St. Mary's College of Maryland

“Some Items I Wish I Could Discuss With the Families of All Students”

By Michael J. Kiphart, Ph.D. (former Associate Provost for Academic Services)

  1. If you were puzzled by your children in high school, you will certainly be confused by them when they are in college; if you were not puzzled by your children in high school, you are in for a real experience while they are in college.

  2. Be prepared for changes in your relationships with your students, especially during their first visit home.

  3. Learn to let go. They are making their own way and will make mistakes.

  4. Learn to listen to your children. Try to understand their point of view even if it changes back and forth right before your very eyes.

  5. Talk to and with your children, not at them. Afford your children the same respect that you expect and require from them.

  6. Keep your children informed of happenings on the home front. However, if there are problems at home, assure them that it is not their fault, or assure them that their being away did not contribute to the problems.

  7. Try not to press your children about what they are going to do after college or with the rest of their life during their first year or two.

  8. If your children decide to change their major program, be supportive and helpful. Recommend that they make the most informed decision, using all manner of resources at their disposal.

  9. Please understand that college is not vocational/technical training. We have a strong commitment to the liberal arts and their educational value.

  10. If your student wants to stop or change schools, talk to them, assure them, compliment them, and help them make the most informed decision.

  11. Please do not compete with your student or have your student compete with their peers.

  12. Keep in touch, write your children a letter or send them a funny card when they least expect it or for no reason at all. E-mail, if you have it, is wonderful.

  13. If at all possible, visit your children for scheduled family days.

  14. If you intend to visit campus, let them know you are coming. Surprises can work both ways, and usually not for the better.

  15. Don't blame SMCM for your student's behavior, and we at the College will try not to blame you for your student's behavior.

  16. If you have questions, need information, or are confused, call us and let us help you get the information you are seeking. Refer your student to the staff and resources at the College.

  17. Working together, student, family, parents, faculty, and College staff, we can achieve and accomplish the most out of a college education for everyone involved.

  18. Be aware of the Family Rights to Privacy Act (Buckley Amendment) and its impact. (See next section.)

Additional Resources

Don't Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years by Helen E. Johnson, et al. (Paperback)

Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years, Fourth Edition by Karen Levin Coburn (Author), Madge Lawrence Treeger (Author) (Paperback)

When Your Kid Goes to College; A Parent's Survival Guide by Carol Barkin (Author) (Paperback)

Almost Grown: Launching Your Child from High School to College by Patricia Pasick (Paperback)

Empty Nest, Full Heart : The Journey from Home to College by Andrea Van Steenhouse, Johanna Parker

Doors Open From Both Sides by Steffany Bane, Margo E. Bane Woodacre

The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting from Senior to College Life by Laura Kastner, Jennifer Fugett Wyatt