Both parents and students go through developmental changes when students enter college. This is a time of new experiences, new friendships, and new opportunities. Entering college is often a student' s first experience living outside the home; this will include challenging situations that require good decision-making skills.
Rather than a one-time speech, be prepared to establish an ongoing conversation with your student. Share your expectations, ask open-ended questions, inquire what concerns they may have, and help your student brainstorm ways to avoid potentially risky situations. Here are some examples of open-ended questions you can ask and yes/no question that you may want to avoid.
|What to ask your Student||What NOT to ask your student|
|Tell me about your classes.||Is class going well?|
|What is your relationship like with your roommate?||Do you like your roommate?|
|What type of activities are you getting involved with outside of your classes?||You aren't drinking are you?|
|What goals do you have for the quarter/year?||Are you getting all A's?|
|Team me about new friends you have made.||Have you made any new friends?|
|How are you balancing academics and social life?||You've been staying out of trouble right?|
Ask your student various scenarios to check in and allow open dialogue about potential high-risk behaviors that may be occurring.
Conversation Starters - "What would you do?"
- You have a huge test tomorrow when you roommate begs you to come hang out with a group of friends attending a movie. What do you do? What could go wrong?
- You’re at a party when you notice a girl extremely intoxic
ated and another man trying to get her to go upstairs with him. What could you do? What consequences could come with you doing nothing?
- You are watching your favorite TV show in your residence hall bedroom when your roommate who is also underage comes home with a 6 pack of beer. What do you do? What concerns would you have?
- You have a friend that has recently stopped being social, when you stop by their residence hall to check in they let you know they have nothing left to live for. What do you do? Who might you seek additional help or resources from?
- You’ve recently starting dating someone new; suddenly they begin constantly texting you to see where you are and who you are with. When you don’t reply they get extremely angry. What do you do? Are there any fears if you do nothing?
- You’ve started struggling academically in a tough class. Your professor has multiple office hours for you to meet and get help. What do you do? What other resources are there to help with academics?
- You join a student club on campus, however after a couple weeks the upper classmen of the club keep asking you to do errands and favors for them continually. What do you do? What may happen?