The Importance of Parental Support During the First Year of College
What We Learned about First-Year College Students
Ways Parents’ Support Facilitates Adjustment
- Students acknowledged that parents’ willingness to pay for college was encouraging because it freed them from worrying about college expenses.
- Students described the emotional support they received from their parents.
- Students also valued the support they received from parents’ letters, packages, and phone calls. Although letters and packages were not as common as phone calls, the students all expressed joy and excitement when they received a package or letter in the mail. Students indicated that they appreciated the time family members put into preparing the packages because they demonstrated how much they cared.
Ways Parents’ Support Hinders Adjustment
- For these students, parents’ phone calls were a source of pressure.
- For example, one student described how his mother called him while she was going through a difficult divorce, while another student discussed how her mother often asked why she did not choose a school closer to home.
- In these instances, students felt their parents were calling to receive, rather than provide emotional support. As a result, students might have felt obligated to return home to spend time with their families than spending time on campus settling into college life.
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