Penn State Campus

Having your kid going to college can be very challenging with so many uncertainties. After so many years of being together, it can be hard to let go. Not knowing what to do or expect will scare us the most. Here are 10 tips and advice for new college parent of Penn State students.

1. Let your kid take the lead

Relax, your kid will get into a college and will do just fine. And wherever they end up, they’re not stuck there – they can always change majors or transfer schools. Let your kid take the lead and find his or her own way/what feels best for them. 

2. Take the time to listen to your son or daughter

Listen to your kids before you give advice. Time for them to reason things out with you rather than have you resolve their issues! 

3. Give them freedom to decide what’s best for them

Advise your child to pick the college which feels right to him or her. Don’t just go by the popularity of the school, sometimes a small school is better.

4. Give them space to grow and learn

There is a fine line between allowing your child space to grow and learn and handle experiences on their own AND still being the parent and assisting and/or providing advice for your kids when they need it. I see too many parents being concerned or judgmental on whether you are being a helicopter parent or not. I don’t care if you judge me for helping my child. I know my child better than they do so if I feel my child needs my assistance and I can help in some way, I will do so. So I guess the short of the long is this: Allow your child the space to handle everything that college has for them, but if your parental intuition is telling you that they are getting overwhelmed, there is no harm in helping them (and that help comes in many forms)

5. Plan and research early on to prepare for college

Start early with college search and applications. It is never too early to start doing research on this.

6. Start saving money early on for college

Save money and more money- it will never be enough! College is really expensive and you will never know how much you are going to need. Research on loans and scholarships early on for Penn State.

7. Find help as soon as possible when needed

If you know that your kid is struggling with some courses, find a tutor ASAP! Don’t wait till the last minute before the final exam. It’s always better to prepare early.

8. Allow them to make mistakes so they can learn

Start early & make a timeline for your student to use collaboratively with you. Don’t do everything for them. Allow them to make mistakes rather than running to Mom or Dad to assist with rides, asking about grades, switching roommates, checking on meal plans,etc. These are all things your student should be able to do on their own. 

9. Continue to support even when they make mistakes

Yes, they will make mistakes and the ramifications may be shocking BUT they will never forget that lesson again.

10. Join the college parents community

Join your Penn State parents facebook group (Class of 20XX) and read as much as you can before you drop off your student. It’s a lot of information, but it’s incredibly helpful and the support of the parents on the group when you or your student is struggling is very comforting.

Note: These tips are provided by current parents of Penn State students

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