College is a new experience for freshmen, a time of transition. The first year college student is ready to become more independent of the family. Parents share the same hopes and goals for their children; they want their children to be happy, successful, and self-reliant. UWA recognizes parents as vital partners in the college search process and as “family members” once a student is enrolled. Here are a few guidelines that may be useful to you as your student transitions to UWA:
The college selection process signifies a milestone in your student's life; we suggest you play a great supporting role, not a leading role.
Familiarize yourself with admission and financial aid requirements as well as academic majors offered at UWA.
Avoid using “we” when referring to your student’s application and enrollment process.
Encourage a minimum of one visit (to include you) to campus. Be sure to include any special requests you may have as part of the visit.
Do not call every day
So many students have their own cell phones and it is tempting to want to keep in touch. Please start now in cutting the apron strings and talking only a few times a week. No freshman student wants mommy or daddy checking up on them daily. Let your child know that you trust him or her.
Use email to talk
College students are extremely busy and emails let you talk back and forth at one another’s convenience.
Have a discussion about Facebook and Twitter
These websites can have a lasting effect on a person’s life, and what is posted there is forever archived to follow the student throughout his or her life. Have a talk with your child so that they are aware of the effect of these sites.
Encourage them to take over the daily tasks of their lives if they haven’t already. Every residence hall has a laundry room. Every student is expected to keep a tidy room and bathroom. Some campuses offer valet services to do laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping. We do not. We believe these are things that students should be doing themselves and are an important part of college and young adult life.
College is more than classes and homework. Experience with extracurricular activities is valued by employers. Encourage your child to be active in their field of study and to join clubs and honor societies.
Send them something
Most college students know what time the mail arrives. Even if its just an old picture of them or a short note saying how proud you are of them. SEND SOMETHING and put a smile on their face. Most college students are poor and cannot afford to keep replenishing toiletries and school supplies they constantly need. So send a bag of toiletries or a box of school supplies.
Have a discussion about alcohol and drugs
Colleges are very strict about these two things. Suspension from the university occurs if there is a significant amount of drugs involved. Although we make this information known widely and talk it up constantly, many students violate these policies and are sent packing. We hate to do this and you hate for it to happen. Students simply need to honor our commitment to a drug and alcohol free environment and upholding federal law.
Talk about credit cards and finances before school begins
We encourage parents to have a frank discussion about finances with their students. Will the student have a credit card? Should a parent be a co-signer and get copies of the statements? Banks bombard college students with credit card offers. They start with low spending limits but raise them rapidly. As cards are used as a result, students can get over their heads in debt and even ruin their credit ratings before they graduate. Make an educated decision on banking and credit cards.
Be interested, not critical, on course selection
Colleges have course selection and degree requirements that need to be addressed during the student’s first year. Generally academic advisors give advice on selecting these courses. Parents are advised to express interest in rather than show criticism of the child’s choices.