Universities today have changed a lot since most parents were students. Technology used in teaching, facilities available to students, accommodations and even the social activities on campus are very different today. University life may feel just as overwhelming to parents as it does to students but it is important to provide children the support they need to adjust to their new lifestyle.
The first few weeks at university
The first few weeks at university are the most crucial. New students may be worried about how they would fit in and if they would be able to make friends. As a parent, you would want to provide your child the reassurance that everything will be fine in a short time. Talk to them to ensure they have realistic expectations of university life. You should also help them understand that it takes quite some time to form friendships and to adjust to the new lifestyle on campus. University life offers a lot of freedom and this might be an issue with some students. Talk to your child to ensure they are focused on their education and that they do not take undue advantage of the freedom they have away from home.
Academic demands of university
The learning structure at university is very different from high school and it may take quite some time for new students to adapt to these differences. With the new independence they have on campus, there might be a lot of distractions and procrastination that may make it difficult for your child to put in the effort to study. If your child is having problems adjusting to the new style of studying, encourage him or her to speak to a professor and seek help on campus to overcome the difficulties.
Accommodation options available
For most parents, university accommodation is one of the main concerns, especially when their child has enrolled in a university abroad. Most universities today offer some form of accommodations to students for the first year. There are several different options to choose from. Traditional residence halls with meals, self-contained apartments, hotel quality private rooms and shared accommodations are the few options available. Each accommodation type has a different cost attached to it. While a private room is definitely the most comfortable, parents should also remember that their child would be responsible for cleaning and cooking. With their academic and social obligations, they might not always have enough time available to do that.
Living with a roommate
In most cases, your child will have to share a room with a stranger. This may present a few problems if your child has never shared a room with someone else. It is important for parents to talk to their children and explain that adapting with another person is an essential skill that will prove to be helpful every stage of their life. Encourage them to discuss all issues with their roommate and try to resolve them in a healthy manner instead of letting problems grow.
Dealing with homesickness
Even if your child is excited to attend university, he/she may soon experience homesickness as they try to adapt to their new environment. If your child comes home every weekend, it may take even longer for them to adapt to their new life. Encourage your child to spend as much time as possible on campus so they can experience university life, make friends faster and make the transition process easier. During their time on campus, parents should communicate with their children on a regular basis and discuss their problems.
University offers students an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded students and form solid friendships that may last a lifetime. Most universities today cater to a variety of interests including academic, cultural, social and sporting and students can easily find something that suits their interests. Parents should encourage their children to participate as much as they can since it will allow them to meet new people and discover their own interests in the process. If your child’s university has a student exchange program or a study abroad program in place, it would be a great opportunity for your child to experience a new culture and gain valuable life experience.