Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

For Parents

Guide for First-year Parents

The first year of college is an exciting time for students and parents. Although your student is away from home now, our role in helping them find success at college is important.

This calendar guide highlights some of the key issues that many students face during their first year at Southwestern. It also offers recommendations to you as a parent on how best to assist your child with these issues as they occur throughout the school year. Please contact me or my colleagues if you have any questions. We look forward to helping your student succeed at Southwestern University.

Kim M. Murphy, MSEd
Director of Academic Success and Advising

  • Homesickness
  • Making New Friends
  • New Living Situation
  • Financial Challenges
  • Time Management
  • Be prepared to see a mix of emotions and signals from your student this month. They will face many ups and downs as they make the transition from high school to college.
  • Encourage your student to stay on campus most weekends. The best way to make social and academic adjustments is to remain on campus and to become involved in new activities.
  • Visit your student at Southwestern; let them know that your visit is a nice alternative to their returning home each weekend.
  • Establish a routine day and time for calls, and remember that e-mail and regular letters are important reminders to students that they have support in their new endeavors.
  • First test results
  • Academic Challenges
  • Midterm grades
  • Maintaining health and proper diet
  • Let your students have their own space ... this is a busy month. Encourage them to maintain focus.
  • Be supportive even if midterm performance is not what you or your student had expected. Remind them to use the library, and to seek advice from professors and other mentors.
  • Help your son or daughter think about spring registration. Spring tuition and fees must be paid in advance (Dec. 12) before their return to campus in the Spring.
  • Encourage your student to visit Health and/or counseling services if problems arise.
  • Registration for Spring classes
  • Beginning Preparations for Final Exams
  • Making Travel Plans for Holidays
  • Ask your student what they would like to do while home for the holiday
  • Encourage your student to make an appointment with their academic advisor in the first week of Nov.
  • Remind your student that adequate preparation time for final exams is important to his or her success. Remind them about the value of adequate amounts of sleep, proper eating, rest and relaxation in addition to following a routine of study habits
  • Be supportive of your student during this month and through the short holiday
  • Finals Week
  • Anticipating Semester Grades
  • Winter Break is Near
  • Financial Aid-for Fall Enrollment
  • Financial Challenges
  • Time Management
  • Talk with your student about academic major choices. Career Services offer guidance in this area.
  • Talk also about the Greek system; fraternity and sorority rush occurs Southwestern
  • Look to the future for positive results and encourage your student heir grades fell below what you and they had expected.
  • Although students are on break from school, encourage them to remain by talking about their upcoming courses; discuss local, regional, or interest in the work they're doing at Southwestern.
  • Maintaining Academic Success
  • Improving in Areas of Difficulty
  • Midterm Exams
  • Making Plans for Spring Break
  • Time Management
  • Continue to encourage your student to achieve success and focus on areas that most require improvements.
  • Spring Break is an important event for all college students, but that doesn't have to mean rambunctious fun. Ask your son or daughter what their plans are, and ask if they know about Alternative Spring Break and service opportunities, which can be uplifting and valuable events.
  • Plan ahead for summer and fall registration
  • Planning Fall Schedule of Courses
  • Preparing for Final Exams
  • Final Exams Week
  • Preparing to move home for Summer
  • Transition of Moving Home
  • Make sure final bills are paid so students can register for summer and/or fall classes.
  • Help your student to remain focused up to and through final exams
  • Discuss plans for summer activity
  • Help your student consider options for residence halls or apartments for the new year.
  • Send a care package for your son or daughter to share with friends while they study for final exams.
  • Let your student know you are available to help them move home for the summer if they are not attending summer courses.