What Can Parents of College Students Do?

The best answer to the question, "What can parents of college-aged students do?" is to stay involved in their lives. Having a parent’s attention and involvement is especially important during the many changes that occur in a student’s first six weeks on campus. 

Parents should call their children frequently and ask them about their roommates, how they are getting along, what they are like, what type of new friends they are making and how are they dealing with studies and handling their schedules. It is also important to remember that this is the students' first time on their own and they may be enjoying their independence. Try to sound interested in their new lives without sounding like you are conducting an inquiry.

If there is an orientation program at the school for parents and students that deals with campus policies related to alcohol use, you should attend with your child. Make sure he or she understands the penalties for underage drinking, public drunkenness, using a fake identification, driving under the influence, assault and other alcohol-related offenses. It is also important that your child understand there are other problems that can occur because of alcohol misuse, such as date rape, violence and academic failure. 

As a parent, you need to understand the college’s parental notification policy, and indicate to your child that you have asked the college/university to keep you informed of infractions of school alcohol policies. Know the name of the person who is responsible for campus counseling programs. 

College students need to know that though they may be experiencing their first real taste of the adult world, they are also expected to take a major step towards being responsible for their own lives and their own safety. But it is also important for them to know that their parents are there to help them if they find themselves in a situation they can not handle.

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