Parent Magazine

Advice for Parents—From Students

They really do want your input on laundry and managing money. It’s just that they don’t want it every day. We asked current students for their advice to parents of undergraduates. Some of their tips might surprise you, some might not, but all will be useful as you navigate life with a child in college.

George Frimpong, of St. Paul, Minnesota, shares a move-in day hug with his daughter Melinda (COM’15). Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Trust the work you’ve put into raising your child. By now they know right from wrong; for that, give yourself a pat on the back. Sure, they are going to hit some snags in the road, but isn’t that what the college experience is about—learning by experience?–Brandon Epstein (CGS’12, COM’14, CAS’14)

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The best way to show you care is to be interested and inquire about their new community and their life away from home. Every parent wants to give advice to their son or daughter, but the only way to make it valuable and relevant is to find out where your son or daughter needs help. I was shrinking my clothes and using fabric softener as detergent until my mom finally asked, “So, how is laundry going?”–Miles Greene (CAS’13)

Facebook logoGet a Facebook account. Over the course of my freshman year, Facebook was the best way to keep my parents in the loop—and for them to share things with me—because it was something I was already in the habit of doing.–Molly Tobin (CAS’15) [Editors note: Don’t forget to become a fan of the Parents Program, too.]

Care packageSend care packages regularly. They can really turn a gray day into a great day.–Dexter L. McCoy (COM’14)

We know you love us, but learn to let go a little. BU provides us with a lot of incredible experiences and we don’t have time to call every day. Don’t worry; we’ll call you and text you to let you know how much fun we’re having!–Rachel Ann Jensen (SED’14)

Academically speaking, your children may not do as well as they (or you) planned during their first semester. Talk to them about where they may need improvement and what they plan to do to succeed. Encourage them to visit the Educational Resource Center or to speak with faculty during office hours; both are excellent resources to help your child succeed in difficult classes.–Sekani Allen (CAS’13)

Keep in touch. The first few weeks at college can be overwhelming, and it can be easy for students to find their hands full and lose track of time. It may also be a good idea to discuss using ShareLink on the University’s Student Link to keep track of their meal plan, convenience points, and grades for the semester.–Kevin Flynn (CAS’14)

A bowl of nachosWhen you visit, take your student and his or her friends to Sunset Cantina for nachos. It’s always fun to meet other people’s parents, and Sunset’s nachos are the best. My personal favorite is the South of the Border nachos with BBQ pulled pork and extra guacamole.–Colin O’Neill (CGS’12, SED’14)

Give your child room to grow. College is a transition into adulthood and an opportunity to find independence. Trust your children’s judgment; be supportive (without solving their problems); and understand they will communicate with you at their own pace.–Alison Weltman (COM’13)

At the beginning of the semester, encourage your student to stay at BU every weekend. The first few weeks are when students gather in common rooms and form friendships; it is also the time when BU has the most free events.–Stephanie Dolce (SED’13)

Textbooks and a laptopStay up-to-date on your student’s academic life. Give a call or send a text asking how an exam went or how a specific class is going. Having my parents there to understand what’s going on and provide input and advice is really great.–Crystal Shah (CAS’14, SED’14)

Make the first homecoming event special. When I came home for Thanksgiving, it was after the longest period of time I’d ever been away from home. My mom had gone to the grocery store and stocked up on my favorite foods so I could have those things I’d been craving after many dining hall meals. This simple gesture was the perfect amount of “We missed you!” without being over the top.–Molly Tobin (CAS’15)

2 Comments on Advice for Parents—From Students

  • It would be nice to know the progress of my child, I am sure parents will love to know how well they are doing in their study.
    Parents have bean part of their education till end of High School, and as soon as they start College, parents seam to be shutout of their progress etc etc.

  • BU is doing a terrific job integrating the students and parents for that matter into the college experience. As parents we always try to walk the balance between supporting our students and giving them space to grow. Its nice to see some of this basic information on line for everyone to see. Our college students need to know we are there for them. We have learned that they reach out more regularly the more they know you are there to support large and small issues alike.

    This holds true for Freshman and Juniors at BU as we have experienced first hand this year. The opportunities that BU provides transend the grade level at the University.

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