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First-time Parents Of A First-Year Student

First-time Parents Of A First-Year Student

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First-time Parents Of A First-Year Student

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  1. First-time Parents Of A First-Year Student Rory McElwee, PhD Assistant Vice President for Student Retention

  2. What the Research Tells Us about Entering First-Year Students • College is very different from high school • New student goals for first year in order of priority • 1. Make friends and have fun • 2. Become independent person • 3. Choose financially rewarding major • 4. Get good grades

  3. They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know • They actually have to learn a whole new set of values, norms and expectations. • The Rowan First-Year Experience is designed to help our new students make a successful transition to college life.

  4. Academic Differences • Overall academic ability is higher (stand out less) • Much more reading and writing • Readings may not be discussed in class • Few opportunities for a grade (midterm and final) • Extra credit is rare • Courses go twice as fast • No bells or hall passes • Classes don’t meet five days a week • Assume you read the syllabus

  5. More Differences • Many new students lack understanding about major • 3 to 4 semesters before immersion • On their own to manage their time and affairs --financial, social, work, laundry, etc. • Calendar & daily rhythm • Must learn many sets of rules- residence life, academic major, financial aid, academic policies, etc • Learn college resources & location

  6. What Role Should Parents Play in this Transition? • Three Stages of Student Adjustment • Separation • Transition • Incorporation

  7. Separation • Homesickness – wants to come home weekends • Emotional roller coaster- “I like it, I hate it.” • Personal problems – “I hate my roommate” • Confusion – “All the liberal arts majors are interesting.”

  8. Transition • Finding “your kind” of friends • Campus begins to shrink • Discovery daily & weekly rhythm • May contemplate transfer • Confusion over major • Finding help and resources • Begins to practice time management • Learning to juggle school, work and social life

  9. Incorporation • Knows academic advisor • Involved on campus • Satisfied with major • Seeks guidance, not help, from parents • Realistic expectations for college & self • Rowan is “my home”

  10. Stages are Quite Variable from Student to Student • Duration of each stage varies by student • Some learn lessons “the hard way” t

  11. Parental Adjustment to Child in College • Stress Level • Financial concerns • Safety & security of my student • Student’s adjustment to Rowan • Family issues • Your separation anxiety t

  12. What Should My Role Be in the Transition Process? • You are IMPORTANT!! • Be a guide • FERPA an opportunity, not obstacle • Be an active listener and be patient • Every story has at least two versions • Rx homesickness = come to visit • Try, try again: Not “one and done”

  13. Stay in touch (But Not All the Time)

  14. Get on the Same Page • Do you share expectations? • You both list expectations of each other • Exchange lists and DISCUSS HONESTLY • Suggested Issues to Address • Money • Frequency of contact and trips home • Sharing of academic & other information • Fears and concerns • Decision-making

  15. Questions? mcelwee@rowan.edu www.rowan.edu/atp Acknowledgements to Jay Chaskes