Success tips for new college students–and their parents


Director, Student Personnel in Higher Education graduate program, UF’s College of Education
Associate Director of Housing for Student Learning and Engagement, University of Florida


1) CONNECT EARLY. Get connected on campus early in the semester (for example, get involved with at least one club or organization on campus, take advantage of campus programs).
2) HOMEWORK—DO IT! Stay on top of your homework and studying. It is difficult to catch up.
3) STEADY STUDY. Don’t wait until the night before your exam to study.
4) FEED THE NEED TO READ. If you are assigned something to read for class, read it before class.
5) FORM STUDY GROUP. Take advantage of study groups, exam review sessions, and faculty office hours.
6) FIRST IMPRESSIONS, FALSE READINGS. Try to keep an open mind and get to know people before making assumptions based on first impressions.
7) ENGAGE-ENGAGE-ENGAGE. Did I mention you should engage? Engage with other students, with your professors, with your course material and with the campus community.
8) AND PROSPER. Sleep and eat well.

Tips for PARENTS of New College Students

1) SET COMMUNICATION GROUND RULES. Decide with your student the way you want to communicate with each other (e.g., e-mail, text, phone calls, etc.) and how often. Remember that their schedules are very different on campus compared to high school.
2) DON’T HOVER. Let your student solve his/her own problems on campus—such as roommate compatibility issues, course schedules, other conflicts). Take on the role of sounding board, coach or adviser.
3) STAY INVOLVED IN THEIR LIVES. Inquire occasionally about friends, involvement on campus, classes, grades, health, etc. If you detect a red flag, talk directly with your student about it. If needed, encourage your student to discuss issues with his/her Resident Assistant, professor, counselor, adviser, or another campus administrator.
4) EMBRACE NEW LIVING ARRANGEMENT. Try to keep an open mind. Your student will experience many new and different activities, people, and other circumstances on campus.
5) SNAIL MAIL TRUMPS TEXTS. Never underestimate the power of a care package or an actual card in the mail. 

J. Diane Porter-Roberts, PhD, director, Student Personnel in Higher Education graduate program, UF College of Education. 352-392-2171, ext. 10660; DianeP@housing.ufl.edu
EDITOR/MEDIA RELATIONS: Larry Lansford, APR, director, news and communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4137, llansford@coe.ufl.edu