Division of Student Affairs > Resources > Parents & Family > Family Connection News > 2021–2022 News > ways_to_support_students

Ways to support students throughout their college journey

Advice from a DePaul junior

For many parents and guardians, sending their children off to college can be a difficult experience to navigate, and much like students, parents and families are adjusting to the changes as well. As a college junior with a few years of navigating my own changing relationship with my parents, I offer these tips for how best to support your students throughout their college journey.

1.     Grant them some freedom.

Your student's time at DePaul may be some of the most formative years of their life. Here, they will have opportunities to learn about communities in Chicago and DePaul's Vincentian mission, but also about themselves. Let your student try new things, explore different aspects of their identity and determine who they want to become. Sure, they're bound to make mistakes, but they'll also learn from them!

2.     Encourage, but don't pressure.
When feeling under pressure, many of your students may turn to you for advice and help. Remember: students are dealing with difficult transitions and rigorous class schedules, all during a pandemic, and that can be really overwhelming! You can support them by encouraging them in everything they do, but eliminate the pressure by letting them know you and the DePaul community are resources for them to be the best they can be.

3.     Support their decisions.
As parents and guardians, you may not always agree with your student's decisions, but the best thing you can do is trust that they are doing the best they can for themselves at this point in their lives. This could be deciding what major suits their professional interests, navigating how to build long-lasting relationships with friends, or even when they go to sleep at night. Allow them to take the lead and figure out what works best for them! But don't forget to dole out some of that gentle encouragement and advice, as well, if you feel they are really off-track.

4.     Be empathetic.

Try to be as understanding as possible. There is no handbook on being a college student, just as there is no handbook on how to parent. Emerging as a full-fledged adult is can be a long and difficult process, ​and students are navigating as best they know how. As they begin to learn more about their identities, gain more responsibilities, and adjust to life as a college student, they will look to you for a little compassion.​