It’s time to drop your college-bound student off at their HBCU campus. They are about to begin an exciting new chapter in their life. Though you guided them here, you might wonder how you can help with this next big step. This article shares several ways that parents and caregivers can support new HBCU students.
1. Help Students Develop a Study Schedule
Even though your student did well in high school, remind them that college courses require lots of time and effort. Having a set study schedule will help your student excel. Remind them to schedule time for self-care, fun, and of course, calls or video chats with family and friends.
2. Encourage Students to Take Part in College Life
Some people naturally gravitate toward others. Others need a little encouragement. If your student tends to be on the shier side, encourage them to branch out and make new friends. If your student is extroverted, encourage them to explore new interests.
3. Support Career Choices and Changes
You sent your student to college as a pre-med major. At Thanksgiving, they tell you that they want to major in something else. Even if you don’t agree with the decision, do your best to support it. Remember: College is about exploration, and it’s quite common for students to change their majors. Support them as they work to find their passion.
4. Help Students Set up a Budget
Every college student needs a budget. Discuss your plan for money. Who will send them money? How? How often? Help your student make a budget. If your bank has branches near your student’s HBCU, help them open a bank account at your bank before they leave home. If your family bank doesn’t have a location near HBCU, help your student set up a local bank account when you drop them off to school. It’s also a good idea to talk to your student about credit and credit cards as some may consider opening one.
5. Remind Students to Take Care of Themselves
In all the excitement of making new friends, exploring a new city, and learning new things, your student may be burning the candle at both ends for fear of missing out on opportunities. Remind them to eat right, exercise, get good sleep, and otherwise take care of themselves physically and mentally.
6. Introduce Students to Local Family and Friends
If you have friends or family members near your child’s school, take advantage of it! Introduce your students to family members (whether blood family or “play cousins”) who live near their HBCU. Extended family members may extend an invite for a home-cooked meal or a place to stay for a long weekend away. These are great opportunities for your student.
7. Continue to Listen
College can be fun, nerve-wracking, exciting, and amazing all at once. Sometimes, all your student needs is a listening ear. Continue to be the listening ear, sounding board, and shoulder to lean on that you have always been.
As you send your student to college for the first time, it’s common for them – and you – to feel strong emotions. While it’s normal to miss and even worry about your child, remember that you both worked hard to get them to this place. All the time and love you poured into this child has paid off. You helped them get this far and you should be proud.
Congratulations on a job well done!