Heading off to college is a major transition for not just the student, but the whole family. Mixed emotions of all sorts may go along with the transition of college life. Feelings of being happy, proud and excited about your son/daughter going off to college may also be mixed with feelings of loss, grief, and anxiety.
First and foremost, stay in touch and involved with your son/daughter. Identify a pattern of communication that works best for you and your student. Some students and parents may talk every day, which can be perfectly healthy. For many families, one or two times per week is a good way to stay in touch. E-mail and texting offer good ways to communicate, provided your student is comfortable with that level of contact.
Draw a distinction between “intervening” and “supporting” your son/daughter. “Intervening” is when parents are doing things or making the decisions for their son/daughter because they think they will get better, quicker results. “Supporting” or mentoring your son/daughter is when you are there to help guide them and share wisdom and give encouragement, but let them make their own decisions. When students know that you are available for support, they are more likely to ask for it, verses being told what to do and then building barriers with you.
Signs of needing help
Not hearing from your son/daughter for several days may be a very good sign. Usually, students are busy getting acclimated and developing their new life at the university. Hopefully they are learning to manage on their own and make their own decisions. But, some students may experience more serious problems and may need assistance. Parents need to watch for signs in detecting such problems. If you notice in conversations that your son/daughter is showing signs of extreme, or out-of-character behavior, start asking your student questions and try to learn what it is that is affecting/upsetting him or her. Watch for signs in eating disorders, anxiety, depression, etc., where your son/daughter is acting out of their normalcy.
Missouri Western has traditionally had a a low crime rate. Campus crime statistics and services provided by the University Police Department are available at www.missouriwestern.edu/policedepartment.
The center for Academic Support (CAS) is a great resource for students to get academic assistance individually from tutors or formal study groups. The CAS is located in the Hearnes Center. More information about their services can be found at intranet.missouriwestern.edu/cas
The city of St. Joseph is very supportive of Missouri Western and its students! Local banks have numerous ATM machines on campus and many provide free checking and debit card services.
Counselors at Missouri Western do a great deal of counseling. They assist students with any personal problem which may be interfering with their academic pursuits.
Counselors do not share information about students with anyone except other counseling staff. For example, if the faculty member or coach refers a student, information will not be shared with the referring party without the consent of the student. An exception to this policy occurs if the student is deemed a danger to themselves or someone else. At this point, a counselor has the duty to warn and this will usually involve sharing confidential information. Counseling records may also be subpoenaed.
Counselors at Missouri Western do not provide long-term therapy. Typically, the counseling sessions run from 5 to 8 weeks. Counselors will assist students with needs for longer-term therapy to find a suitable treatment program in the community.
Counselors avoid accepting a client that is seeing another counselor without the permission of the initial counselor. Students who wish to see a different counselor need to secure permission from their present counselor.
Missouri Western counselors do not see spouses or other family members that do not attend Missouri Western.
Counselors do not usually help students plan schedules. Incoming students may want to talk with a peer counselor about programs and classes. Enrolled students should see their advisor for this type of help.