Communicate With College Students

Communicating with your college student

We encourage you to provide support, encouragement and guidance during your student’s transition to college. Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

The transition to college is an exciting time. College students are on their way to becoming more independent, developing and strengthening interests and skills, and growing as a person. They will encounter challenges they may appreciate support through and triumphs that they may want to share with you. Maintaining connections to allow this exchange of information and support is key. But how?

Communication tips:

  • Talk with your student about communication expectations:
    • How often do you hope to talk with each other?
    • How much is too much communication, or too little?
    • What are the preferred ways to connect (phone, text, email, etc.)?
    • What will you do if you can’t answer right away? Or if you don’t get an answer right away? There should be no need to panic if you have a plan for how to check in on each other.  
    • How will you notify one another of urgent needs for communication?
  • Listen with your mind and your heart:
    • Pay attention to your student’s words and non-verbal communication.
    • Remain non-judgmental.
    • Ask questions such as, “what do you want to do about that?” or “how would you like to handle it?” or “what have you tried?”
    • Acknowledge feelings, ideas and challenges.
    • Ask whether and how they would like your support.