As we begin the first full week of the fall semester here are some tips that parents may find helpful!
Asst. Vice President
Office of New Student Programs, College of Charleston
Top 10 List of Do’s and Don’ts for Parents
- Do discuss how much contact is expected each week. Parents and students should determine a communication plan that is comfortable for both parties. Avoid calling just to keep tabs on your student and incorporate the use of text messaging and/or social media. Be mindful that you don’t go overboard with the texting, tweeting, and use of social media – just brief messages of encouragement and support spaced throughout the week will be adequate. Remember just because you do not get an immediate response from your student does not mean your message was ignored or unappreciated.
- Don’t insist that your student takes certain courses or major in a specific area because you think it is best for them. It is important that students make their own decisions about the courses they want to take and when to take these courses. Students should choose a major based on what they feel passionate about and not because of professional prestige, power, or income potential. Academic advisors are available to help guide your student in the right direction regarding their academic plans and selecting a major. Trust that your student will follow their recommendations and make wise choices.
- Do make sure that your student is aware of important academic and financial deadlines. Information from professors, academic deadlines, financial aid notifications, and semester bills are emailed to the student’s campus email account. Students are responsible for checking their campus email and meeting deadlines as required.
- Don’t complete technical or academic tasks for your student such as making password changes in MyCharleston, reading and replying to campus email, logging into the OAKS classroom as your student, writing papers, or completing assignments. If your student is experiencing problems with logging in or their campus email refer your student to email@example.com or the student computing blog at http://blogs.cofc.edu/scs/. It is important that your student complete technical tasks and course assignments on their own in order for them to learn!
- Do refer your student to the resources available on campus. At the first sign of difficulty, academically or personally, ask your student if they have sought the help from professionals on campus. Faculty and staff from the Academic Advising & Planning Center, the Center for Student Learning, the Counseling Center, the Career Center, Undergraduate Academic Services, or Residence Life (resident assistant or residence hall director) are available to help your students with these issues. Encourage your student to utilize professors’ office hours to discuss issues in a particular course. Refrain from calling a professor to inquire about your student’s academic progress, explain course assignments, or debate a grade your student may receive.
- Don’t rescue your student to resolve problems when things are difficult. A part of growing up and becoming independent is learning how to take care of things on your own. Being able to handle the challenge of navigating through the college experience is an invaluable life lesson and a personal confidence builder for your student. It is good to support, encourage, and guide but limit intervening on behalf of your student unless their safety, health, or mental well-being is in danger.
- Do become familiar with the inner workings of the institution. As a result, when your student calls home for help, you will be able to counsel them through the system as opposed to parents tackling administrative or academic issues.
- Don’t assume that the story you hear from your student is totally complete and accurate. Always listen carefully, ask specific questions, hear all sides of the story and inquire with all parties involved before confronting an administrator, faculty member, or another student. Remember every student has parents or guardians concerned about their transition and adjustment to the College of Charleston. Although some situations may require parents to intervene don’t rush to judge another student or parent without knowing the facts.
- Do talk with your student about grades. Communicate clear expectations about academic progress and how you expect to be informed of midterm and final grades. Grades can be viewed by logging into MyCharleston. Please note that FERPA regulations prevent faculty and staff from releasing grade information to anyone other than the student.
- Don’t drive or fly down to campus, encourage your student to come home, or suggest transferring somewhere else at the first sign of unhappiness. Your student will go through many emotions, especially during their first year. Students may experience difficulty finding a peer support group and feeling like they fit into their collegiate environment. Many students experience anxiety and feel unsure about the choice they made to attend a particular college. Encourage your student to consider campus employment, clubs and organizations, or intramural sports to meet others with similar interests. Using the fitness center, eating in the dining hall, and attending residence hall events are also good opportunities to meet other students. The anxiety about their decision will pass in time as they begin to adjust to their surroundings and establish a campus support system. Transferring to another institution is not always the answer to easing their uncertainty or being happy.