tips for parents of future college students 

6 Tips for Parents of Teens Going to College for the First Time

Sending your kid off to college for the first time can be a daunting experience. While the looming threat of an empty nest and the shock of a suddenly quiet household can feel uncomfortable, nagging questions like “how am I going to pay for this?” and “will my child be safe?” are downright distressing. 

For those unfamiliar with this phase, it’s natural to find yourself lost in a whirlwind of excitement and anxiety. To ease your concerns and help navigate this exciting yet nerve-wracking transition, we’ve curated a list of tips for parents of soon-to-be college students.  

Tip #1: Plan your finances

Prepare early by discussing college expenses and exploring financial aid options like scholarships and grants. The earlier you submit your FAFSA and scholarship or grant applications, the more likely it is you’ll receive more financial support, so make sure to stay ahead of important deadlines! Look into both federal and private student loans for tuition and other expenses. 

The reality is there’s only so much you can do together. Make sure to sit down with your future college student and create a realistic budget for when they’re at school, including costs for things like school supplies and food, and compare college expenses. Encouraging smart spending habits and exploring other avenues for income like work-study programs or part-time jobs can help your child maintain ownership over their expenses. Open communication about finances will help set your child up for success as they navigate this new chapter in their life. 

Learn more about our options for financial aid. 99% of UB received grants or scholarships to make paying for college more affordable.  

Tip #2: Cover the basics of campus safety 

College campuses are overall incredibly safe, but they’re safest when students maintain awareness and keep themselves out of compromising situations. Encourage your child to stay alert and be aware of their surroundings on campus, especially at night, and remind them to travel in groups when possible.  

Most colleges also have 24/7 safety services. Save campus emergency contacts to your phone, and make sure your child has them saved as well. Support your child to make informed decisions by maintaining open communication about their college experiences.  

UB utilizes the LiveSafe app, which allows users to share their location, send tips and messages to Campus Security, access emergency services, and more. This app may provide both you and your child with a sense of comfort as your child navigates a college campus for the first time.  

Visit our campus safety page to learn more. 

Tip #3: Lean on academic support

Academically speaking, college is a big transition from high school. First-year students may feel overwhelmed by the sudden influx of work and deadlines. It’s totally normal for them to feel overwhelmed.  

Encourage your child to familiarize themselves with campus academic resources, such as tutoring, study groups, math labs, and more. Sit down with your child and teach them the importance of time management and organizational skills so they can keep up with their class schedule.  

You can foster a supportive environment by encouraging their independence during this time of transition, but make sure to let them know you’re always available for guidance.  

At UB’s on-campus Heckman Center, we offer academic advising, tutoring, and other resources to help your student make the most of their college education. Refer to our Office of Student Academic Success to learn more.  


 Still wondering how to best help your student adjust to the college transition? Learn more by visiting our online hub for prospective parents! 


Tip #4: Offer mental health support

Parents can help prioritize their child’s mental health by fostering open conversations about emotions, stress management, and self-care. Encourage your child to establish healthy routines, including adequate sleep, balanced nutrition, and regular exercise.  

Emphasize the importance of seeking campus mental health resources if needed and remind them that it’s okay to ask for help. College is a big transition, so it’s normal for your child to feel very big emotions. Stay connected and supportive, offering a listening ear and validating their experiences as they navigate the emotional challenges of transitioning to college life. 

At University of Bridgeport, comprehensive counseling is available to current students at no additional cost. Learn more about UB’s counseling services today.  

Tip #5: Encourage their involvement

Your child’s dorm room is their new home — help them make sure it’s a practical and comfortable escape from the stressors of college life. 

Together, create a checklist of essential items like bedding, storage solutions, and more, along with items that will make them feel more at home. Encourage practical purchases, considering dual-purpose furniture and organizational tools to optimize space, and remind them to personalize their space for comfort and a sense of familiarity while keeping in mind the dorm’s rules and restrictions. Support their decisions while offering guidance to optimize their dorm room experience. 

Tip #6: Help manage homesickness

It’s normal for students to feel some semblance of homesickness after leaving for school. This is a natural part of the college transition.  

If your child reaches out to you about homesickness, it’s important that you validate their feelings. Make sure to foster open communication and schedule regular check-ins. Encourage your child to create a network of support on campus through friendships, clubs and activities, and more. Becoming involved on campus can help create a sense of belonging, making college feel more like home and giving your child a safety net of support they can turn to. 

Many students find that transitional objectsor meaningful trinkets from home — serve to ease their adjustment to college. Furthermore, it might be helpful to remind your child of home by sending them occasional care packages. Daily calls or monthly visits might also help ease some of your child’s homesickness — just make sure to honor their requests for independence at the same time.  

Empower your students on their journey 

As you prepare to send your child off to college, we hope these tips serve as a guiding compass through this transformative journey. From financial preparedness to academic support, these insights aim to ease both your and your child’s anxiety as they enter a new chapter of their lives. 

With these strategies in mind, both parents and their budding scholars can confidently embrace the upcoming college adventure with open arms. 

 If you have any other questions for us during this transitional period, please visit our website for more tips and contact information.  

At University of Bridgeport, we put our students first. Learn more about how University of Bridgeport can support your child’s college journey today!