You may see significant changes during your student’s college career. Realize this is the time your student will begin the process of becoming an adult. Be patient and supportive as your student goes through this change. Guide them in their times of struggle, but also realize this is a time for them to learn how to stand on their own two feet
Stay informed and familiarize yourself with campus resources.
At first, when a student has a question or concern, they will turn to home. Staying informed of campus events and campus resources can make you a terrific partner in your student’s education. Regularly explore the university calendar, The Northern Star (NIU’s campus newspaper), and resources like the Huskie Family Connection to arm yourself with information.
Encourage your student to get involved on campus.
Transitioning from home to NIU can be difficult. Encourage your student to become involved on campus. Discuss the availability of student organizations, volunteer opportunities, and intramural sports before your student leaves for campus.
Seek out university contacts if you have questions.
If you need advice on how to handle a specific issue with your student, seek out staff members from campus offices, such as the Office of Student Academic Success or Huskie Family Connections. They can provide you with answers and support. Realize, though, administrators and faculty are only allowed to relay certain information due to federal regulations (FERPA).
Use your listening skills.
When your student finds themselves in a challenging situation they may turn to you as a source of support and guidance. As this occurs, keep an open mind and try to understand the situation. Careful listening is important. Help your student work through the situation, but allow them to take action.
Encourage your student to get to know faculty members.
Going to college can be an intimidating experience, and your student may be afraid to ask for help from a professor. Encourage your student to take advantage of faculty office hours. Assure them that professors are there to help students succeed.
Visit - but not too often.
Although your student may not directly invite you, visits from home are often appreciated. Family Weekends are great opportunities to visit and participate in a variety of on-campus activities. A campus visit will also give you a chance to meet your student’s friends, see where your student’s classes are, and gain an understanding of their life at college.
Stay in touch.
As your student begins their collegiate journey it is important for them to still feel connected to home. Keeping your student informed of family events and the well being of siblings and other family members is important and will help them feel included.