Have a frank conversation about your student's budget for the year. Setting a plan will better direct smart financial practices. If this is not one of your strong points, encourage your student to meet with a staff member at Student Financial Services when they arrive on campus. Things to consider:
At Colorado State, your student's well-being is of our utmost concern. Staying healthy can sometimes be challenging for busy college students. It is known that stress is the number one health factor impacting academic success. Knowing stress will likely be something your student will deal with, you can:
New students often feel an amazing amount of independence during their first semester. You may find your student testing boundaries and exploring new beliefs and behaviors. Sometimes, however, they are unaware of the consequences of their decisions.
Talk openly with your student about attending parties, alcohol and drug use, sexual decisions, safety and peer pressure. Although these conversations can be tough, they are extremely important. Families have more influence than they realize when it comes to students making positive decisions about such life issues. Research shows that the impact of such discussions, just prior to starting college, leads to lower alcohol consumption during college students' first year. Further, these talks lower the risk that students will experience Check out the following resources:
Unfortunately, there may be times when your student is not feeling well or needs assistance. Know that Colorado State has medical, counseling and health education and prevention services on campus through the CSU Health Network.
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) - The State of Colorado requires all universities with on-campus housing to have each student provide proof of two Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) shots. The first one must have been given on or after their first birthday. To verify that your student has this immunization, immunizations records can be found at your student's high school, doctor's office, previous college, or in your personal records (it must have dates and signatures). If your student doesn't have records, the CSU Health Network offers the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) shot. (It will not hurt your student to receive an additional MMR shot if they have not had one within the past 30 days.) They also have the legal right to sign an exemption so they don't have to receive an MMR shot.
Meningitis and the Meningococcal Vaccine - Scientific evidence suggests that college students living in residence halls are at a modestly increased risk of contracting meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection that can be passed person to person by oral secretions. It is estimated that 100-125 cases of meningococcal disease occur annually on college campuses in the U.S. A meningococcal vaccine is offered year-round by the CSU Health Network and also at Preview for new incoming first year students. All students and families should be aware of this new recommendation from the CDC: anyone who received the meningococcal vaccination prior to their 16th birthday should receive a booster dose. (Anyone who received their first dose after age 16 does not need a booster.)
For detailed information about these and other immunizations, check out Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vaccines and Immunizations.
You will learn about many of the resources that Colorado State offers its students. This information will prove useful in supporting your student throughout their first year. Advise your student to check their RamWeb RAMweb and email accounts frequently for important information. RAMwamWeb is the main venue of communication for CSU.
Understand that in their conversations with you, they may talk about their adjustment to their academic load, expectations of college professors, living with a roommate and new freedoms. Work to listen before passing judgment or trying to "fix" their problems. Ask them open-ended questions and encourage them to seek support on campus. If college classes overwhelm them, mention the need to talk with their professor during their office hours and with their academic advisor. If they are struggling to find a common bond with their roommate, make sure they are sharing those concerns with their roommate. Encourage talking with their Resident Assistant, Assistant Resident Director, or their Resident Director about their concerns.
With all of the newness, many students feel homesick, even if they are still living at home. Make sure to stay in communication with your student; send e-mails, call, send care packages and show your interest. Even if they do not always respond, they enjoy knowing that you care.
Call ahead before showing up to their new residence. Make sure to continue sharing news of events occurring in the family so they still feel connected. If your student is commuting, have a family dinner night or a message board where they can stay in touch with you. Counseling is available on campus; encourage your student to visit with a counselor if they are having a tough time adjusting to the campus environment.
Encourage your student to get involved. This is an excellent way for them to feel connected. During the first few weeks on campus, they will have opportunities to learn about involvement opportunities through multiple venues. Ask them about which clubs and organizations they are thinking of joining. Research shows that students who get involved graduate at a higher rate and often do better academically.
In each class, students will receive a syllabus which outlines the expectations, assignments and test dates for the semester. Encourage your student to keep a calendar/planner and map out how and when they are going to complete assignments, find time to study, be involved in various activities. Make sure they weave in some down time to stay balanced. Discuss the importance of becoming part of class study groups and chatting with upperclassmen about strategies for success. Students should plan ahead - procrastination will stress them out and negatively affect their academic performance.
Each professor has set office hours. This is a great time for your student to ask questions. If your student has another commitment during scheduled office hours, encourage him or her to contact the professor for an appointment.
Students need to connect regularly with their academic advisor. Your student should find out where their office is and what their office hours are, and should visit early in the semester to begin to build a relationship. This person will be instrumental in keeping them on track towards graduation.
Many students will try to balance a full load of classes with work, family commitments, involvement opportunities and a social life. There are always a plethora of other things to do besides study. Again, encourage your student to keep a calendar/planner and map out time for classes, studying, involvement and de-stressing time for themselves.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (also known as the Buckley Amendment) is a federal law that limits the amount of information that can be released about students to people outside the University without students' specific written permission.
To comply with FERPA, follow the guidelines that are practiced at Colorado State University. There are release forms students can fill out to give family members partial or full access to their records. Many families find that they do not need to sign a release statement because they are able to talk with each other about grades, finances, etc. Deciding whether or not to sign the release forms will be something you and your student will need to discuss.
By now your student has experienced their first tests/papers for each of their classes. Did they feel prepared? Have they balanced their time and been able to study? If they feel they did not do well, this is a good time to recommend that they seek help. There are many resources on our campus to help students academically. The Center for Advising and Student Achievement is an excellent resource to help students succeed in the classroom. Encourage your student to make an appointment.
Your student should also be setting into the semester and beginning to feel more at home. Again, if you get a sense that they may be struggling or need someone to talk to, encourage them to visit CSU Health Network Counseling Services on campus.
Your student may find it challenging to connect with high school friends who are attending another college or have gone on to the work force. They may not find the same things in common anymore. Allow your student to voice their frustrations and understand this is part of the transition.
Students will be re-applying for financial aid in the spring for the following academic year. Make sure they stay on top of the deadlines. Students should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after March 1. Student Financial Services can help, if you have questions.
Discuss their future plans and options. Many students are still not aware of what they want to major in. Encourage them to meet with their academic advisor again and to stop by the Career Center to discuss career exploration. It is completely normal for students to still be undeclared at the end of their first-year, but it is important that they are using campus resources to focus on finding a major.
Your student needs you. Encourage them to communicate with you about their new life. You have been important and will continue to be important to them. Keep the door open. Sometimes the conversations may be hard to hear, as they are further exploring their values and beliefs. Use Students as Emerging Adults: A Transitions Guide for Parents & Families to ask open-ended questions to support your student and refrain from judgment. Access the resources offered to you at orientation and encourage your student to seek the resources they need to be successful.
High School - Students have multiple opportunities to ask their teacher's questions outside of class. Teachers are more diligent about keeping students up-to-date on assignments.
College - Professors set up a few office hours per week. They do not remind students of work, but distribute a course syllabus at the beginning of the semester to inform students of important dates and expectations.
High School - Families can access grades and progress reports on-line or schedule meetings with teachers.
College - FERPA regulations will not allow faculty members to discuss a student's progress with a family member unless a student has given that family member access to their records.
High School - Attendance is mandatory and there are strict penalties for missing class.
College - There will be classes where attendance is taken and others where the professor does not take attendance. It is the student's responsibility to attend class and stay on top of assignments.
High School - Students have limited freedom. Family members have much more control over the decisions a student makes.
College - Students have much more freedom and the decisions they make can have serious consequences.
High School - Students have a much more controlled schedule and their family environment can help them stay on track.
College - There are many opportunities to be distracted. Time management and learning to balance one's commitments becomes even more important.
High School - Students tend to follow their families' values.
College - Students have the opportunity to interact with others from different backgrounds and value bases. Their value system may change.
Source: University of Nevada-Reno Family Handbook
The following is a list of a few of the plethora of books written on the college student/family transition process. For a more comprehensive list, research your local library, bookstore or look on-line. Colorado State does not recommend or endorse any of the following books or any of their contents.