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The transition from high school to college can often be more difficult for parents than their children. Parents are so used to being responsible for solving their children's problems that there is a tendency to continue doing so. Now that the last of your children are preparing or leaving college, you want to provide them with some advice without appearing to still treat them as children. 

Provide Helpful Suggestions about the Transition Process

This doesn't mean you want to tell your children to immediately call you if they feel they are not fitting in, but rather you want them to feel they can talk to you about the problems and seek your advice for overcoming obstacles. You want your student to feel comfortable about telling you what he or she is feeling and allowing you to provide helpful suggestions for overcoming the homesickness or stress that is part of the transition from high school to college. Offer suggestions about meeting new people if your student is having trouble in that area. Encourage him or her to engage in activities at college that will help to move forward in the career choice.

Reminders about On-Campus Help

When your student attends orientation, he or she will learn a great deal about campus life and the transition process. However, it is possible that with so much to learn the information will be lost within the cells of the brain within a short period of time. When you are talking to your child remind him or her of the places that are open when help is needed academically, medically, emotionally or just need someone to talk to. You want your child to feel comfortable calling you if lost, but you also want him or her to learn how to make decisions.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help

This is difficult even for high school students—they tend to fear admitting that they need help even from their teachers. There is a tendency for students to think their teachers should know when they are having trouble or that counselors know when they should intercede, but this is not reality by any means. Reinforce to your child the importance of asking for help when necessary. Remember, you will not have the same access to school records you did in high school because by the time a student is in college he or she has reached adulthood (in most cases). If you suspect your child is having trouble, remind him where he or she can go for help without appearing to pry. While you might make some inquiries, those calls should only be to provide your student with the information needed to move forward in seeking help for any problems.

Encourage Communication

You will not know if your student is having problems unless he or she feels comfortable talking to you. Remember, this is not high school, so you're not going to give a punishment for not doing homework, attending class or failing a test. However, you do want to make sure he or she understands the importance of doing those things and understands that the college years are meant to be both fun and educational but at the proper times.

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