Parents Resource Guide: Transitioning to College

Questions and Answers
The Office of First-Year Programs answers common questions of first-year parents.

He comes home every weekend. Is this OK?
We suggest that you discourage your first-year student from coming home during the first weeks of school. The first weeks are a critical time for your student to really connect with UNH, make friends, and find his or her way around campus. Encourage your student to become involved with at least one campus group or organization.

He is having problems with his roommate. What can I do?
Hear him out. Then suggest that first he talk the problems over with his roommate. If problems persist, he may want to talk with his resident assistant or his hall director. Switching roommates sometimes pairs students up with others who have had problems with their roommates, creating a new set of problems. Often, it is just easier to seek some compromises and wait the semester out.

I send her e-mail and leave messages, but she doesn’t respond.

Keep reaching out and sending notes. But don’t be surprised if most of the communication goes in one direction. It is still appreciated.

Now that he is gone, we want to make some changes at home....
Try to avoid big changes during the first semester. Don’t change his room into a den; don’t move unless you have to, etc. If you do have to make changes, talk with him first.

The roller coaster... I call and she is crying hysterically. I worry for 24 hours and call again. She laughs at my concern. What gives?
College students live at high velocities. The first semester has many highs and many lows. Like the weather in New England, those moods do change. Calling to make sure everything is okay never hurts.

All semester, he told me he was doing well in his courses. Now, I find out he has failed two courses.
Learning time management the first semester is often a challenge. Poor time management can lead to poor grades. Support your child. Remind your student that tutoring assistance is available within the department offering the class or through the Center for Academic Resources.

Tips for Mid-Semester Conversations

  • Review agreements made in the summer, and renew or modify. (There will be a need to review these over the December break, and again before summer vacation.)
  • How much money is left on the meal card? If less than half of the original amount is there, when will additional funds be needed?
  • When asking about grades, remember that college grading is different than high school grading. The student may have only one test or graded assignment by this time. Perhaps the following questions would be more appropriate:
    What class do you like best? What makes that class good for you?
    What class is hardest for you? How are you dealing with it?
    Do they have tutoring for that class? (The answer is “Yes!”)
    What is your professor’s name? (Engaged students know this.)
    Have you talked with any of your teachers outside of class?
  • Be sure to ask about clubs, sports, cultural events, movies, socials, and other out-of-class activities.
  • Academic advising and course selection for spring term will begin immediately following mid-semester. Pre-registration for classes is completed before Thanksgiving.
  • Now is the time to think ahead to expectations for family holiday travels in November and December.