Tips for Parents from our Academic Advising Staff
You may have questions and concerns. You may want to do whatever it takes to help your student succeed. Below are tips from our Advising staff on how to help your student, and also help yourself with the transition to WOU.
Words of advice to parents:
As your child grows we worry that their choices may not be the best choice. But we also have to ask ourselves “Is their choice not our best choice, or is their choice the best choice for them?” Remember, their education is their responsibility; it’s their time to grow and learn. So support them, encourage them, and talk to them about their choices and trust them. Push them to research how their choices will affect their lives. Making decisions can be difficult, but being prepared and well informed will make the difference. Step into your child’s life as you need to, provide your guidance and leadership, but also teach them to become independent leaders and allow them to make their choices. Encourage them to use our campus resources to help them understand their responsibilities. Your support and their efforts will build their confidence to succeed.
Students come to the Academic Advising and Learning Center seeking our advice on a plethora of situations. These situations can range from advice about services on campus, grades, study skills, degree plans to a variety of other situations. Our discretion is a key piece of our role as an academic advisor. The information which a student details to an advisor can oftentimes be sensitive in nature and thus a trust in formed between the advisor and the advisee which is the foundation of what typically becomes an ongoing relationship.
We in the advising office are bound not only by ethical standards in our field, but also federal law. It is important for parents to understand the limits that are placed on advisors in regards to information they can discuss with anyone other than the student. The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) dictates that written permission must be obtained from the student prior to an advisor being able to discuss anything, with anyone, about the student’s academic life.
We understand the desire for parents to meet with an advisor to discuss their students’ academic life; however we must follow proper procedures beforehand. While the parent may or may not be providing the financial backing of their student’s education, it does not strip the rights that your son or daughter has as not only a student, but as an adult.
Based on many years as a parent and as an academic advisor to college freshmen, my advice is two-fold.
First, the transition to college should be discussed with the son/daughter before he/she leaves home. College is very different from high school in terms of academic demands. Living away from home brings all sorts of new thrills and challenges. Talking about things openly in a “what-if” sort of way can prepare the student so the transition is easier.
Secondly, because our son/daughter may think we worry too much, our cautionary words of wisdom may not have been fully heard so issues can arise after your student is away at school that you thought had been resolved in those earlier discussions.
A parent should be an available, supportive safety net letting your student know you have confidence in him/her, that you understand, and you care greatly which is why you are interested in hearing how things go and if something is needed. If help is needed, determine if resources are known.
Parents should not be intrusive and judgmental. This sends a message of mistrust and lack of confidence and is not an invitation to open, honest conversations. Be aware of extra stressful times such as mid-terms and finals so you can add an extra kind phone call, email or text or you can send a box of goodies.