First Year

Communicating between home and college

The first year of college is unlike any other year that follows. Usually it's the first time students are away from home, making their own decisions and handling their own schedules. It's also a time when parents usually see less communication between home and college … or at least in different ways. So there are adjustments on both sides to be made.

Here are a few tips that we've passed along over the years (or that have been passed on to us) that most parents find helpful.

  • Stay in touch with your students the way they stay in touch: texting, Facebook and cell phones. If you're not familiar with your "social" options, ask your student for a quick 101.
  • Emailing, not so much. Students may go days (some, weeks) without checking their inbox.
  • Discuss calling expectations. You might decide to call once a week at a scheduled time, or maybe just try to catch each other whenever. Just agree to the best way to call and, remember, if your student doesn't return your call right away, give them some time—they're enjoying college life!
  • If you decide to visit the campus, don't make it a surprise. Let your student know you're coming and when. Keep the visit short (unless other plans are made). You might take a group of their friends to dinner, but then let them be part of whatever is happening that night.
  • When your child does come home, they will have a lot of laundry to do. And they will most likely be on a different sleep schedule than before. They might stay up until 2 a.m. and may sleep later in the morning.

Making the best of academic success

Like most parents you will worry about your student adapting to college-levels academics. Don't. Your student will adjust, and it is an adjustment they have to make. It seems that no matter how that happens, a few things are always keys to success and worth passing along to them:

  1. Go to class. Don't sleep in (or sleep through).
  2. Do homework and reading assignments. Don't get behind.
  3. Get help when you first think you might need help. Don't wait until it's too late, like at exam time or the night before a paper is due.

If you see a dip in grades during this first semester, it's to be expected. Students have to adjust to a new learning environment, with new expectations. Most students will work this out for themselves and be back on track in a short time. Remember, your student has an advisor and a full faculty that wants to see them succeed. Encourage your student to take advantage of them and their suggestions and guidance. Developing these close mentoring-type relationships happen often at Lipscomb. Professors really get to know their students (and vice versa), which creates a great trusting and learning environment.

Speaking of professors, they do their homework as well. As part of supporting our faculty and our commitment to excellence in teaching, Lipscomb offers the Center for Teaching and Learning to faculty where they can learn new approaches to creative, collaborative and innovative teaching techniques. So, as your student works hard to learn new things in the class, our teachers work hard to learn news ways to educate them. Learn more about the center and what we're doing for continuous faculty improvement.

We also offer a one-stop resource for freshmen or transfer students called First Year Experience (FYE)—a great place to ask questions, find answers and talk with someone who can help in the transition to college life. Students can find more information on FYE when they sign into myLipscomb.