Parents can be a valuable resource for college students

How your parents can help you through collegeWhen you’re thinking about your college career, never forget that your parents might be able to help you in any number of ways.

As you enter your late teens and early 20s, there is a natural tendency to break free of your parents’ control, and that is, for the most part, a productive part of growing up. But your parents can still be valuable resources in planning for college and finding success once you get there.1

Experience counts

The biggest reason your parents can help you with your college life is that they, or their friends and relatives, have probably been there before. If your parents attended college, their experience was probably very different than the one you are likely to have, but the knowledge they gained can still be extremely useful in terms of shaping your expectations.

As you start to consider such important decisions as which school to attend, what to study, how to pay for school and just general college lifestyle issues, make sure to use your parents as a resource. They probably made mistakes and learned from them, and they also likely made some great decisions that they can share with you.

Advice from a parent

If you’re looking for some specific advice from parents of college students, there are many examples out there. But just as you need to think critically about any information you come across, you should apply the same idea to parental college advice.

Here are some tips from parents that are valuable to keep in mind as you enter your college career:

  • Get enough sleep.2  Yes, your parents have probably been bugging you for years about sleeping in too late, but once you’re on your own and dealing with the stresses of college life, some extra sleep can be a precious commodity.
  • Exercise. For many people, college will be the first time they start worrying about physical fitness. In your teens you could do pretty much anything to your body you wanted without suffering any consequences. That will start to change. Get in the habit of exercising while you’re in college so it will be easier to keep up as you get older.
  • Learn to solve problems. Your professors and classmates will give you plenty of opportunities to become a better problem solver. It’s one of the most valuable skills you will learn in school.
  • Think deeply, not concretely, about which career you want to pursue. Whether it’s becoming an artist or a certified medical assistant, you will have time to figure out exactly what you want to do. Don’t feel pressured to make a decision when you’re 18 years old.

“Should College Students ‘Break up’ With Their Parents?” Minnesota Public Radio, May 14, 2012.
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/05/14/daily-circuit-helicopter-parents

Cloutier, Catherine, “Simple Advice for College Students from a Parent,” Boston.com, Sept. 30, 2013.
http://www.boston.com/mt/yourcampus/college-bound-boston/2013/09/simple_advice_for_college_stud.html

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