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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Helping Parents Support New College Students

The Parents First-Year Experience Provides an Introduction to College

For young college students and their parents, the transition from high school to college is also a transition into adulthood.

As young adults, 18-year-old college students take on new rights and responsibilities. With college comes responsibility for decisions that just a short time ago their parents may have made. Students’ records, grades, and financial aid information are no longer available directly to their parents under federal privacy laws. And in college, students learn to juggle academics and other responsibilities on their own while their parents play a new role as advisors rather than decision makers.

But none of that has to mean that parents and students can no longer work together to keep a student on the path to success.

“Parents are valued members of our community, and we want to provide them with a positive experience,” said Jessica Hale, WCC orientation advisor. So along with orientation and support for new students, WCC developed two programs just for parents.

Parents Orientation

While the new student orientation introduces students to the resources and services offered at WCC, parents can feel left out of the loop. That’s why WCC offers a parents orientation. In July and August prior to the fall semester, three two-hour sessions cover important topics such as the federal privacy laws that govern student records, financial aid procedures, campus safety, and academic support. Representatives from the various departments at WCC present an overview to parents and take their questions.

The final parents orientation for the Fall 2010 Semester is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 16, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Call 734-677-5098 to reserve a space.

Parents First-Year Experience

Now parents also have a way to stay in touch with the issues their students are facing in their first year of college. The Parents First-Year Experience provides tips and information for parents to support students during the critical first two semesters at WCC.

A monthly email newsletter, online chats, and workshops on topics such as setting realistic expectations, learning fiscal responsibility, counseling students on majors and careers, relating to students as adults, and recovering from academic failure all help parents provide support to their college student.

Parent Kathleen Young signed up for the PFYE when she learned about it during a parent orientation in the summer before her son enrolled at WCC. “I wanted to meet other parents,” she said. “In high school you have a network of parents that you can talk to, but not in college. I wanted to connect, and get the information I needed.”

Young attended all of the parent workshops throughout the year, and she was grateful for the extra information and the connections she made. “It was also nice that they served pizza and snacks because many of us came directly from work and were hungry,” she said.

Most importantly, the PFYE provided her with an inside track when she had questions about her son’s academics, financial aid, or other concerns. It was easier for her to find out who to talk to when problems came up. “You can look up answers but there is nothing like getting a real person who can talk you through your questions,” she said.

Although college students are becoming more adult, when they still live at home parents are aware when students have questions or feel anxious about certain issues, said Young. At times like that it’s nice to have a network of resources to turn to. “You can’t always know what you’re going to need or what questions you’ll have later, so by signing up for PFYE you have a resource to turn to when things come up,” she said.

To sign up for the Parent First-Year Experience contact

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