General Tips to Support your Student

Whatever year your student is in, we've compiled a list of the most-often discussed topics between parents and students. Take a glance for some helpful ideas and approaches to conversations.
Remind your student that no matter what they need or have questions about, there is some place or some one on campus who can help. Encourage them to utilize our various campus resources. To find out more about all our student services click here: Student Services

Now, a few things to keep in mind, ask about or discuss....

  • Show interest in the new experiences of your student. Listen closely and be supportive.
  • Ask questions about their academic activities.
    • When is your first exam?
    • Where do you study best?
    • Have you tried using study groups for classes?
  • If your student is also working, ask them how they are handling work and school together.
  • Encourage communication between your student and their instructors and advisors. So much can be accomplished this way.
  • Be flexible. Your student's plans may change from one semester to the next. This is a normal part of most students' college experience. Your flexibility and support will help your student realize their goals without becoming overly frustrated.
  • Be patient. College is a challenging time for students so allow them time to grow and mature with all the new experiences of college life.

Things to Expect

More self-reliance

Yes, for the most part, students are on their own. They set their own schedules, make their own decisions and decide their own choices. College brings less structure and guidance than they are used to. But this is good, because it encourages students to gain independence and become more self-reliant adults.

Academic adjustment

College academics, for most students, prove to be very different than high school. College demands problem-solving and critical-thinking that may be more demanding. Encourage your student to stay on top of coursework so that it is not as overwhelming when deadlines or exam dates come around.


Yes, college can be stressful. That's why students should know the resources they have available to them. Remind them the faculty, their roommates, fellow students and parents are all here to help them succeed.

Helping Your Student Adjust


Every first-year student, to some degree, will miss home. These students have a lot of adjustments to make and your support and encouragement is important. Make sure to:

  • Allow them time to explore not only the campus, but Nashville and surrounding areas. There are a lot of great things to do living here.
  • Remind your student that it's important to focus on their academics as well as the new experiences of college. But they are the ones that have to find the right balance. Don't worry, they will.
  • Encourage your student to maintain healthy habits like a healthy diet, exercise and sufficient sleep.
  • There are dozens of groups, clubs and events on campus. Encourage your student to sign up, get involved and make new friends.

Struggling in class?

Again, for the first time, many students are responsible for attending class, doing homework and keeping up with day-to-day projects. If they find themselves falling behind, concerned about grades or not understanding what's being discussed, encourage them to talk to the professor of the course. A problem might get resolved with a meeting or two. Or maybe they can form or join a study group, which is a popular way on campus to share ideas and study.

Where to study?

The first place you might think of is their room (whether in a dorm on off-campus housing), and that is always a great place. But sometimes students have to find more secluded areas, or a place where other students gather to discuss courses. Here are the students' top five in no particular order:

  1. Beaman Library (still can't beat a library, traditional spaces with study rooms)
  2. Bennett Student Center (lots of open space, small rooms too, relaxed and comfortable)
  3. Starbucks (a little caffeine always helps)
  4. Study rooms and classrooms in Ezell, Swang, McFarland and the bottom of Crisman (larger spaces and quiet)
  5. Outside! Nothing beats some study time under a tree or at an outside table. When the weather is nice, students head outside to find their own favorite study spots (you'll even see some students studying in their own hammocks tied between trees)

Getting student involved?

Never before has your student been exposed to more opportunities than on a college campus. Whatever their interest, there is something to get involved in, join or volunteer for. These out-of-the-classroom opportunities are not just fun, they can lead to improved communication and leadership skills and even personal career networks that will serve them long after graduation. We like to think the more students get involved, the more Christ-like experience they will encounter during their college years.