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College Parent Tips: Visit Your College Student
College Parent Tips: Visit Your College Student. Parent Weekends are coming soon and it is time for your first visit to see your college student. I have put together this list of 10 Things to do when you visit your college student to help you encourage them and make your visit a success for everyone. Read on for the College Parent Tips: Visit Your College Student.
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College Parent Tips: Visit Your College Student
Whether you are planning to attend a Parent Weekend or not, you should plan a visit sometime in their first semester. Moving away from home, making all new friends, having a roommate, and adjusting to college academics are stressful. If you can help them make this first semester a success, they will be much better set up for the rest of their time at college. Here are some ideas for things you can do together.
10 Things to Do When You Visit Your College Student:
- The number one thing they want to do is eat somewhere besides the college cafeteria. They also don't want to have to pay for this dining experience. So, Take them to Dinner. Take them somewhere that has the kind of food they like and will truly be a treat for them. One of my proudest moments as a parent was taking my son to a restaurant where he ordered a big juicy steak and the grilled vegetables. He ate every bite of the steak and the vegetables and said, “These are the best vegetables!” Sometimes a diet of pizza, hamburgers, the meat of the day, and floppy, overcooked veggies in the cafeteria make them really appreciate a good vegetable.
- Meet at least one of their friends. And, no matter what you think of this friend, be positive and friendly. Do not say one negative thing about this person unless you think they are a threat to your child's health or safety. If this friend's parents are not in town, invite the friend to go to dinner with you.
- Ask your student to show you something on campus – anything – it doesn't matter. Ooh and Aah over it. No comments like, “The fountain at my alma mater is much bigger, and while we are on the subject, why didn't you choose my alma mater?” Every campus has something unique. We always enjoyed visiting the bears when our son was at Baylor.
- Explore something in their new town. We have been more than blessed to have places to visit in our kids' college towns. One son is in Austin and there is more to see and do there than we will ever have time for in four years. Our oldest went to Baylor and one of the most popular TV shows in the country at that time (“Fixer Upper”) was filmed there. I have been to the Magnolia Silos about 10 times. Our Baylor Bear is now at NYU for a master's degree. We will never run out of cool things to do and brag about in New York City. Your kids truly want you to be as engaged in and excited about their school and new home as they are. Give them that gift.
- Go to a campus sporting event if your child likes sports. Wear their colors and logos. You can do this! My husband grew up in Norman, Oklahoma and even he has donned some burnt orange and cheered for the Longhorns. I don't think he has sung along to the “Eyes of Texas” or made a Longhorn sign, but our son knows we love him more than we love any other school to which we are affiliated.
- Go to the campus store and buy something. Get yourself a “My daughter's school” coffee mug or car sticker. Point out the things you like in the store because every Christmas and birthday gift you receive in the next 4 years will come from this store 😉
- Bring them their favorite item from home if you can transport it. My boys love the donuts from a particular shop in Tulsa. I have not figured out how to get one to them without it going stale yet, but you may have a better item. They also love Quick Trip. Not sure how to get that to them either…. Right now they are having to settle for getting those things when they come home. In any case, bring a small gift of some sort – a food they like or a gift card.
- If they are off-campus, take them grocery shopping and pay for it. I think this may be our sons favorite activity when mom and dad come to town. Even if they are on campus, you could take them to buy a few essentials for their room.
- Ask them how you can help them succeed? You could phrase it like, “If you could change one thing right now, what would it be?” It may or may not be something you can fix (for example: a roommate issue), but you can talk them through it, let them vent, and encourage them in the situation. Don't march into the dean's office or the resident assistant's room and try to fix issues for your child. They are an adult now. They need you to help them brainstorm ways they can improve their own situation, not fix it for them. If they say their bike tire is flat, help them fix it!
- The number one thing to do during your visit is to BE POSITIVE. Whatever went on that brought them to this college, it is done now. Whatever disagreements you have had in the past, put them aside. The more positive you are to be around, the more they will want to be around you. If you nag, criticize, and constantly make suggestions, they will not want to be with you. They will not call. They will not text. They will not come home. Be someone they want to see and confide in.
The first year of college is tough for both the parent and the new college student. It is a year of adjusting to new everything. They need to know you are in their corner. Unless it is absolutely unavoidable, do not bring up your own stress or issues that you think need correcting in their lives. Some things they may have to learn through experience. Have a fun time with them and use the ideas in the 10 Things to Do When You Visit Your College Student List.
During the times you are not able to visit, send them Care Packages! For ideas: Awesome College Care Packages
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