Office ofAlumni and Constituent Relations

Tips for New Parents

Adjusting to college life is just as trying on parents as it is for students, many of whom are leaving home for the first time.  The following handy checklists were made based on a presentation given by Laura Majovski, Vice President of Student Life, during Parent & Family Orientation to help with your own transition.  Many of the tips listed below are from the following recommended source material for parents of college students.

  • Letting Go:  A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Coburn and Madge Treeger
  • You're On Your Own (but I'm here if you need me):  Mentoring Your Child During the College Years by Marjorie Savage

Transition tips for Parents

  • Trust in your work so far
  • Coach your student rather than try to control their college career
  • Support your student’s successes and failures equally

Support your student by...

  • Affirming their potential
  • Listening, listening, listening
  • Sending packages
  • Keeping your perspective
  • Keeping your humor
  • Praising his/her accomplishments
  • Deciding how you’ll stay in contact
  • Encouraging your student to read mail
  • Keeping up the connections
  • Cheering for them constantly


  • Offering too much advice
  • Trying to solve their problems
  • Second guessing their judgments
  • Supervising their decisions or activities too closely

Early indicators of poor adjustment...

  • Calling home or going home frequently
  • Indecisiveness about goals or courses
  • Skipping classes
  • Difficulty keeping up with coursework

What can you do if your student shows signs of poor adjustment?

  • Remember there is a wide range of behaviors that are normal and acceptable in response to these challenges
  • Consistent, caring communication will gain your student’s respectful attention
  • Ask about what is going on in ways that communicate interest without seeming critical or intrusive

Successful PLU students typically...

  • Befriend their own questions
  • Draw on available resources
  • Develop perspectives on the world
  • Learn how to learn
  • Consider their future - careers/grad school
  • Ask “big enough questions”
  • Have priorities for the world

Successful grads typically are...

  • Ready to live as free human beings, citizens in the world
  • Full of courage, imagination, and hope
  • Called to a vocation on behalf of the world

If your new student is commuting from home, encourage him or her to…

  • Take advantage of Commuter Connections, a program that will enable him or her to enjoy many of the benefits of on campus living while still residing at home.
  • Visit the Commuter Lounge in Hinderlie Hall and connect with a Commuter Student Intern.
  • Explore the campus in between classes and find “homes” for hanging out, studying, eating and playing.
  • Get connected with classmates, faculty, jobs, clubs, organizations and activities.

If your new student is living on campus, encourage him or her to…

  • Talk about sharing their room with their roommate before any issues arise – likes, dislikes, and how best to address conflict when it does occur. Hall staff will encourage roommates to complete an Agreement with each other at the beginning of the semester addressing a variety of these standard topics.
  • Get to know their residence hall staff and use them as a resource. RAs (student Resident Assistants) live right with your student and will be offering guidance and assistance. RDs (professional Resident Directors) live in and have offices in the residence halls. RDs supervise the RA staff, advise the Residence Hall Council and have overarching responsibility for the residence hall and its residents.
  • Stay on campus on weekends – most students do and there are many formal and informal things to do.
  • Get connected with classmates, faculty, jobs, clubs, organizations and activities.

Take the following steps if s/he experiences difficulty sharing a room:

  • Reflect on his or her own behavior – is it in line with previous roommate conversations, or has something changed?
  • Talk about any concerns with the roommate. The RA is available to talk your student through positive approaches to challenging conversations, and to facilitate such conversations if necessary.
  • Your student’s RD is also a resource to him/her if initial approaches have been unsuccessful.

For more tips and assistance, check out the Parent Page on the Residential Life website.