multicultural clubs, fraternities/sororities, campus concerts, hanging out with friends
Through all of these outlets, students begin to discover new interests, new majors, new careers. Some will also discover that they struggle with courses, are not enjoying them, are not as well prepared as their peers.
We need to balance dreams with reality. We want to ensure that a college degree is not in jeopardy.
If they are determined, then there are options—like continuing classes to raise GPA after college to be able to go to grad school but they often take longer.
First-generation students are determined, resilient, put a lot of pressure on themselves, but are high achieving. While it might not take the path they chose at 6 years old, they do find the right paths for themselves and do well.
The ones who are most successful are those who are able to do what they love and have their parents’ support!
- Support financial planning:
Talk about finances as a family, help student learn to budget. Financially provide some support for student if possible.
If there are financial challenges, encourage them to talk with allies, find resources.
Up to 10 hours working a week on or off campus is a good amount for students.
Identify Resources & Activities
- Attend family events if possible
- Encourage student to find mentors on campus
- Students have ample resources at SCU
Multicultural centers, advising centers, tutoring centers, academic departments, faculty, counseling services, etc.
Encourage them to ask questions and find the support they need.
Should get involved in clubs, organizations, professional development opportunities to begin to feel a part of the community and enjoy what they are doing.