How to Encourage Your New College Student

2. Grab Quality Time When You Can

The weeks before your child leaves for school, errands, shopping, and maybe last minute medical appointments will keep you busy. Your teen might have a full social schedule as he says goodbye to their friends. Quality time together might take effort, but make time to stop for a coffee break together between errands, or make family dinner a high priority several nights a week.

Interruptions are easier to reframe into opportunities when you know your days together are numbered. Last night when my daughter said, “Mom, can I talk to you?” at 10:30 pm, remembering she leaves for school in two weeks helped me see a late-night chat in a positive light.

3. Help Him Develop a Personal Plan

When I read Sticky Faith by Kara Powell, I learned that often the choices teens make their first two weeks of college will set the tone for the rest of their college career. My husband and I had a special meeting with our son before he left for school three years ago to help him plan his choices during his first two weeks based on his answers to these questions:

  • How do you think having a strong faith will help you during college?
  • How do you plan on connecting with God the first two weeks of school?
  • How will you find a church or Christian student group?
  • When will you plan on studying?
  • How will you handle your finances?

Sometimes our kids’ answers may be different than we’d expect, but we need to listen. The more ownership they have of their goals, the more effective the plan will be.

4. Set Up a Time to Check In

If possible, make a quick visit to your child two weeks after school starts to check in and see how his plan is going. My husband and I drove down for lunch with my son, but we’ll have to use Skype to check in with our girl. Of course, monitoring our kids throughout their college careers would be unhealthy, but offering a special check-in time after the first few weeks might offer the reassurance and accountability they need.

5. Celebrate this Rite of Passage

Rejoice in this new stage of your child’s life, and make time to celebrate. Do what you can to make your young adult feel special before she leaves home. Take a family outing, do something she particularly enjoys, or go to a movie together. Plan a special celebration dinner before your teen leaves home and give them a special memento to take with them to college.

A version of this post originally appeared at, published with permission.

Betsy de Cruz
Betsy de Cruz
Hi, I’m Betsy. I write to encourage people to stick close to God, even when life gets bumpy and crazy. Let’s learn together how to get more of His Word IN so our faith can spill OUT into our everyday. Read more of my work at

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