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Parent Partnership: How to help your student succeed in college

September 1st, 2012 | Becky Spain


As director of retention, my focus is on helping our students be successful in their college careers and persist to graduation.  One of the main ingredients in this recipe for success is a student who feels supported by his or her family while working toward academic goals.

The National Survey on Student Engagement found that students who have parents who take active and healthy roles in their college lives are more engaged in their studies, take part in more educational opportunities and are more satisfied with their college experiences.

You play an essential role in your student’s success.  Here is a quick checklist of things you can do to help ensure your student’s success:

  1. Pray daily for your student.
  2. Show interest in what your student is doing.
  3. Believe in your student.  Be a cheerleader.
  4. Trust your student. Parental trust builds self-confidence.
  5. Listen to your student and provide feedback, but resist the urge to solve problems.
  6. Encourage your student to balance his or her college experience by getting involved in extra-curricular campus activities.
  7. Encourage your student to know what services the campus offers and to take advantage of them.  This list includes tutors, test anxiety strategies, the wellness center and the fitness center, to name just a few.

If your student expresses to you some frustration with his or her new college classes you may want to suggest some of these tips:

  • Identify your Achilles’ heel.  What is your weakest skill that is causing you problems in your studies?  Identify your weakness and seek out ways to strengthen it.  Let’s say your weakest skill is writing.  You can seek help from the Write Place or from the Academic Support Center.  Both offer students assistance.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Seek out the help you need.  Professors are a great place to start.  Professors are willing to help a student in need.  They can offer helpful insights and point you to outside resources.
  • Don’t let one low grade send you into a downward spiral.  Remember, you are in college to build new knowledge, not rehash what you already know.  If you received a low grade or test score, use this opportunity to evaluate what you need to do differently and make a plan on how to make the necessary changes.
  • Join a study group.  If you don’t know if there is a study group for one of your classes, ask your professor.
  • Find an upperclassman in your field of study and ask him or her to mentor you through this semester.  If you need help finding a mentor, your adviser or professor is a great place to go for advice.
  • Don’t isolate yourself.  The key to a successful college experience is balance.  Being involved in extracurricular activities are just as important as your studies when shaping a well-balanced, enjoyable college experience.  But balance is the key.  Take care not to spread yourself too thin.

I hope you find these tips helpful. I am always here as a resource to you as well. Please contact me if I can help in a specific way.


Want more? Take a look at the free services Evangel’s Academic Support Center has to help your student be academically successful.

Becky Spain

Director of Retention

As director of the Office of Retention, Becky Spain works to identify common student obstacles and assists both students and parents through transitions and other challenges. She is also an adjunct professor, teaching courses such as Personal Finance and Personal Leadership.

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