College Preparation: 10 Tips for Supporting Your New Bruin
The transition to college can be a confusing time for both students and their families. Take a look at these tips from UCLA Student Health Education & Promotion to help you prepare.
1. Promote good wellness and stress management practices.
As a new and excited Bruin, your student may become too occupied with academics and/or social activities to always adequately care for their well-being. You can help by offering suggestions for setting healthy eating, sleeping, and exercise habits to your student.
2. Listen to your student and respect their feelings.
Some college students may develop feeling of anxiety, stress, and depression. It is important that you validate your student’s feelings and help them seek proper support. You can start by familiarizing yourself with UCLA’s campus resources, such as UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
3. Learn about the UCLA experience from current students or Bruin alumni.
While everyone’s college experience is different, listening to the experiences of others can grant you and your student valuable insights. For example, you can establish a sense of what to expect and a glimpse of the realities of college. New Bruin Send-offs are great spaces to learn from current students, families and alumni, and meet other new families as well.
4. Celebrate your student’s acceptance to the No. 1 public university in the nation.
Remember that your student is now among some of the brightest young adults in the world! This is exciting and to be celebrated, but can also create a competitive environment. Avoid heightening the stress levels by pressuring your student to receive perfect grades. Rather, support your student’s academic success through regular affirmations and encourage them that their experience in college may look different than that of high school.
5. Write letters or send small care packages.
Receiving surprise mail will surely brighten up your student’s day! Make the process easy by taking advantage of the UCLA Store Care Package Program.
6. Talk about how you and your student will communicate while they are away at school.
Schedule specific days and times to have phone calls that accommodate everyone’s availability. Additionally, answer your student’s phone calls and texts, and/or reach out to them directly if you do not hear from them. Remember that no news can be good news, and sometimes just means your student is busy with school or getting adjusted to campus. Take a pause before you call UCPD because you suspect your student is missing.
7. Tell your student they are doing great!
Your affirmation is significant because some students may feel inadequate at a large and competitive university like UCLA. Affirmations are especially profound during finals week, one of the most stressful times of the quarter for many students. To keep abreast of important academic dates, visit the academic calendar.
8. Acknowledge that it may take time to make close friends in college.
Students may feel overwhelmed by the vast number of social activities and communities at UCLA, but you can help ease this feeling by reminding your student that they will find their fit in time. Encourage your student to jump start the process by introducing themselves to their floormates during move-in day .
9. Set boundaries for yourself when it comes to ‘checking in’ on your student.
Respect your student’s desire to have more space, whether they ask to have fewer or shorter phone calls, visits, care packages, letters, etc. Understand that your student is an adult and may want to enjoy their independence. Their need for space may also ebb and flow depending on the time of year, amount of time they have been away from home, etc. so being flexible will help you manage your expectations.
10. Trust and respect your student’s choices.
As an emerging adult, your student is learning to be mature and responsible enough to make their own decisions regarding going out, making friends, studying, etc. If you have concerns about their choices, find non-judgmental ways to have open and honest conversations with your student.