Supporting success in college
When your college student selected a school to attend, the availability of a certain major or course of study may have been an important factor in the choice. Regardless, many students change majors at least once during their college careers. In their first terms in college, they reassess their dreams, interests, and abilities. Through courses, campus activities, discussions with roommates, friends, and faculty, they are exposed to new ideas and an array of possibilities they may not have considered. They may discover their life passion. Hopefully, the self-awareness, research, planning and decision-making skills they have built will help them through the process.
How can I be involved in my college student's education?
Your interest and support are still crucial to your children's success. Here are some things you can do to help:
- Attend the freshman parent orientation and parent weekends if at all possible. Learn as much as you can about the programs and services available.
- Support your children's exploration of new interests; education is all about learning and change.
- Remind your students about the skills, talents, and interests that they have demonstrated in the past. Have them look at the education plan they prepared while in high school.
- Talk with your students about the courses they are enjoying and excelling in. Let them share their excitement and they will continue to share.
- Don't panic if your students' major seems impractical. It is most important that they are engaged in their learning. Liberal arts majors develop skills that employers value. Your children should package these skills with other learning experiences.
- Do encourage your children to discuss their options for after they graduate with advisors and faculty members. Make sure they know if an advanced degree is necessary and think about how they will pay for it.
- Suggest foreign language and computer classes for any major.
- Encourage involvement in campus activities, although urge that this be balanced with academics.
- Encourage your children to use the career center early, not just when they are about to graduate. If they are struggling with choice of major, the career center may have a career planning class to help them.
- Support your children getting a summer internship. Although many of these do not include pay, internships provide valuable experience and contacts. Don't do the search for your children; they need to do it themselves. You can suggest names of people or businesses.
- Celebrate when they graduate!