Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Preparing for Your Student to Return Home for Summer

As of today (April 11, 2012), there is officially one month left in the semester.  On Friday, May 11 at 10 AM, many students will be graduating and heading on to the next phase of their lives, while freshman students will be moving out (or have already moved out) of their residence hall rooms.  Summer vacation presents the opportunity for many things, including leisure, work, summer school, among other things.

You may have already experienced some growing pains with your student during their month-long winter break.  From that experience, you, your student and other family members may have figured out how to negotiate the changing relationship at hand.  Here are a few tips on how to make you and your student’s summer vacation at home a more enjoyable experience for all:

Encourage your student to search for a job or volunteer opportunity
Having something to consistently do for the summer will make the time better for everyone, but more importantly your student.  He/she has been accustomed to maintaining a busy schedule of attending classes, meetings, campus events, even making time to hang out with friends and dealing with that change might be difficult. Searching for opportunities now can truly make a difference.

Curfew or no curfew?
Your student has not been accustomed to a curfew for the last nine months, so getting home at 2 AM might seem normal for them, but a nightmare for you.  Talk with your student about boundaries before things get out of control, for the sake of all involved.

Has your student considered summer school?
While there is a cost involved, summer is a great opportunity to take classes to stay on track or get ahead.  Students should talk with their academic advisor about what courses to take that will assist in their degree progress and will transfer to the university.  Summer financial aid is available for students and they should talk with their financial aid counselors about such resources.

Most all of, talking with your student will prove to ease the transition.  It will be a period of adjustment, but being aware of how things can play out will allow you to have those critical conversations with your student...before May 11. 

If you have already had at least one student go away for college and return home for the summer, feel free to share your experience.  Your thoughts just might help another parent!