Tips for Parents
Leaving for college can be a stressful time, not only for students but also for parents. UHV has provided some helpful advice for you, as parents, to make the most of your child’s college experience.
- Say goodbye before the last minute. Once your child is on campus, he already has begun making that important separation from you. It may be too awkward and public for everyone to have a private goodbye in the presence of other students, families and a roommate. We suggest parents and students spend some time earlier, perhaps the night before, having a quiet time together to celebrate this occasion.
- Think about your parting words. The closing words between parents and children are crucial. Whatever wisdom you have to offer, whether it is "I love you," "'I'm behind you," or "I'm proud of you," say it. If you can’t express yourself verbally, write your thoughts down and mail the letter to your child when you arrive home.
- Leave a note. If you are dropping your student off at school, leave a note or card somewhere in his new room (maybe tuck in some money, too!). After you have left, it will be a nice reminder of how much you care.
- Do not call every day. So many students now have their own cell phone, and it is tempting for parents to want to keep in constant contact. Consider limiting calls to only a few times a week. Let your children know that you trust them.
- Your lives will change. Younger siblings may be quite happy to see the older child leave home. They also will be happy when they return for holidays! If the college-bound student is your youngest, you'll begin to reestablish a one-on-one relationship with your spouse after years of parenting!
- You won't be able to wait for them to come home − or leave! Your child will arrive home with a whole new set of habits that weren’t in effect in high school, particularly when it comes to food, sleep and rules. You may want to rethink these rules and adjust as necessary.
- Do NOT make surprise visits to school. It already can be tricky when parents visit their student. Because the parents are in the student's world, the student feels responsible for showing them around and being with them. When the parents show up out of the blue and the student has other things planned for the day, things can get stressful.
- Ask generalized questions. "How are your classes?" "Are you having a good time?" "How is the cafeteria food?" These are great questions that will get better answers than, "What is your roommate like?" or "What did you do today?" Typically, the less you ask, the more they tell.
- Encourage your student to take over daily tasks if he hasn’t already. Every residence hall has a laundry room. Every student is expected to keep a reasonably tidy room and share in the bathroom cleaning.
- Use email. College students are extremely busy, and email lets you talk back and forth at one another’s convenience (even if it is at 2 a.m.).
- Have a discussion about Facebook and MySpace. These electronic websites can have a lasting effect on a person’s life. What is posted there is forever archived to follow the student throughout his life. Even if your student removes a posting, someone else may have copied and circulated it. Encourage your student to be cautious in what information he posts.
- Cell phones. Since most students now use their cell phones, there are no phone lines provided in the residence hall rooms.
- Be a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes college life can be stressful and frustrating, even for the most studious or sociable kids. Whether the topic is classes or friends, listen and do not judge. You always can encourage your student to talk with his educational adviser to resolve class-related issues or to his hall director for residence hall-related issues.
- When a problem arises, "move like your feet are stuck in molasses." The temptation is to intervene when a child calls home with a problem. Remember that many resources exist at college to help students cope with various situations. Express support, but give your children time to solve their own problems − it will ultimately benefit them. This is a big part of college − learning to resolve questions, conflicts and frustrations.
- Send them something! Most college students know what time the mail arrives and drop by the mail box daily to see if anything is in their box. Even if it is just an old picture or a short note saying how proud you are of them, SEND SOMETHING and put a smile on their face. If you mail the package through an independent delivery service, such as UPS or FedEx and it is sent to a university address, the rates can be very low compared to sending something to a house − between $5 and $10 for an 18-by-18-by-6-inch box full of food and clothes! (Put "UHV" on the address label, along with the street address, and ask for the institutional rate). The mailing address for Jaguar Hall is 2705 Houston Highway, Victoria, TX 77901 and is also available on the following website: UHV Housing.
- Buy a nice meal. When parents visit their student, it can be a delightful experience if they invite not only their student out to eat, but also a few of his close new friends. It will be unexpected and appreciated! Even delicious dorm food can get monotonous. You also will get a glimpse at the new people in your child’s life. (Hopefully, that will be good!)
Academic and student life
- Encourage involvement. College is more than classes and homework. Experience with extracurricular activities is valued by employers. Encourage your student to be active in his field of study and to join student organizations and honor societies.
- Be interested in, but not critical of, academic course selection. UHV has course selection and degree requirements that need to be addressed during the student's first year. Generally, academic advisers give advice on selecting these courses. Parents are encouraged to express interest in, rather than criticism of, their student's choices.
- Your student's grades will not be sent home. Students receive their grades electronically now, soon after the close of each semester. We encourage parents and students to keep an open line of communication regarding academic progress, especially if the parents are funding the student's education!
Fees and finances
- Health insurance. Tell your student how to access your health insurance.
- Travel costs. Many of our students live a short drive from home, so the travel costs are minimal. If students do not have a car, it is appropriate that they pay or share the costs of gas with the students from their towns who drive them home.
- Parking fees. Students who wish to park on campus may do so without purchasing UHV parking permits. There are no parking fees, although certain areas are reserved.
- Books and supplies. There is a book store available on campus, or you can buy books elsewhere if you wish. http://www.victoriacollege.edu/bookstore_2
- Money. Many parents expect their student to earn their own spending money. There are many on-campus jobs that are convenient for students living on campus. Parents who are fully funding their student's college expenses are still encouraged to give their student some financial responsibility.
- Talk about credit cards and finances before school begins. We encourage parents to have a frank discussion about finances with their student before he leaves home. Will the student have a credit card? Should a parent be a co-signer and get copies of the statements? Banks bombard college students with credit-card offers that start off with low spending limits but then raise them rapidly as cards are used.
- Resist the urge to decorate your child's new dorm room. One of the best ways for roommates to learn about each other and forge a good relationship is to work together on how their room is arranged and decorated. Those who arrive later − even by an hour or two − are immediately at a disadvantage if their roommate already has established their "territory." Once room assignments are made, students have access to their roommate's contact information so that they can discuss room arrangements before either actually arrives on campus.
- Mini refrigerators are allowed in student's rooms, but microwaves are not. Many students bring their own mini refrigerators and coordinate with their roommate so as to not duplicate. If you have other questions, please contact housing at 361-485-4404.
- Most hall furniture is moveable. Students often bring extra plastic drawer units, a reading lamp (no halogen lamps), and a computer (although there is a computer lab available in the Jaguar Hall). Housing will provide students with a list of items they need to bring for their room.
- Food. There is always a delicious menu available in UHV's dining facility with an all-you-can-eat buffet during each dining period. Students also usually keep a few snacks and beverages in their rooms for times when the cafeteria is closed.
And remember to...
- Enjoy your freedom. You will miss your child, as any parent would. But remember that you have spent 18 years of your life raising him and preparing him for independence.