Going to College: A Guide for Parents

Emily E. Martin - August 14, 2014

Move-in day is around the corner! We’re sharing some helpful tips to keep you and your soon-to-be college student happy and healthy during the days, weeks, and months ahead.

 Another family smiles during Carlow University move-in day. 

It's almost here: Carlow University move-in day! We know that move-in day is often a family affair, and whether it's for the first or last time, we wanted to pass along some tips for making the most out of this special moment in your lives.

Attend our special "Just for Families" orientation program. 
It includes a mock lecture, tips for helping your student settle into college life, and information on how to give your student space during the first year of college while still showing support and staying in their life.

Be involved, but don't overwhelm your student. 
Orientation is exhausting, and it's just the beginning of one of the most important transitions of your student's young life. The first few weeks of college will be exhilarating, scary, and fun, and there will be plenty of stories to share when the time is right-but resist the temptation to ask about every little detail immediately! And when you do talk, ask broad questions. "How are your classes?" is a much better icebreaker than "When is your first assignment due?"   

Carlow student smiles for the camera while unloading her van during move-in day.

Smile! 
Orientation (and especially move-in day) can be emotional for students and parents alike. Try to stay upbeat and smile through it all! Remember that everyone here at Carlow-professors, RAs, counselors, administrators, and staff-wants your student to succeed. Remind your student of this, and encourage her to make the most of the resources at her disposal by asking for help when it's needed. But say it with a smile and a pat on the back!

If you haven't already, have a talk about money. 
Financing a college education is a serious undertaking, and one of the largest investments we make in our lifetime. Before that first class starts, have a talk with your student about sticking to a budget-because books and clothes and the occasional late-night pizza can add up. Encourage your student to be smart about spending. He'll thank you for it later!

Family smiles during Carlow University move-in day

Encourage your student to get involved from the get-go. 
New Student Orientation isn't just icebreaking and getting-to-know-you fluff, it's the cornerstone of a rich social life here at Carlow University, and it's where your son or daughter will meet many of his or her lifelong friends, business partners, and mentors. Encourage them to participate in NSO-because college is about more than just classes and homework!

Being a parent of a college student is a delicate dance, and we at Carlow know that just because your son or daughter is a college student doesn't mean that you don't still have lots of work to do! It's up to you and your student to figure out what style of communication and participation works best for your family. We can only hope that through it all you'll continue to smile and celebrate these changes together-because believe it or not, graduation day is right around the corner!

Find out more about Carlow's undergraduate orientation  
Not a freshman? Find out more about transfer, graduate, and adult undergraduate orientation programs today.