When students require additional support during their transition to university, we recommend the following tips and guidelines for parents and guardians:
Communicate with your student
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Discuss issues without lecturing or telling the student what to do.
- Listen to them, and be aware of the language you use.
- Acknowledge their feelings of doubt, depression and homesickness.
- Stay focused on what is really important and critical.
- Avoid the urge to problem solve - focus on fostering independence and offer resources for students to make their own decisions.
- Have confidence in the student's knowledge and skills, and ability to cope.
Have realistic expectations
- Do not be surprised if questions are not answered as quickly as you may like.
- Expect a change in academic results - a significant drop in marks in the first year is common as students learn new academic skills, their marks will improve.
- Expect changes in behaviour and appearances as the student discovers their new identity.
- Discuss expectations about family participation and involvement for students living at home. Parents and students may have different expectations about what home life will be like. The same applies for residence students who return home for the summer.
- Parents and guardians may also want to examine the expectations they have communicated to the student related to academic performance and success.
Encourage them to use student services for support
In addition to many academic support services, U of T Scarborough also offers a variety of non-academic services to enable the student to find a healthy balance often critical to student success. These include the following:
- Academic Advising & Career Centre
- AccessAbility Services
- Athletics & Recreation
- Department of Student Life
- Health & Wellness Centre
- International Student Centre
- Student Housing & Residence Life
Learning outside of the classroom is critical for the personal growth and skill development of all students. It is important for parents and guardians to encourage involvement in extra-curricular activities, a balanced lifestyle and social interaction. The long-term benefits and rewards will remain with a student for years to come, and enable them to lead happy and healthy lives!