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Make sending a student off to college easier

Hear from other parents on ways they found success as their child transitioned to college.

Whether this is your first time sending a student off to college or you’ve done this before, just know you are not alone. Many of our own Spalding faculty and staff have been through this process, and they know firsthand the ups and downs of watching a child navigate college. So, here’s a roundup of advice, tips and lessons learned from other parents in our Spalding community.

Tips for sending a student off to college

Send a care package

“Since I wasn’t seeing my daughter daily, I sent her a care package once a month.  Each box had a theme, like “Back to School” or “Halloween.”  I was able to channel my “missing her” energy into something creative, and she loved the periodic surprise.  If you want ideas, just head over to Pinterest and put “care package” in the search box.” – Professor Stacy Deck, director of undergraduate  social work

“Also, think about useful items when you pack your student up for college. Tide pods are easier than powder. Pop-up wipes are great for cleaning. First aid kit. And if your student drinks coffee, send coffee pods, sugar and individual creams. Two travel mugs so they will always have one to use when the other is dirty.” – Jennifer Brockhoff, executive director of human resources

Find ways to connect but not hover

“My daughter said she appreciated a check-in every few weeks to see if I could support her in any way and to ask what was she learning. She appreciated my interest in her learning but not necessarily her grades.  She said hovering over grades made her feel smothered.” – Michelle Standridge, director of financial aid

“With our first-year college student, we kept in touch with regular calls and nearly daily quick texts.  He had one really long walk across campus where it became a bi-weekly habit for him to call me or my wife.” – Professor Steve Katsikas, chair of the School of Professional Psychology

“We planned some strategic visits, but not until late fall.  And we planned no visits for him to actually come home until Thanksgiving.  (I am not saying this is what everyone should do, for it depends on your child, their needs, geographic distance between you and the college, and a host of other factors. I just think it is important to give our “kids” some space so they can fall in love with their schools).  I even told him that the goal is for him to fall in love with his school and that ideally, he would have two places to call home.  And it happened.” – DeDe Wohlfarth, professor and  director of child/adolescent/family emphasis area in the School of Professional Psychology

Text instead of call

“I would suggest that parents text their student rather than call… at least periodically.  It gives the student the message that you’re thinking about them and gives them control of when to respond.” – Professor Deck

Know your student’s course schedule

“If you know their schedule, you can ask open-ended questions that have meaning. Instead of asking, ‘how’s it going,’  saying ‘tell me about what’s’ going on in your English lit class’ creates a space of dialogue rather than one-word answers.” – Professor Shannon Cambron, chair of the School of Social work

“Having my son’s academic calendar helped me plan when I might be taking road trips to pick him up since he does not have a car on campus, when it might be “safe” to plan a family vacation, and if he might be able to go to Aunt Shirley’s wedding in October, or no way.” – Professor Wohlfarth

Get involved

“Make an attempt to be part of the community where your child attends college. It encourages your child to do the same.” – Jennifer Brockhoff

Ask for Access

“Many parents don’t know that they can request parent proxy in order to stay on top of their student’s financial information. I’d suggest parents of Spalding students check invoices and balances monthly. With Spalding’s block schedule, students have the ability to change their registration frequently.” – Michelle Standridge, director of financial aid

And finally, be gracious with yourself

“My final advice is to be gracious with yourself and your emotions. It’s a learning curve for all of us. There’s no right way, there’s just the way that works best for you and your student. ” – Professor Cambron