Lehigh Valley

Life Lessons: Survival tips for parents of new college freshmen

Life Lessons Tips for parents of new college freshmen

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lots of new college freshmen are setting out on campuses across the country.

Studies show nearly 25 percent of students at four-year institutions drop out. What can parents do?

Maybe you remember your parents driving away and leaving you on a college campus but today with texting and email, parents can be much more involved in the day to day college experience.

But how much is too much and how can you be supportive but still let your child develop independently?

Allison Ragon is Director of the First Year Experience at Lehigh University. She says families need a plan for how they will communicate. It is something that should be discussed before the students goes off to college.

" You need to decide what the expectations are for communication, how often are you going to communicate what methods are you going to use," says Ragon.

Freshman Sara Grogan loves it at Lehigh University but it can't be easy on her parents back in Colorado.

Sara says, " I think they're missing me . I will get texts from my dad saying call me when you get the chance."

As Sara journeys into her new life, so does her family. Ragon cautions parents to expect to hear the worst of everything in the first few weeks but things may not actually be that bad.

"Just know that your student is probably going to share the hard parts of their transition because you're the comfort zone but eventually they'll share the good things too so when you get off the phone take it with a grain of salt," Ragon says.

She says wait a while and see if your child is still upset about the same issues.

She says:
*Don't be too involved
*Expect change
*Don't try to solve their problems for them
*Don't ask if them if they're homesick

Ragon explains, "Sometimes they're doing just fine and if you plant that seed that maybe they should be homesick, are they homesick and they wonder what's happening at home are they missing things and that can be tough on them."

She says if they bring it up, it's okay to listen to their concerns but be as encouraging as you can.

She says you should also trust them to find their own way.

Student Sara Grogan says she is doing just fine.

" It's just so different and I feel like I'm becoming a new person. It's totally out of my comfort zone and I love it."

Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for help.

Most colleges and universities have experts who can answer questions and give you guidelines.

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