College requires much independent thinking and decision-making of students. Ideally, your student has gained these skills gradually over the past 18 or so years. If so, your student will have a less challenging time adapting to his/her/zir new environment. Still, there will be many choices to make and nearly every student will struggle at times.
How much your student informs you of their dilemmas often depends upon the parent/child relationship which was established prior to college. Does your budding adult tend to keep you abreast of their friendships, romantic relationships, financial dealings, academic challenges, career goals, health concerns, etc.? Or are you often left in the dark about what is going on? Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how your student is adjusting to their new environment, roommate, classes, social climate and freedom.
Parental direction can be of great value to college students — especially if it is in the form of a discussion as opposed to a lecture. (Many parents find the car ride to college to be an ideal time for a "so how do you envision this college experience?" discussion.) If you already have confidence in your student’s decision-making ability, take this opportunity to let them know that you believe in them AND that you are also available to guide them when they need/want guidance. There is a commonly-held belief that in late adolescence, youth function with relative autonomy; however, a recent study found that family cohesion and support continue to play an important role in the well-being and functioning of young people emerging from adolescence. Feeling close to one’s family may actually contribute to competence in autonomous functioning. So, stay in touch and remember that mail, cards and packages are always appreciated (and a nice surprise!).
The Counseling Services Center is a great resource for students. Students who wish to make an appointment can reach us at 315.312.4416. If you're a parent with a concern who wishes to consult with a counselor, you are welcome to call the center during normal business hours. Please note that counseling is free paid for by the student health fee and confidential. Since students 18 years of age are considered adults by law, counselors cannot reveal if a particular student is receiving services. We are, however, available to speak in generalities about particular concerns parents may have. Please remember that your student’s successful adjustment to college is our priority.