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Information for Parents of Students Entering MTC

As a parent of a college age student, you have a key role in his/her success. Listed below are some resources and topics especially selected to assist you in helping your son/daughter attain success at the College.

What first-year students would like their parents to know:

  • Being a full-time student is like having a full-time job.
  • College is not a 9 - 5 job; evening and weekend study is required.
  • Enormous amounts of time are demanded by college course work.
  • Administrative processes take time and may not be completed within a single visit.
  • There is a great amount of social stress that is caused by the change from high school to college.
  • Students feel a great amount of academic stress in the first year of college.
  • There are other expenses in addition to tuition.

What students say about how parents can offer support:

  • Support and encourage good study habits.
  • Give us the freedom to succeed or fail, and to take responsibility for our own education.
  • Give us the freedom to learn how to cope with the new environment.
  • Give us encouragement and support to keep trying and to do well.
  • Adjust household chores to make up for additional time required by college.
  • Relieve us from responsibility of some of the time-consuming tasks around the house.

Typical or likely behaviors for college-age students:

  • A desire to make their own decisions, even poor ones.
  • A desire to try something new or radically different from previous interests.
  • More need for verbal reassurance.
  • Strong negative reaction to suggestions.
  • A new set of friends.
  • Changes in style of clothing or hair.
  • May be less willing to seek advice of parents.
  • May avoid questions regarding college and friends.

College may cause changes in parent/young adult relationship:

  • The College environment encourages independence.
  • The College views the student as an adult and will deal directly with the student while giving parents little or no information.
  • Don't worry about changes in clothing and hair style. Change in appearance is one way that students may begin to assert their individuality and try to fit in with the new "adult" environment. However, if there is an extreme change in behavior, this may signal a need for professional counseling.

What freshmen fear most:

  • Making new friends.
  • College will be too difficult.
  • Will have trouble understanding the professor.
  • Won't be able to manage time and get everything done.
  • Won't feel a sense of belonging.
  • Will not be able to measure up to other students in class.
  • Won't find a major area of study they like.

How parents can respond effectively and create an environment in which a student may be successful:

  • Encourage student to talk about decisions to be made, what he/she hopes to accomplish by the decision.
  • Allow your student to make mistakes but let him/her know that you will offer what support you can even if the result is not ideal.
  • Try to take a "wait and see" attitude regarding a new venture.
  • Help your student to view this time of life as a discovery phase, which is normal and exciting.
  • Encourage your student to make contact and network with a variety of people at the College.

Creating an Environment Conducive to Study:

  • Establish a definite place of study with good ventilation and lighting without the distractions of TV.
  • Make certain the study area requires that you to be seated upright with sufficient writing area and is equipped with paper, pencils, and a dictionary.
  • Invest in an inexpensive answering machine so that study time is not interrupted by phone calls.
  • Avoid creating a study area next to a window which can cause distraction.
  • Remove distractions in the area, including music, which will prevent complete focus on the material being studied.
  • Take short breaks while studying--10 minutes for every 50 or 60 minutes of study.
  • Create a study "plan" to turn your studying into a routine by setting specific study times for each class.
  • Identify a realistic reward for successfully reaching the study goal set to help keep yourself motivated to continue following the "plan".

Reasons Why Intelligent Students Sometimes Fail:

  • Lack of motivation.
  • Poor time management.
  • Lack of perseverance--give up too easily .
  • Inability to translate thought into action.
  • Inability to complete tasks.
  • Fear of failure.
  • Procrastination.
  • Excessive dependency.
  • Spreading oneself too thin (eg., too many social or volunteer activities).
  • Too little or too much self-confidence.
  • Inability to delay gratification.
  • Lack of balance between critical, analytical and creative thinking

College Is Different From High School

  • Personal Freedom in High School
    • Your time is usually structured by others.
    • Guiding principle: You will usually be told what your responsibilities are and corrected if your behavior is out of line.
  • Personal Freedom in College
    • You manage your own time.
    • Guiding principle: You're old enough to take responsibility for what you do and don't do, as well as for the consequences of your decisions

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Used with permission of Wayne State University