College means change, and not just for students. Parents are in for their own challenges right after the kids graduate from high school. Being prepared is the key to an easy transition for both parents and students when the time comes to send your kid off to college.
Cost. Paying for college can be the biggest challenge most families face, and the rising cost of tuition doesn’t make it any easier. However, with some honest communication and a lot of planning, any family can afford a student’s higher education.
When it comes to paying for school, homework isn’t just for students. “Parents need to do their own research,” says Westfield State’s Director of Financial Aid, Catherine Ryan. Try comparing costs, ask about employer scholarship programs and connect with the Financial Aid Department early on.
Paying for college can also mean applying for a loan; a debt some parents aren’t willing to take on. “You need to be honest about how much you are willing to borrow,” says Ryan. But the financial burden doesn’t have to rest solely with Mom and Dad. Students can apply for a federal loan, based on their grade level and dependent status, and take on the debt themselves. Find out more about the federal loan program here.
Campus safety can also be a major concern for some parents, especially if it’s the first time their student is away from home. The Westfield State University Department of Public Safety employs campus police. These officers have full police powers and are responsible for preventing crime and enforcing the law on campus. There’s also the Owl Express—a free shuttle transportation service. In the case of an emergency, students can also request an escort to accompany them around campus. Westfield State is dedicated to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of each student. You can learn about the other emergency and preventative measures the school has put in place here.
Homesickness is also another common challenge students can face. However, there are simple things that parents can do to help. Sending care packages or scheduling weekly calls can remind students of home and help them feel connected. Parents should also encourage students to try new activities, like joining a club or sports team. These are a great way for students to make new friends and beat the freshmen blues. Check out the full list of clubs and organizations at Westfield State.
College can take some serious adjusting to, even for parents. However, being prepared and being open can make this time easier, and happier, for everyone. College is only four years, so enjoy it!
Want to learn more about what to expect during your student’s first year at school? Download our whitepaper, a Parent’s Guide: Sending Your Child To College.