Parent Posts

Staying involved, on and off campus

By Diane Schwemm with Priscilla Childress

There are so many ways parenting a college student differs from the younger years.

Like this? Get timely and helpful tips in your inbox each week!
High School Parent | College Parent

Remember all those games/concerts/performances you watched, and how you actually knew the other kids/coaches/instructors? And parent-teacher conferences — my sons attend a large public high school, but a few times a year I do get to sit across a table from their teachers and discuss their progress, challenges, and goals.

Don’t get me wrong — I am very okay with my blissful ignorance about most of the nitty gritty details of my college sophomore’s daily life. (Emphasis on “gritty” — when I visited him recently, he warned me, before showing me around his new dorm, “My room is messy.” No, really? I am shocked, shocked!) I know what courses he is taking, but not where and when they meet, or what his classroom experiences are like. I’ve heard about awesome professors and track coaches but haven’t met them (and likely never will). Drop me in the middle of the main quad of his Massachusetts campus 2,000 miles away and I could find my way to major landmarks — the dining hall, library, and athletic fields — but would be stumped if asked to locate the student health center or the science building where he works as a teaching assistant.

Again, this is as it should be. He is living his own life now, and learning to be capable and independent. But I would love to feel more connected to his school — to understand and appreciate it more fully, and to support its mission. How do parents of college students engage?

Turns out, there are many ways. Schools truly appreciate parental contributions (and not just financial ones). Expert Priscilla Childress suggests these opportunities to volunteer and be supportive both on and off campus:

  • Attend family events on campus The Office of Parent and Family Programs at your student’s school plans many events to help parents reconnect with their students and enjoy all the campus has to offer: Family Weekend, Grandparents Day, and Siblings Weekend, to name a few. Special parent receptions are often part of other campus-wide events such as Homecoming Weekend.
  • Sign up to get the latest news — Make sure to sign up for the e-newsletter if there is one. Many schools capitalize on the popularity of social networking by hosting a parent Facebook fan page and/or parent Pinterest board.
  • Join the Parent Association — The Parent Association (or Parent Council) is a great way to meet fellow parents and find out how to help out, on campus or from a distance, as well as to support the annual Parent Fund.
  • Volunteer to host a summer send-off for new students Summer roundups and send-offs are a chance for incoming freshmen to meet other students, recent alums, and sometimes representatives from the college before the school year starts. These get-togethers are key for parents, too. Families who live in the same area can connect with each other and share useful information.
  • Sign up to be a parent ambassador Parent ambassadors are needed to help with campus events and to be resources for new parents throughout the year. What a great way to share what you’ve learned about parenting a college student!
  • Volunteer with the Career Center Offer to assist the Career Center as a mentor. Support students by sharing your expertise in resume writing, by coaching them in the interview process, or by offering to sponsor an internship at your place of work, or host an intern in your home.
  • Attend theatre productions, dance recitals, and athletic events Even if your own student isn’t a participant, college and university productions offer wonderful entertainment and are a fun way to spend time with your student. Enjoy an afternoon cheering on the school’s student athletes.

These are just a few ideas for getting involved. Check with your student’s college or university to discover more!

Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter and purchase the Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year for additional tips, insight, and to help your college student succeed. You may also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our Community Forum and College Parents’ Facebook group.

School Information

Housing, hotels,
important dates, and more.

Recent Articles
RSS What’s Trending
First Job Search Tips

Log In

or

Log In to Favorite articles and Post listings

Enter College Name to See Local Results

Log In

Contact Us

Forgot your password?

Your new password has been sent to your email!

Logout Successful!

Find Your School

You just missed it! This listing has been filled.

Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
OR
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Please enter First Name Please enter Last Name Please enter Phone
Please enter Email
Please enter Message

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

Please enter Email

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.

Success, your registration has been submitted

An email has been sent to you with a link to verify your registration
Image not available.
By clicking Get Started or Sign In you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service

Get our newsletter

Email Submitted

Weekly Tips to Help Your Student Succeed