Magellan’s EAP Offers Tips for Sending Your Child to College


Sending a child to college is a big transition for the entire family. This is true whether it’s your first child attending college, or your last child—and you’re facing an “empty nest.” Even if you have a child who isn’t going away to college, attending any form of schooling after high school can be overwhelming and challenging for the child and the family.

Being supportive, available and understanding are some of the best things that parents can do to help their child through this transition.  Here are a few tips that can help both parents and the child transition into a college routine.

  • Discuss practicalities in advance. Before the young person leaves for school or begins studies at a local school, take some time to talk about how to handle basic everyday concerns. This can include things like staying healthy, cooking, following a budget, doing laundry, personal banking, and auto maintenance.
  • Learn about the rules and the available services at the school. Study the college or university’s website and catalog materials. This way you’ll know about policies such as tuition due dates, class drop deadlines, and grade point average requirements. Also learn about the services available at the school and where they’re physically located, from health and wellness to counseling.
  • Keep in close contact. Be there for your child by maintaining regular contact through visits, phone calls, emails, texts and/or video chats. Let your child know he or she can call you for help at any time.
  • Trust your child. You’ve done your job; now let them do theirs. Try to give your child room to make some decisions and mistakes on his or her own. If first semester grades are less than stellar, remember that it takes time for your child to adjust to the new environment.
  • Set up for success. Talk to your child about the multiple demands that he or she will face. Discuss ways to set priorities, follow up on responsibilities and the importance of a positive attitude.
  • Have a discussion about money Talk to your child about the importance of spending money wisely. Set clear expectations and discussion different options such as getting a part-time job.
  • Plan new activities for yourself before your child starts college. To compensate for your child’s absence, plan to make some positive changes. Get involved in new ways at work, take some classes, expand your exercise plan, or find a volunteer opportunity in the community. Think positively about the extra time and energy you’re likely to have to devote to things that interest you.
  • Get support if you need it. If you’re struggling with this new change in the family, seek counseling and support from your program.

Contact us:

SMU’s Employee Assistance Program provides access to tools and other resources online. You can also call us directly to speak to a professional counselor who is available everyday at any time to provide confidential assistance at no cost to you.

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About Mary Stall

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