Advice for Parents

Sending a student off to college is a momentous occasion.

At the same time, it is an occasion that often includes a variety of conflicting emotions. It is not uncommon to not only feel a sense of pride and excitement as your child embarks on this exciting endeavor, but also feelings of anxiety and concern. Letting go is rarely easy, and it can be a hard adjustment having a child living away from home. However, it is important to remember that most students do make the transition to college life-and specifically to life at Goucher, quite successfully.

It is not unusual within the first few days, weeks, or even months for a student who encounters a challenge to turn to the major source of support they have always had: you.  Your student may reach out, feeling uneasy or panicked, complaining about their roommate who is "unbearable to live with," or a class where the professor is "unreasonable and unfair." As parents, it is natural to want to fix the problem. At the same time, we ask that you place your trust in us and our processes, which are designed to take a holistic approach to addressing any concerns that may arise. If your student comes to you with a concern, we recommend you take the following steps:

  • Talk through the situation with your student and help them consider possible solutions to the problem.
  • Ask if they have taken advantage of various campus resources which might specifically be in place to deal with the problem they have identified. Based on the situation, this could be a faculty adviser, a resident assistant, or a staff member in the Office of Residential Life or the Academic Center for Excellence.
  • Refer to the FAQ or Resource page on this website to help identify the best place to look for help on campus for your student.

As the semester unfolds, there will be other stressful moments for most students. They may feel especially anxious around midterm exams, the deadlines for and return of their first research projects, the anxiety over giving their first presentation, or the start of the reading period and dread over their final examinations. Learning how to handle these stresses on their own is an integral step in their own personal development and is essential to their growth. Helping them to deal with disappointments and frustrations themselves enables our students to build resilience, , which is one of Goucher's Three Rs, and mature in ways that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

The best way you can help your student adjust to college life is to offer what you've always offered: your love, support, understanding, and encouragement as they navigate the joys and challenges of the college experience. It is also important to remind your child to take care of themselves. This means getting enough sleep, physical exercise, and nourishment to be able to be at their best.

We are confident that, over the next several years, you, and we, will experience the gratification that comes from watching your student demonstrate their continued capacity to learn and their growing ability to act independently-to make choices wisely, learn from their mistakes, and accept increasingly higher levels of responsibility.

While four years sounds like a long time, its amazing how quickly this time can fly. Our best advice is to try to take a deep breath, appreciate how far you and your child have come, and enjoy watching them grow as they navigate through their exciting, sometimes scary, but in the end rewarding, Goucher experience.