Tips for Parents & Families

A parents and families guide to transitioning to college life

The college application process is stressful for parents and family members, but remember it's just as stressful for the students. This is their future, and probably their first time out on their own in the world, so try to remain patient. Below are some more tips for dealing with the application and admission processes with your student or loved one as he or she embarks on the college journey.

The first mistake you can make in guiding your student toward higher education is to take over the process completely. The goal is for the student to own the process, in order to build self-confidence, accountability and responsibility. Try not to push when your student is making decisions about his or her college career. Gently guide on choosing an area of study or upcoming deadlines. Do not try to solve every problem for your student, but rather allow him or her to seek out the help and guidance needed from you and university resources to resolve the issue.

  • Always remain organized, and encourage your student to do the same.
  • Keep track of all paperwork, test scores and transcripts, as well as dates and deadlines. Again, remind your student that a deadline is approaching but do not push.

It's important to get an idea of the environment your student will be living in, and a feel for the surrounding Kutztown borough community. To help with this process:

  • Schedule a tour and visit to become better acquainted with the services and facilities provided at Kutztown University, as well as faculty, administration, and other students.
  • Always remember that this process is about your college student, not you.
  • Avoid comparing your student to other college-bound freshmen you know. Similarly, try not to project your desires onto your son or daughter, and always be supportive of him or her, even if you disagree with his or her choices and decisions.
  • Be patient as your child figures out just what it is that he or she would like to study.

It's hard at a young age to know just what you want to do with the rest of your life. Recall when you were 18, and whether or not you had a plan, followed that plan, or were forced into field of study or work by your parents.

After Acceptance (transition to life on campus)

It is believed that the first six weeks in the college environment are the most crucial in the adjustment from high school to college. Families often receive phone calls and messages from students during this time about coming home. Recognize that their new surroundings can be frustrating and frightening.

  • Though it may be difficult, encourage your student to stay.
  • Do not let him or her leave after just a week or so.
  • Urge your student to get involved with activities on campus and around the community that will enable him or her to meet other students in the same adjustment period.

For most students, this is the first time away from home, and the first time that they are completely responsible for their own care, so:

  • Prior to beginning at Kutztown University, you will want to prepare your student with the skills he or she will need to be successful. Your son or daughter will need to know how to do his or her own laundry. Be sure to teach your student prior to moving in.

Similarly, students are now responsible for making healthy and nutritious choices when it comes to dining. Research shows that many college freshmen gain weight for reasons such as unhealthy choices at university eateries, lack of exercise, and overeating because of stress.

  • Work with your student in planning meals, exercise routines, and managing stress to build a healthy lifestyle.
  • In keeping with the theme of personal responsibility, discuss budgeting and balancing a checkbook before the semester begins. The urge to buy novelty items, entertainment items for their room, and dining out on the town is hard to deny upon first arriving on campus. Speak to your student about spending categories such as supplies, food, etc., and the limits on each.
  • Help your student get into a routine of waking up with an alarm and getting ready for the day on time. Getting into a healthy sleep routine will help to alleviate that urge to sleep-in and skip class.
  • Finally, have a discussion with your student about smart decision making when living on their own. Emphasize how his or her choices can and will directly impact his or her education and future. Remind your student that smart decisions must also be made regarding the people with whom he or she associates.