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Holman Success Center

Tips and FAQs

Preparing for EMU

Over the summer, we encourage you to talk with your student about the skills they will need to be successful, the expectations you and your family may have about the college experience, and any concerns that they may have about what college will be like.

Your Changing Role

What does it mean to be a parent or family member of a college student?

  • It’s normal to have mixed emotions about your student’s transition to EMU - whether they are going to college for the first time or transferring.
  • Students still need you! Families can be very helpful in offering guidance in how to handle a variety of challenges students may face. It is important to listen to your student and empower them to take action.
  • Offer advice and encouragement. Remind your student frequently that they are capable of success in college. Even the most “together” student will have times when they feel overwhelmed. The best thing you can do is offer your love and support (and remind them of all the resources available to them at EMU).
  • Promote independence, autonomy, and responsibility. It is important for students to learn how to overcome challenges and navigate the ins and outs of college on their own. You can support your student by learning as much as you can about what the appropriate next steps should be, and encouraging them to take those steps on their own.

Life Skills

Talk with your student about the privileges and responsibilities of college and adulthood. These may include: doing your own laundry, maintaining your own vehicle, paying your own bills, and making smart decisions about your health. Let your student know you will still be there to answer questions, but that it is also important to learn how to do these tasks independently.


Many college students continue to have a lot of communication with their parents and family members during their first years. This can help them to feel connected during challenging times and to make a smooth transition into autonomy. Make sure to talk with your student about what he or she feels is an appropriate amount and frequency of communication.


One of the biggest fears that college students have is that they will let their families down. It is important for families to let their students know that it’s OK to make and learn from mistakes, and that you believe in them. Trust that although they will be making a lot more choices on their own, the same values and beliefs that you have raised them with will continue to be a guiding force in their life.

Staying connected

Find ways to connect with your student throughout the year. Schedule a phone call, video chat, or visit that works with their schedule. At some point your student may refer to school as “home” - this is a good sign that they feel comfortable and supported at EMU.

Checking in

It’s important to check in with your student about the academic, social, and emotional adjustment to college. If you notice your student behaving differently, or seeming “not themselves,” begin a conversation about how things are going inside and outside the classroom. Listen and encourage, but resist the urge to solve problems. Trust your instincts - if something seems off about your student’s behavior or attitude, refer them to Counseling and Psychological Services (

Be a referral agent!

Take time during Fast Track and First Four to familiarize yourself with campus resources and use this book as a guide. Know the resources on campus that can answer questions and discuss the importance of talking directly with University staff about any concerns your student might have. Help locate the answers and then encourage your student to make the phone call or visit the office. This is empowering and teaches important lessons about taking initiative.

Having difficult conversations

There will be times throughout your student’s college career when you need to have some tough talks. Something may come up in conversation, or perhaps you will have to initiate a conversation. Whether it is a financial, relationship, or academic struggle, having you there to listen and to help them come up with solutions will ensure your student feels supported.

Expect change

Part of the process of growing up is learning who we are as individuals and merging that identity with the one we had growing up as part of a family. This can be scary - both for you and for your student. Many students take advantage of college as a time to try on new roles and discover new aspects of themselves. This is normal - remind your student about your unconditional love and support and help them find supportive communities at home and on campus.


Student Rights Under the Family Educational Rights and privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy act of 1974 is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of current and former student's educational records and afford students certain rights with respect to their education records.

FERPA Information

Holman Success Center, G04 Halle Library, hours M - F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. phone 734.487.2133 mail blog Holman Success Center Blog