Four Conversations You Need to Have This Weekend

August is upon us! School will be starting again in just a few short weeks. Here are four conversations you need to have with your student this weekend:

1. Encourage Self-Sufficiency

If you are the parent of a “traditional aged” student, your son/daughter is becoming an adult. Now is the time for them to start taking the lead on decisions that impact them and learn how to advocate for themselves. Unexpected things happen, so please share that we’re just a phone call away in the Center for New Students and can answer any questions they have. 

2. Make Financially Responsible Decisions

As a college student, even for those living at home and commuting to school, there will likely be new expenses such as transportation costs, tuition, books, etc. Sit down with your son/daughter before school starts and discuss who will be responsible for what expenses. Teach them an essential life skill: how to create a budget! This is also a good time to talk to them about using credit cards responsibly. It is not uncommon for college students to get in over their heads with high interest credit card debt.

3. Find a Balance

Time management in college is different than in high school. In college, less time is spent in the classroom, but more time is typically needed outside of the classroom to study, write papers, and prepare for tests. Is your college student working while going to school? Do they have other responsibilities to consider? Encourage them to map out their schedule to show when they are in class, working or involved in extracurricular activities, and then block out study time. Encourage them to not overextend themselves. Gently remind them: They are not machines. They need to sleep. Fun and relaxation are necessary to recharge. 

4. Grades Are Important

Discuss ahead of time whether or not you expect to see your son/daughter’s grades. Your college student can use Harper Access to grant you permission to view their grades and/or other information. As a parent of a college student, maintain a balance of encouraging your son/daughter to maintain a strong grade point average but also understand that they need to take ownership of the process of getting the grades that they need to reach their academic goals.