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How Can I Support My College Student From a Distance?

It’s hard letting your student go to college and feeling like you can't take care of them, but you can! Here's some advice on supporting your student from afar.

Suzanne Shaffer
Freelance Writer
College Coach
It’s hard to send your student off to college. It’s especially hard if the school is in another state, across the country, or even in another country. But no matter where they are, they’ll continue to need your support. Communication between parents and college students plays an essential role in helping students find academic success. My advice? Start by listening. Ask questions before offering guidance. If there’s a problem, help your student by sharing practical tips. Many times, they’ll arrive at a solution themselves simply by talking to you. Don’t be so quick to jump in and fix it—let them self-advocate first.

Care packages work wonders as a method of support, especially if you can’t be there in person. There are opportunities every semester to send a care package: Send one during their first few weeks when they’re homesick; send one during finals week; send one for holidays they won’t be home for like Halloween or Valentine’s Day. Fill the package with things they love and reminders of home. Alternatively, if you feel your student is struggling, encourage them to seek help on campus. For academics, there’s always tutoring available. For roommate issues, they can talk to their resident advisor. For mental health issues, they should seek help from the campus health center. There are services in place on every campus to support your student when you can’t be there.

Want more advice from this expert? Check out Suzanne’s blog on Coping With an Empty Nest: 5 Tips for New College Parents.

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