Skip to main content

Accessibility menu

Skip to main content Skip to footer

Parents & family

A page within Student Support Services

Top Five Ways to Support Your College Student

1. Check in.

But not every day. Daily phone calls or frequent texts might be overwhelming for your child as they adjust to the rigors of college life. New challenges, faces, and demands are waiting around every corner, and the transition is going to take up a lot of their bandwidth for some time. Don’t pile on! At the same time, just knowing you’re there thinking of and supporting them will be immensely reassuring. Weekly check-ins are a great place to start.

2. Empathize.

Your child will probably deal with stuff that seems inconsequential, easily remedied, or just plain unfamiliar to you. And that's okay! Stresses can pile up quickly for college students, who are dealing with a lot of "real-world" issues on their own for the first time. Don't dismiss their concerns, or try to solve all their problems for them, or tell them to wake up and smell the roses because these are the best days of their lives. Just acknowledge their feelings and be their biggest cheerleader.

3. Send care packages.

A care package can turn a tough week around just like that. They don't have to be a regular thing, but having that extra-special reminder that you're thinking of them and want to send a few small comforts from home can go a long way.

4. Expect change.

College will challenge children in many ways. It may change how they think, what they think, and the ways in which they express themselves. Some of it may be exploratory and short lived; some of it may be more lasting. Choose your battles, and remember: that's still the kid you raised in there.

5. Help them apply for financial aid.

The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, opens every year in October, with a priority deadline in February. There's only so much financial aid to go around, so the sooner you apply, the better. It can be a long, multistep process, one your child can't do alone, as they need your income and tax information. Help where you can, provide info in a timely manner, and check in with them to make sure they've followed through on the verification steps that often come after submitting the application. When they receive their financial aid award package, learn about and talk through their options with them so they can make an informed decision.


Infographic: Services provided by SSS

Infographic: Tips, definitions, and clarifications for completing SSS application