Missouri State University
The Family Connection

Tutoring Can Help Your College Student Succeed: Reasons to Start Early

College parenting means being concerned about many things when your student heads off to school.  Naturally, one of the major areas of focus is your student’s academic success. You want your student to learn.  You want your student to get good grades.  You want your student to take the appropriate courses to be able to find a good job or get into a good graduate program.   137456834

Working with a good advisor will help your student make the course and schedule choices that are appropriate.  Learning in those courses and achieving good grades includes many factors. Some of the most successful students may be those who have mastered three important skills.  They understand the differences between high school work and college level work; they have learned the skill of good time management; and they seek the support or help that they may need early in the game.

One important source of help in a course is the professor.  Students who work at making an out-of-class connection with their professor, perhaps during office hours, can receive some of the help and guidance that they need.  Another important source of support, often overlooked until too late, is the help of a tutor – for a specific subject or for several subjects.   Good students know how to take advantage of the possibilities of good tutoring – early in the semester before trouble starts.

Why not wait for tutoring until trouble happens?

Getting help with course work is always a good idea – no matter when it happens.  Even when it occurs at the last minute, getting help with a paper, or help understanding important concepts, or help studying for a test, can make a difference.  However, starting early to work regularly with a tutor – especially for a difficult subject – can make a significant difference.  Here are twelve reasons why starting tutoring early can help your college student.

  • Real learning takes time.  Starting with a tutor early in the semester gives your student a chance to learn concepts slowly and solidly.
  • Early work with a tutor helps your student grasp foundational concepts on which more difficult work may be build.  Getting the basic building blocks early can prevent difficulty later in the semester; it’s a proactive approach.
  • Beginning early means that your student and his tutor will have time to get to know one another. They will have time to establish the rapport that can make a difference in how they work together.  The more that the tutor works with your student, the more he will get to know her strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles.  This means that the tutor will know best what areas need to be addressed and what style of approach will work best.
  • Early work will mean that early homework assignments will be done correctly.  This translates to a higher grade average and less jeopardy occurring later in the semester.  It lowers the stakes for one major event such as a midterm or final exam.
  • Your student will learn early some of the important study techniques of successful students.  The tutor serves as an important role model as your student learns how to “do college” successfully.
  • The professor will see that your student is taking the course seriously and working hard to do his best work.  That message of effort is important.
  • Your student may build confidence in his learning abilities as he successfully navigates work that the tutor may assign.  This may help with his motivation to continue to do well.
  • Your student will establish a relationship and make a new friend – a role model of good academic skills as well as a role model of helping others.

(reprinted from http://www.collegeparents.org/members/resources/articles/tutoring-can-help-your-college-student-succeed-twelve-reasons-start-early)

Encourage your student to visit the Bear Claw to learn more about tutoring here at Missouri State.   This interactive space in Meyer Library unites the resources and expertise of the faculty, library personnel, computer and information technology, the Writing Center, subject-area tutoring, Absent Professor Program, PSY 121 Undergraduate Learning Assistants and PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) in an environment that fosters informal, collaborative work and social interaction. Bear CLAW tutoring services vary by subject. The Bear CLAW space is open during regular Library hours. Business course tutorsMathematics tutors,  and Science tutors are available on a drop-in basis.

  • Tutoring for various subjects by appointment.
  • Workshops to improve student success.
  • Employment or volunteer service opportunities.
  • Scholarship Renewal Program for service hours.
  • Convenient location of the Writing Center.
  • Faculty recommended student tutors.
  • Centralize location for PSY 121 Undergraduate Learning Assistants

Do you have questions about Missouri State and the programs offered? “Ask Priscilla” at pchildress@missouristate.edu or at (417) 836-3060.


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Keep CALM – Making the Transition

Transitioning into college life is a unique experience for many individuals, especially for the student’s parents or guardians. Excitement, cautiousness, and nervousness are some feelings students and their guardians may develop during this new transition! Here are four key CALM strategies that can be helpful when guiding first-semester students, and yourself, through this transition:  miranda article

C- Communicate with your student, and let them find their passion by making their own choices. Homesickness could happen to your student, but instead of having them come home every weekend, skype with them or talk on the phone once in awhile. Missouri State University offers numerous organizations and activities to be involved in. Maroon Madness, Study Away, Sorority and Fraternity Life, and Res Life are some organizations your student could be a part of. If you have not heard from your student, do not worry, they are getting involved and meeting new people! As their college life progresses students are going to become busier and distant in communication.

A- Assist your student with any confusion or issues that occur, if you can, or refer them to their Resident Assistant, Advisor, or to our website. Missouri State University offers multiple helpful on-campus resources. One popular on-campus resource is the Bear Claw. The Bear Claw offers tutoring, a math table, a science table, a staff member to proofread essays and so on. Another useful resource available is the Career Center. The Career Center provides editing of resumes, interest inventories, and mock interviews.

L- Listen to your student, especially when they need to vent or share their excitement about their excellent test grade. Class difficulties, roommate or relationship issues could occur and your student might express these problems to you for advice. Always be positive and supportive for your student, your student misses you as much as you miss them.

M- Motivate your student when they need an extra push. Positive reinforcement is one of the most efficient ways to support your student. Visit during family weekend to share in your student’s enthusiasm of the campus. Their first final’s week is going to be stressful and sending a care package or a gift card to their favorite coffee house may ease their troubles. Sometimes, students just need to hear, “You can do it!” or “Do not give up!” Random encouragement via text messages will always be a welcomed by your student.

The transition into college life is a learning experience for the whole family. These strategies above will hopefully ease this transition, encourage multiple ways to inform your student about resources that Missouri State University offers, and keep CALM!

Written by Miranda Minor, Senior at Missouri State University

Miranda is an Exercise and Movement Science major who plans to go to Physical Therapy school after graduation. She is President of the Peer Leader Association for the First-Year Foundations class, GEP 101, and a student assistant in the Academic Advisement Center. The photo is of Miranda and her mother.



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Ask Priscilla – What are some tips I can share with my student about campus safety?

Our students have settled in to campus life and are feeling very comfortable at Missouri State. Often times, when our students get comfortable, they let their guard down, and don’t pay as much attention as they should to their surroundings. This is true for first-year students as well as seniors. Safety is an area where this becomes obvious. Our students know other students, they feel safe on the campus, and of course, nothing is going to happen to them, at least in their minds. They may not be aware that 90% of the time the sexual assault attacker is a dating partner, friend or acquaintance. This is the time to remind your student to be aware of the world around them, to remember safety procedures they have learned and familiarize themselves with the processes that Missouri State has in place to keep them safe.  Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

Here are some tips to share with your student: 

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Avoid dark and unpopulated areas.
  • There is power in numbers. Go out with a group and come home with a group.
  • Don’t leave your drink unattended.
  • Lock your door in your residence hall.
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your car.
  • Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust.
  • Trust your instincts — e.g., if you feel uncomfortable.
  • Keep your cell phone with you and charged.
  • Don’t leave with someone you don’t trust and know.
  • Don’t feel obligated to do anything you don’t want to do.
  • If a friend appears intoxicated and “out of it,” get her or him to a safe place immediately.
  • Don’t leave your valuables alone while you run to talk to a friend or go to the restroom.

There are ways that you, the parent can help your student stay safe. These include:

Staying in touch

Set up some regular times for communication such as a phone call on a Sunday afternoon. This gives your student the opportunity to update you on his life at college. It also offers you the opportunity to pick-up on any behavioral changes.

Parents should watch for sudden behavioral changes in their kids at college like irritability and sadness, since those could indicate a sexual assault, relationship problem or another significant issue. Make sure your student knows you are in their corner and happy to always listen when they need to talk and to help as needed. Refer to your parent handbook for information on resources available to assist your student. You can review the handbook online here.

Having a plan

Students and parents should have a safety plan that includes contact information in case of an emergency, including campus safety officials. Students should also know what resources are available on their campuses.

The safety of our students is paramount at Missouri State. The university has many procedures in place to reduce the risk of harm to our students. Students must also take personal responsibility for themselves and their friends. Everyone needs to keep a watchful eye on our campus and if something doesn’t feel right, report it to campus security, the Springfield Police, an RA, professor or a friend. On campus we have:

  • Safe Walk – Safe Walk is an on-campus walking service seven days a week during the hours of darkness. Your student can contact the Safety & Transportation Department at 836-5509 to request an escort. To find out more visit the Safety and Transportation website.
  • Bear Line Shuttle – Bear Line offers a convenient and safe way to travel — no matter where your destination on campus. Just JUMP ON from any of the well-lit, covered shuttle stops conveniently located across campus.
  • Missouri State Alert System – Missouri State Alert is the University’s mass notification system, which uses a variety of methods to contact students, faculty and staff in the event of an emergency or school closing. Learn more about the Missouri State Alert System here.
  • Blue Light Safety Phone – Blue Light Safety Phones are located across the campus. If students feel uncomfortable about a situation, they hit the button on the phone and the blue lights flash and the student is connected to the Public Safety office and an officer will be dispatched to the student’s location.
  • Springfield Police Department (SPD) Substation – Commissioned law enforcement at Missouri State University is provided by the SPD. These officers work out of the Missouri State University/SPD Substation located at 636 E. Elm. Visit the Safety website to learn more.
  • Residence Hall Safety - All residence halls have open-entry access between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. After 7:00 p.m. all doors to the residence halls are locked and only students who live in a particular residence hall can enter by using their electronic access card. The front desk of each residence hall is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you have any questions about safety at Missouri State, visit the Safety & Transportation website for more information. You can contact the Parent & Family Program office at (417) 836-3060 or familyassociation@missouristate.edu anytime. We are here to help you and your student.

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Now is a Good Time to get your Influenza Vaccination

Taylor Health and Wellness Center is pleased to offer influenza vaccines again this year to our university community.  Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to the hospitalization and sometimes death.  Every flu season is different.  Even healthy people can get sick from flu and spread it to others.  No appointment is necessary.

  • Starting October 2nd at 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM and daily thereafter 8 AM – 4:30 PM,Monday – Friday.

The cost for the seasonal flu vaccine is as follows:

  1. MSU employees (full and part-time)                   No Cost (paid by MSU health insurance plan)
  2. Household members of employees                      No Cost (paid by MSU health insurance plan)
  3. Retirees – on MSU insurance                                No Cost (paid by MSU health insurance plan)
  4. Retirees – on Medicare                                          No Cost (paid by Medicare) Please stop first at the Taylor Business Office to verify Medicare coverage.
  5. Students                                                                     No Cost (paid by Student Fees)
  6. Others                                                                         $28.50
  • Please note, Taylor Health and Wellness Center does not vaccinate children under 6 years of age.  Ages 6-9 years need to bring a copy of their immunization record to determine if the child needs one or two flu vaccines.  If you have children less than 6 years of age, please contact their pediatrician for information about the vaccine.
  • If you are on Coumadin (warfarin) we must have an INR lab result in the last 3 weeks equal to or less than 3.5.
  • Bring your BearPass Card.  Dress for easy access to your upper arm.

If you want more information about the vaccine please go to www.cdc.gov/flu/.

For more information about receiving your vaccine at Taylor, please call 836-4000 or go to http://health.missouristate.edu/ .

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Ask Priscilla – What are ways to adjust to an empty nest?

A month has passed since the excitement of move-in day and the house seems kind of quiet, right? Perhaps you have already developed a new routine, but those lonely feelings still creep in from time to time. The emotional transition to a home with no (or less) children has its ups and downs, that’s for sure. Here are a few tips on how to thrive in an empty nest. Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

  1. Make plans. Your schedule no longer revolves around another person’s practices, homework and school activities.  It’s time to sit down at the piano, read one of the books that you haven’t had time for, take a cake decorating class, fish to your hearts content or take that cruise you’ve placed on the back burner for many years. Reflect on your dreams and interests and take steps to pursue those. There is no time like the present.
  2. Stay connected to your student. In this day-and-age, there are numerous ways to stay in touch without being overbearing. Phone, text (a favorite way to communicate for students), Skype, Facetime or Facebook are just a few ways to maintain healthy contact. Establish with your student a routine way to check-in with each other. Students have shared that Sunday afternoons are a good time to catch up with the family.
  3. Send care packages  and write letters (send your student stamps to write  you back). They go a long way to saying “I love you and I’m proud of you” and spur your student to contact you to say thanks and chat for awhile.
  4. Share your life with your student. Tell them about work, movies you’ve seen or a new hobby. The relationship with an “adult” child is different of course, so let your student get to know you on an adult level.
  5. Rekindle those relationships that you haven’t had a lot of time for the past few years.
  6. Get involved. Your child is not the only one who can be involved in campus life. Take advantage of opportunities on campus such as athletic events, Family Weekend, and theatre productions, just to name a few activities.  Make it a family outing. Invite your student to dinner (and we know a college student never turns down food) and a campus event with you. For example, invite your student to attend the 2014 Convocation Lecture with you on October 28th. This event will take place at on campus at Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts. Learn more about this event here.
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The Stress of College Life – Encouraging your Student to be Healthy

Stress — it should be a four letter word. We all have it, hate it, and deal with it. It’s the reason we devour pounds of chocolate. Through the years we have learned ways of handling stress that work best for us.  0306.jpg.JPG.JPG

College students are a bit different though. They have been shielded somewhat from the stress of what we will call “real life.” As they grew up, yes, they knew some stress: the stress to trying to make good grades, succeed at extracurricular activities, and fit in with different groups of people. However, we as parents handled that stress. When they were stressing over being tired, we would make them go to bed. When they stressed over filling out college applications, we helped them. When they were stressed because they were not feeling well, we kept them out of school and nursed them back to health. That was our job as parents.

But that job has changed. We’ve gone from caretaker to coach. College student’s deal with the stress of meeting with new friends, demanding classes, living on their own, financial issues, campus jobs, changing values, research papers and much more. We aren’t with them every day and we don’t have the ability to immediately de-stress them. How can we help them?

First and foremost, let your student know you are there for her. You’re a good listener. You don’t mind talking through issues. Keep in mind there will be times when your student will call you and tell you that life is awful, she hates her school, her friends, etc. She is down in the dumps. After you hang up, you continue to worry and wonder if you should be calling someone. She, on the other hand, had a friend knock on the door. She’s gone out to dinner and forgotten what she was upset about. She is okay.

Here are steps you can take to help your college student find her way through the stress.

  • Suggest your student select healthier foods and never skip breakfast. Breakfast can improve energy levels, help maintain focus in the classroom and increase the overall quality of a student’s diet. Students should choose leaner protein options, make half their grains whole grains and consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. The MSU Dining Centers have some great choices for our students. Suggest your student visit the Dining Services website to find out more information.
  • Remind your student to stay physically active. Missouri State has a state-of-the-art campus recreation center. The Foster Family Recreation Center offers numerous ways students can be physically active at all hours of the day. Encourage your student to take a tour of the fitness center, try a BearFit class or take advantage of adventure trips. Physical activity is a great way to manage stress and meet new people. Refer your student to the Campus Recreation website to see a full listing of activities.
  • Encourage your student to recharge with sleep. It is recommended that students get 7-9 hours of sleep a day. Sleep is crucial for optimum performance inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Remind your student to take advantage of the Taylor Health & Wellness Center. At Taylor Health & Wellness Center, your student can learn take care of her whole self. Share the Taylor Health & Wellness website with your student.
  • Address signs of stress early. Forgetfulness, moodiness and fatigue can all be early signs of stress.  Our students need to make stress management a part of their everyday college life to avoid the side effects.
  • Express confidence in your student’s abilities.
  • Remind your student of a time she managed a stressful situation with a positive outcome.
  • Create a care plan. If emotional concerns of mood, anxiety or substance use have been a part of your student’s past, ensure you have a plan for how these emotional care needs will be met.  The Counseling Center can help you navigate the best treatment options.

Let your student know you understand that and you will always love and support her. That, for college students, is so very important to know.

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Missouri State Family Association Bear Notes – August 2014

Welcome to the Missouri State Family

It is hard to believe that the summer is almost over and classes for the fall are about to begin! Fourteen two-day SOAR sessions zipped by rather quickly and about 2800 new first year students will soon be calling MSU home. We are SO excited that your student (and all of you) will be part of the Missouri State University BEAR community!  Read more...

Get your Family Weekend Football Tickets Today!
Campus Recreation Spotlight BearFit
Get out of your Room
Let the Good Times ROAR at Homecoming 2014
An Open Letter to New Students
Join the Missouri State Family Association
Developing Good Relationships with College Professors
Taylor Health & Wellness – Why Accreditation is Important to your Student
Career Center Connections
Haven – Helping Students Understand Sexual Assault
Create your Own Major
Join us in reading The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy Seal by Eric Greitens


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Ask Priscilla: What are some ways I can support my student in the first year and beyond?

College is a time of change for our students.  They are learning to make independent decisions, accept responsibility for themselves and others, develop consideration for others, and become financially independent. Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MOWe are parents are learning to change our way of thinking, allowing our students to grow.

Some common issues our students deal with are:

Living with others

College residents are often asked to share less-than-roomy quarters with strangers, possibly for the first time. For most students, this requires significant adjustment. While they’re making the adjustment, they may sound cranky and out of sorts.

Managing their time

Difficult academics, appealing activities, a brand-new living environment—all these new realities may make your student feel pulled in several different directions. At the same time, your student must now manage time and set priorities alone, without adult family members and teachers to do it for her or him.

Finding their place

Starting in the first semester, students are becoming acquainted with a new, exciting, multi-faceted social scene. As they progress through their college career, students continue to discover where they fit in amid developing relationships with Missouri State students, faculty and staff.

Supporting your student

  • Be a coach. Let your student know you’re supportive and approachable. Your student may need to think of you and talk to you not just as a parent or guardian, but also as a friend, a supportive onlooker and a sympathetic sounding board.
  • Don’t be judgmental. It may be tempting to ask your student, “Are you doing your homework?” But that’s a question better directed at a high school student. Instead, open-ended conversation starters such as “what organizations have you gotten involved with? or what’s your room like? and which class is challenging you the most? Why is that?” encourage your student to share his or her experiences with you.
  • Show respect. Acknowledge your student’s new independence and growing intellectual sophistication by asking his or her opinion on general social issues, current events and even family matters.
  • Get in synch. You can be more supportive if you know the academic pressures your student is facing, such as midterms and finals. Become familiar with important upcoming academic dates.
  • Expect some changes. Exposure to new people and a diverse environment will enrich your student’s development, but it may also influence how he or she views the family. Be prepared and don’t be hurt if your student seems dismissive or critical of typical family activities or routines.
  • Stay connected. E-mails, IMs, cell phone conversations and text messages are great, but today’s tech-savvy students love old-fashioned letters, cards and care packages as much as college students ever did.
  • Revisit the Parent & Family website. Our website will keep you up-to-date on campus activities and offers resources you can refer to you as you support your student. “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/missouristatefamily and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bearsfamilies

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to Ask Priscilla at familyassociation@missouristate.edu or at (417) 836-3060.

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Charting their Career Path: Freshman through Senior Year

Remind your student it is never to early to utilize the Career Center and make use of the resources available.

Step One (usually during the freshman year)

  •  If you have not declared a major or are unsure of a selected major, make an appointment with a Career Counselor to clarify your career goals. This usually includes self-assessments &a follow-up appointment to review assessments.
  • Join a campus organization (preferably related to your major or career interest).
  • Begin and/or continue developing skills that employers seek in job candidates.
  • Research occupations and industries by reading books, periodical articles, and websites on careers. Learn realistic statistics on salary, locations for jobs, and entrance requirements.
  • Participate in a job-shadow experience; conduct information interviews; talk to people working in jobs that interest you. Learn about their education, experience, and skills.

Step Two (usually during the sophomore year)

  • Locate an internship, volunteer experience, or part-time job that related to your career field and will help you develop important communication and work-related skills.
  • Access internship postings on JobTracks.
  • Enroll in IDS 120 for an in-depth course in career exploration and preparation.
  • Make an appointment with a Career Advisor to learn how to market self in a resume & cover letter
  • Continue researching career choices, learning about the skills needed to be competitive; work on developing those skills.
  • Build your network of contacts, including those made through job shadowing and information interviewing.
  • Participate in campus organizations; find opportunities to develop strong leadership & communication skills.
  • Develop a portfolio to showcase your accomplishments and skills.
  • Attend activities and events sponsored by the Career Center: Resume Madness, Exploring Careers Panels, Etiquette Dinner, Mock Interview Day, and Career Fairs.

Step Three (usually during the junior year)

  • Continue participating in campus and professional organizations (get involved / take on leadership roles).
  • Continue gaining experience in your field through internships, part-time or summer jobs, and volunteer experiences.
  • Research employers who hire in your major. Learn what they seek and where the jobs are located.
  • Conduct information meetings with professionals working in careers that interest you. Build your network.
  • Gain interviewing tips and learn what to expect from employers in the interview process.
  • Continue developing your network by contacting potential mentors or references.
  • Upload resume & look for internships on JobTracks (FREE): attend career fairs & participate in on-campus interviews.
  • Enroll in IDS 320 for a job-search class

Step Four (usually during the senior year/graduate school)

  • Update your resume/use walk-in hours or come to Resume Madness for resume critique.
  • Access job listings using JobTracks.   Have you uploaded your resume into JobTracks yet?
  • Participate in a Mock Interview through the Career Center. Also, participate in Mock Interview Day.
  • Participate in on-campus recruiting and to apply for jobs electronically through JobTracks.
  • Attend Career Center activities: Networking Events, Etiquette Dinner, Career Panels
  • Don’t wait until after you graduate to begin looking for a job.   Job search may take 3-6 months.
  • Continue building your network of contacts. Use your participation in professional organizations and clubs to make connections with people who may provide you with job leads.
  • Researching potential employers. Find out as much as possible about them – “Why are you interested in this company?”

For more information, visit careercenter.missouristate.edu or contact the Career Center at careercenter@missouristate.edu.

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Letting Grow – Tips for Family Members

Moving to college for the first time is both an exciting and frightening journey. This journey will probably make your student a different person, but don’t forget that this is a journey for you as a parent as well. You share in the happiness, sorrow, success and failure. You aren’t letting them go, you are letting them grow. Here are some tips to let them grow.  0075.jpg.JPG

1. Don’t ask if they’re homesick

The power of suggestion is amazing.  The minute you ask if they are homesick, they are. We know the first few days and weeks of school are activity-packed and overwhelming. The challenge of meeting new people and adjusting to new situations takes up a majority of a freshman’s time and concentration. Students will certainly miss you, but homesickness is usually a desire for the comfort of a familiar routine.   Try not to tell the student how much you wish they were eating dinner with you at their favorite restaurant. Offer support rather than open arms to run back to.  Remind your student to enjoy the experience. Encourage your student to take advantage of campus resources.  Look over the Missouri State Guide for Parents for information on campus resources.

2. Send mail and care packages

Although freshmen are typically eager to experience all the away-from-home independence , most are still anxious for family ties and the security those bring. Most freshmen, although they might never admit it, are eager for news from home and their family.  It may seem mundane, but there is nothing more depressing than a week of an empty mailbox. Though they may not answer your letters, they will be grateful for them.  Encourage family members to also send letters.  When you move your student in, leave some note paper and stamps as a small gift for them. Remind them family members like to get mail also. Send care packages. Every student loves to get a package, the bigger the better!

3. Ask questions

But not too many. College freshmen are trying to be “cool” and tend to resent interference with their new lifestyle, but most still desire the security of knowing that someone is still interested in them. Family curiosity can be viewed as comforting or obnoxious, depending on the attitudes of everyone involved. Try to avoid the “I have a right to know” questions with ulterior motives. Honest inquiries will do much to further the parent-student relationship. Ask open-ended questions instead of questions that encourage a one-word answer.  Questions such as “What are some ways you plan on maintaining your physical health at Missouri State?” will start the conversation.

4. Try not to worry (too much) about panicky phone calls

Often when troubles become too much for a freshman to handle (a flunked test, the end of a relationship, etc.), the only place to turn is home. You are their rock in a storm. Unfortunately, this is the most common time that students get the urge to communicate, so you never hear about the paper that got an A or the great date last night.

Try to be patient with those “nothing is going right, I hate this place” phone calls, letters or emails.

  • Be reassuring.
  • Explain that you are there for them, but won’t necessarily come drive them home.
  • Tell them you have faith in them.
  • Remind them of campus resources such as the Bear Claw for tutoring.

You are providing a real service as as an advice-dispenser, sympathetic ear or punching bag. It may heighten your worry radar, but it works wonders for a frustrated student.

5. Visit

Visits by parents (especially when accompanied by shopping sprees and dinners out) are another part of the events that freshmen are sometimes reluctant to admit gratitude for but appreciate immensely. These visits give students the chance to introduce some of their important people to each other. Parents can become familiar with new activities, commitments, living environment and friends.  Invite their friends to join you for dinner or another activity. Encourage your student to plan the visit. This gives him the opportunity to showcase his “home away from home.”  Spur-of-the-moment, surprise visits, however, are not usually appreciated. It’s best to schedule a visit with your student.  Plan to  visit during Family Weekend (September 12-14)…you may even get to see a clean room!

6. Try not to say “these are the best years of your life”

Freshman year is full of indecision, insecurity, disappointment and, most of all, mistakes. It’s also full of discovery, inspiration, good times and friends. It takes a while for some students to accept both the positives and negatives of growing up and accepting themselves. It sometimes takes longer for parents to realize this.  Any parent who believes that all college students get perfect grades, know what they want to major in, have activity-packed weekends, thousands of friends and lead carefree lives is mistaken. “College educated” doesn’t mean mistake-proof. Perpetuating the “best years” stereotype is working against the student’s already difficult experience. If you accept and understand the highs and lows of reality, you’ll provide the support and encouragement needed most.

7. Take time to discuss finances

Most college students are still financially dependent upon their parents to some degree. Sit down and discuss your family’s financial situation. Students need to know how much money will be available to them and how much fiscal responsibility is theirs. Discussion about credit cards is especially important. Students are bombarded with credit card applications promising free stuff:

  • Teach them how to see through the empty promises as credit card companies target students.
  • Show them exactly what 21% interest means.
  • Set spending limits.
  • Warn about frequent trips to the ATM.

Remember that once students move to campus, you won’t be able to tell them “no” when they want something.

8. Expect your student to change

Freshmen are especially eager to try out different identities while trying to find their individuality. They will change, and that should be a positive thing. Students are at college to learn and grow as educated citizens. They may come home with different-colored hair, but there also may be a subtle maturity in their conversations and new found passion about a studied subject.

9. Prepare for their return

When the academic year ends and your student returns home for the summer, plan to discuss the rules of living at home. Parents need to respect the individuality their student has worked to achieve. Students need to know there are rules and courtesies to be observed at home no matter how independent they were at school.

10. Trust them

Finding yourself is difficult enough without feeling that the people whose opinions you value the most are second-guessing you. One of the most important things parents can do is let their students know they trust their judgement and will be there if that judgement creates less than desirable results.

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