The first year of college can be a big transition for both you and your student. Families play a vital role in the lives of U-M students, and many students still count on their families to remain a steady and stable source of support and guidance. Family members can serve as mentors, offering advice and encouragement, while also promoting independence, autonomy, and responsibility. 

This section provides a month-by-month guide to what you can expect from your student during the first year at college. In addition, there is some helpful advice from other U-M families on how to support your student during this transformative year and manage your own transition as well. 

August

Don’t forget to take care of yourself! This is a period of adjustment for you too. Your mixed feelings of joy and sorrow, pride and loss, are normal. There will be a void in the family and some roles may adjust, especially if younger siblings are still at home. It’s a good time to refocus on your own hobbies and interests. And remember that your student still needs you and loves you (even if you never hear it)!

What’s Happening with New Students:

  • They are adjusting to new roommates, relationships, freedoms, and responsibilities. The first six weeks are a challenging time for young adults trying to make these adjustments all at once.
  • They are excited about moving away from home, but may also be homesick.
  • They are enthusiastic about starting life at U-M,, but may be insecure about fitting in, being as smart as everyone else, or navigating unfamiliar surroundings.
  • They are separated from friends, loved ones, support networks, and familiar surroundings.
  • They’re unsure of what to expect academically—the unknown workload and expectations from faculty.
  • They’re starting over. Freshman may feel they are no longer a "big fish in small pond." Transfer students are starting over too. Although they've been through the transition to college before, there will still be new people to meet, new academic expectations, new policies and procedures to understand, and new resources to navigate.

What Parents and Family Members Can Do:

  • Set realistic expectations for your student regarding academics, financial responsibility, social life, and alcohol/drug use. Discuss these expectations with your student in a non-judgmental manner, and be open to listening as well. Keep the lines of communication open.
  • Encourage your student to be independent and responsible. Be an empathic listener but refrain from “coming to the rescue” when there is a problem. By teaching your student how to solve problems independently, you will demonstrate that you have confidence in your student. Encourage your student to take responsibility for actions and accept consequences. Demonstrate trust in your student.
  • Encourage your student to take responsibility for actions/behavior and to accept the consequences. Students need to know that their parents trust them. 
  • Familiarize yourself with university resources so that you can direct your student to the appropriate resources for assistance.
  • Encourage your student to engage with the university community by joining a student group and attending residence hall and campus events.
  • Listen and provide reassurance. Remind your student that these adjustments and feelings are normal.
September

Roommate conflicts do happen. They can happen regardless of whether students are complete strangers or have known each other for years. Most students find that talking over the problems with the roommate resolves the conflict. However, sometimes help is needed. It is counterproductive for parents to get involved in roommate disputes. As a parent, the best way for you to help the situation is to refer your student to the Resident Advisor (RA). RAs are upper-level students who have been trained to resolve roommate disputes.

What’s Happening with New Students:

  • They are enjoying the delights of September — new people to meet, things to learn, and places to go! Studying on the Diag, jogging in the Arb, football Saturdays ... there's so much to do on campus, and your student may be eager to do it all.
  • They may be questioning their identity, pushing boundaries, and experimenting with new things. This may include challenging previous beliefs about religion or politics, experimenting with alcohol, drugs or sexual activity, and challenging social norms.
  • They may have trouble managing time in a less structured college learning environment. It's common for students to have a false sense of comfort because many papers and projects aren't due yet, and this may lead to procrastination.
  • They’re learning about opportunities to get involved with campus groups and should attend Festifall and Northfest — outdoor fairs where student organizations recruit new members.
  • They’re starting to get a sense of Michigan's academic expectations. Freshmen may discover that what worked for them in high school may not work in college, and that a whole new level or work is expected. Transfer students may struggle to adapt to academic expectations that are different from their previous school. Both freshmen and transfer students may experience feelings of inadequacy, and they may ask themselves, “Can I really make it here?”

What Parents and Family Members Can Do:

  • Provide a listening ear to your student’s concerns. Don’t tell your student “these are the best years of your life.” Be prepared for the “dump” phone call late at night. Students need to vent frustrations or fears, and you will be the dumping ground. Recognize your student’s feelings are normal, as is the tendency to vent the feelings to a family member. In most cases, the student will feel much better after having vented to you, but you may feel terrible and worried.
  • Remind your student to get involved with campus groups. There are many opportunities meet new people at college, but students must make the effort.
  • Celebrate your student’s successes and help keep disappointments (e.g., not becoming best friends with a roommate or not getting an “A” on their first exam) in perspective. Refer your student to U-M services for additional support.
  • Provide your student with time management techniques and encourage use of a planner (either paper or digital) to keep organized. You may also refer your student to the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for time management and stress-reduction workshops. 
  • If your student is a freshman, be sure to continue to have conversations about alcohol use. In the first six weeks, freshmen are vulnerable to pressure to “fit in,” and may perceive this to mean drinking. Discuss the consequences of making poor choices when it comes to alcohol, including trouble with classes, increased risk of sexual assault and violence, trouble with the law, possible negative impacts on professional school or employment opportunities, and even death. Encourage your student to become involved in the numerous alcohol-free social events on campus, such as UMix, and to avoid risky drinking behaviors. Keep lines of communication open on an adult-to-adult level, and avoid being judgmental.
  • Remember that roommate conflicts do happen. They happen regardless of whether students are complete strangers or have known each other for years. Most students find that talking over the problems with the roommate resolves the conflict. However, sometimes help is needed. It is counterproductive for families to get involved in roommate disputes. The best way for you to help the situation is to refer your student to the Resident Advisor or Hall Director. If your student is living off-campus, the Office of Student Conflict Resolution can help with mediation.
October

Refer your student to the Housing Information Office for information about the reapplication process for residence hall housing. If your student is considering moving off-campus, discuss the increased responsibilities required when moving off-campus, such as handling utilities, cooking, and landlords. The Beyond the Diag program can provide students with information about things to consider before moving off-campus, rental listings in the Ann Arbor area, and information about finding roommates.

What’s Happening with New Students: 

  • They may be enjoying football Saturdays and the campus spirit.
  • They might be anxious about tests and midterms, especially if they managed their time poorly and have fallen behind.
  • They may receive their first grades on U-M papers and projects. This helps students to understand what instructors expect of them. Some students may also realize that they are no longer 'top of the class' and student who once got all A's may not get B's and C's.
  • They’re facing competing social demands. Students who got involved in too many campus organizations may have trouble balancing the demands of the organizations with the demands of coursework.
  • They may feel pressure to look for next year's housing. The off-campus house search typically occurs in the fall semester, often before new students are ready. Freshmen may feel pressure to move out of the residence halls before they are ready, and students may face pressures to commit to year-long, legally-binding leases with people that they have only known for a few short weeks.
  • They’ll begin to work on papers and must learn to navigate a college library system. The library system is an important campus resource, but because it is different from libraries that they have used in the past, it may be intimidating.
  • They may be frustrated that they have not yet found their niche on campus.

What Parents and Family Members Can Do:

  • Be empathetic, but try not to “fix” problems for your student. By letting a student fix problems independently, you will demonstrate that you have confidence in your student, and your student will gain self-confidence as well. 
  • Help your student to be realistic about academic achievement at U-M. It is common for students to experience a drop in GPA during their first year.
  • Direct your student to university resources for assistance with assignments. There are many resources to assist students with their academic struggles. You can also remind your student to go to professors’ and graduate student instructors’ office hours, or to seek help from librarians who are trained to assist students with the academic workload and faculty expectations.
  • Plan to have a conversation early in the fall to discuss next year’s living options with your student. The pressure to seek out next year’s housing hits early in the fall at U-M. Be sure to listen to your student’s perspective and be open to different possibilities. Many students who live in the residence halls expect to move off-campus for the following year, and some feel pressured to do so before they’re ready. Discuss the pros and cons of moving off-campus, and the possible issues related to committing to a year-long lease, especially with friends of only a few weeks. Be sure to talk about the increased responsibilities required when living off-campus, including cooking, cleaning, paying bills/utilities, dealing with landlords, and more.
November

Care packages are a favorite way to show students how much you love them. Possible contents can include: food (homemade cookies or family specialties are especially nice), money, socks/slippers, pictures from home (don’t forget to include the family pet!), gift certificates for Ann Arbor restaurants or stores, microwave popcorn, candy/ chocolate/gum, letters from the family, vitamins, cold/flu medications, winter clothing, and toiletries

What’s Happening with New Students: 

  • They may be starting to feel more comfortable on campus. They've figured out how to navigate campus, they've made friends, and found a student group that is right for them. 
  • They may get sick as the change in Michigan's weather brings on cold an flu season.
  • Stress levels are high as midterms continue, and many papers and projects are also due. They also begin to realize that the term is almost over. Procrastinators may panic as they face the consequences of falling behind in coursework, and students may sacrifice sleep in a misguided effort to get more done.
  • Life in Ann Arbor presents many pressures to spend money – pizza, coffee, movies, clothes, and more. Students inexperienced with sticking to a budget may find that they run our of money sooner than expected.
  • Some students may have concerns about going home for Thanksgiving, especially if they have changed a lot since arriving on campus. students not going home may feel disappointment at missing out on family gatherings.
  • Students with junior/senior-level credit will begin to register for Winter Term courses. Students with freshman/sophomore-level credit will begin to register in December.

What Parents and Family Members Can Do:

  • Establish a budget with your student and explain how to stick to it. Many students have a limited understanding of money management (visit Your Money, Your Life for online help). Educate your student about financial responsibility before there’s a problem.
  • Remain supportive and encouraging as the transition continues. If needed, refer your student to University Health Service for illnesses and wellness coaching or Counseling & Psychological Services for counseling. Encourage a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, sleep, diet, and relaxation. 
  • Send care packages. Students can never get enough care packages from home. Remember to include cold/flu medications, tissues, cough drops, and anything needed to keep warm and dry as the winter approaches.
  • Be available to listen to your student’s concerns when your student reaches out to you, but don’t worry if contact doesn’t happen as often as you would like. Busy students often get too wrapped up in campus activities to contact home.
  • Support your student’s academic progress without focusing on grades. Ask open-ended questions about what your student is learning, or why certain topics are interesting, instead of asking about specific grades.
  • Encourage your student to see an academic advisor before registering for classes, and to make appointments early to avoid complications. By seeing an academic advisor, students can stay on track when it comes to progress towards graduation.
  • Prepare yourself for changes when your student returns home for Thanksgiving. The first year at U-M may bring a period of tremendous change and growth. Students may demonstrate this in different ways – new hair cuts/colors, piercings, tattoos, changes in religious/political beliefs, etc. Your student will appreciate your support, rather than criticism, through this time. Remember that while your student may be going through some changes, in the long run many of the core values that you instilled throughout childhood will likely be maintained.
December

Expect your student to be very stressed in December. While you won’t be able to prevent the academic stress, you can reduce the pressure for your student to participate in family obligations or traditions, which put added demands on a student’s busy schedule.

What’s Happening with New Students: 

  • After Thanksgiving, there is very little time until finals. Term papers and projects are due, and students may be unaccustomed to the amount of research and effort required for lengthy papers.
  • Students may get very little sleep, and neglect good nutrition and exercise.
  • Some students may be concerned about the pressures of the upcoming holidays, or returning home to live with the family members after a semester of independence.
  • They'll be stressed about final exams. For new students, this will be their first experience with U-M finals, and they'll have an added fear of the unknown.
  • Some students will have financial concerns, as the money they budgeted for the semester runs out earlier than planned. They may turn to credit cards to help them in their budget crunch.
  • They will receive their grades from Fall Term and will either feel disappointed or delighted. Whether the grades are good or bad, they will have a better understanding of what U-M academic work requires.
  • They’ll probably sleep a lot over the winter break, as they try to ‘catch up’ on lost sleep!

What Parents and Family Members Can Do:

  • Recognize that this is a very stressful time of year for your student. Encourage healthy habits to help reduce the stress of exam time. Healthy habits will also help your student to prevent illness.
  • Be knowledgeable about campus resources and continue to refer your student to the University’s support services and resources for personal and academic help.
  • Encourage participation in study break activities offered in residence halls, the League, and Pierpont Commons. These are great ways to relax.
  • Discuss home rules and expectations for the Winter Break before your student returns home. Don’t wait for a conflict to arise before communicating about your expectations. Students who have been making their own decisions for four months may find it difficult to suddenly succumb to the family rules again. In addition, many families have expectations about how much time will be spent with the family during Winter Break. Often, this conflicts with the student’s expectations to spend time with old friends or catch up on sleep.
  • Minimize family expectations. Your student will be very stressed in December. While you won’t be able to prevent the academic stress, you can reduce the pressure for your student to participate in family obligations or traditions, which put added demand on a student’s busy schedule.
January

At Michigan, learning takes place ‘outside of the classroom’ too. Encourage your student to attend educational and cultural events around campus, including guest speakers, musical and theater performances, museums, poetry slams, etc. Arts at Michigan can help your student explore those opportunities.

What’s Happening with New Students:

  • Students return to campus after the Winter Break. Many will feel homesick as they return to campus; others will feel relieved to be back to their independent lifestyle.
  • University Housing residents who wish to live in the residence halls or Northwood Community apartments for the next academic year participate in "Return Resident Housing Process" during Winter Term.
  • There will be uncertainties in the new semester, as students begin new classes and meet new professors.
  • Some students will make plans for study-abroad programs and other summer opportunities.
  • Sorority and fraternity recruitment takes place, which can be both exciting and stressful for students who participate
  • Students looking to join a student organization in the winter can attend Winterfest, a student organization recruitment fair in mid-January.

What Parents and Family Members Can Do:

  • Be supportive of your student regardless of the fall term grades. It’s common for new students to experience a drop in grade point average during the transition to U-M. If grades were poor, encourage your student to seek out U-M academic resources, and remind your student to seek assistance from faculty and graduate student instructors. Discuss with your student your expectations about academic performance and class attendance, but also be realistic given the level of U-M’s academic difficulty.
  • Remind your student of your academic and class attendance expectations, but also keep those expectations realistic given the level of academic difficulty at the University of Michigan.
  • Remind your student to keep up with the coursework. Falling behind early in the term is a major cause of stress and difficulties later on in the term. Time management and academics/social life balance are key to success. 
  • Refer your student to the Housing Information Office for information about how to live on-campus for the following academic year. If your student will be moving off-campus, encourage your student to utilize the Beyond the Diag resources. 
  • For many students, studying or working abroad is an important part of their college experience. Refer your student to the Center for Global and Intercultural Study for information about the wide range of opportunities.
February

Your tradition of taking a family vacation in February may change this year. Many students make plans to go on vacation with friends for Spring Break, and do not want to spend their break with the family. Talk to your student early on so that no one is disappointed at the last minute. With open communication, there may be ways to reach compromises. If not, remember that this is another milestone for a young adult, and be supportive of the decision.

What’s Happening with New Students: 

  • Students who applied for summer opportunities, such as jobs or study-abroad programs may learn whether or not they were accepted. 
  • As the cold weather and lack of sunshine continues, students may need to work harder on self-care. Some may neglect their health and exercise routines which are often easier to maintain in warmer months. 
  • They'll start taking midterms, and some papers or projects may be due. 
  • Students may get ‘Cabin Fever’ due to spending so much time indoors. Some students may become more anxious, tense, distracted, or frustrated with people around them — especially roommates.
  • Student organizations are busy and demand a lot of time from students. As a result, students who have trouble with their time management skills may feel over-committed or overwhelmed.
  • Some students have relationship anxiety, especially around Valentine’s Day.
  • Students make plans for Spring Break. This can give some students something to look forward to, while other students may feel excluded. Students who are unable to travel at this time of year may feel left out. Spring Break may also lead to disagreements with family members over different expectations for how and where this vacation will be spent.
  • Some students may demonstrate irresponsible behavior at parties over Spring Break, and suffer the consequences of that behavior.

What Parents and Family Members Can Do:

  • Encourage your student to actively enjoy the winter. Building a snowman, going sledding, or ice skating at Yost Arena could be the perfect study break! By staying active, students are better able to fight off “cabin fever” or the winter blues. You may also need to refer your student to Counseling & Psychological Services, where trained staff can help students cope with stress, depression, and more.
  • Help your student to find balance between academics and extracurricular activities. The quality of extracurricular activities is more important than the quantity. If you suspect that your student is over-involved, encourage your student to reevaluate their choices. If your student is struggling academically, recommend that your student seek assistance from the on-campus resources, including faculty and graduate student instructors. 
  • Send care packages! Valentine’s Day is an excellent time for you to let your student know how much you care. 
  • Provide a listening ear if your student discusses relationship or roommate concerns. Encourage your student to seek out the on-campus support services (e.g., the Office of Student Conflict Resolution, a Resident Advisor, or the Hall Director) to help with these issues. Counseling & Psychological Services can also help with relationship concerns, especially if they interfere with academic performance. 
  • Discuss your student’s plans and expectations for Spring Break. Some students make plans to go on vacation with friends and do not want to spend the break with family. Talk to your student early on about the plans, including who’s paying for the vacation, and whether it will be spent with the family or with friends. With open communication, there may be ways to reach compromises. If not, remember that this is another milestone for a young adult, and be supportive of the decision. Spring Break is also another opportunity for you to talk about making responsible choices regarding behavior, especially regarding alcohol use.
  • Refer your student to the University Career Center for information about summer jobs and internships.
March

If you live close enough, March is a good time for a short visit to campus. Be sure to talk to your student ahead of time to make sure it’s a good time to visit. Students appreciate being taken out to dinner and going shopping when family members are in town!

What’s Happening with New Students: 

  • Most students will have their housing plans for the following year wrapped up by this point. This may be a relief for some. Others may find that they are no longer friends with the people with whom they signed their lease with.
  • The brief relief of Spring Break is often followed by more midterms, projects, and papers. Those who procrastinated will feel the pressure build up in March.  
  • Students will register for courses for the following Fall Term, and for Spring/Summer Terms if they’re staying in Ann Arbor for the summer.
  • Some students may feel pressure to declare a major, or to be accepted into one of the upper-level academic programs such as Architecture, Pharmacy, Public Policy, Information, Public Health, and others.
  • Students make plans for summer jobs or internships. They may also be concerned about how they will fit into the family and the family’s expectations if they return home to live with their parents for the entire summer.
  • Financial aid documents for following year are due.

What Parents and Family Members Can Do:

  • Keep communicating. As your student prepares for the summer and for the upcoming Fall Term, your student may seek your guidance and advice or may want to make the decisions without your help. Recognize that either way, these decisions are part of growing up, and trust that in the end, your student will make the best decisions. 
  • If your student is coming home for the summer, be sure to discuss your expectations for your student ahead of time. 
  • Encourage your student to see academic advisor before registering for courses.
April

Congratulations! You’ve made it through your student’s first year at Michigan! You should relax and enjoy this moment. Your student will continue to grow and change over the course of the next few years, and your relationship with your student will also continue to change. However, the first year is a big transition for you both, and you should feel proud if you have both managed to successfully navigate hurdles of this transition.

What’s Happening with New Students: 

  • Students will continue to register for courses for the following Fall Term, and for Spring/Summer Terms if desired.
  • Students get ‘Spring Fever’ as weather warms up, and they’ll find concentrating on academics harder than ever. There are also more distractions on campus, as students go outside to play Frisbee in the Diag, Enjoy jogging in the Arboretum, go bike riding along the river, or enjoy outdoor campus cafes.
  • Stress levels are high as papers and projects are due, and students take final exams.
  • Students living in the residence halls must make plans for moving out. Students living in off-campus rentals may also be moving out of searching for summer subletters.
  • Students who are returning to live with their families over the summer may be concerned about how they will fit in, what their family's expectations will be, and how their relationships with their old friends from home may have changed.
  • For some, leaving their college friends for the summer will be the biggest concern of all.

What Parents and Family Members Can Do: 

  • Be supportive through this stressful time, and send care packages to help your student get through final exams. 
  • Encourage your student to balance the academic workload with healthy habits -- getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and getting exercise are especially important during the stress of final exams. 
  • Communicate with your student about the end-of-term plans for moving out of the residence hall. Visit the University Housing website for updated information about the move-out process in the residence halls.
May

Plan ahead. Be sure to talk to your student about your expectations for saving money over the summer for the school year. Address any concerns you had about how money was spent in the first year, so you can avoid continued problems next year. Be sure to discuss the use of credit cards as well.

What’s Happening with New Students: 

  • Some students will return home for the summer. Students who return home may have anxiety about losing their independence, and be concerned about adjusting to life under their parents’ rules again.
  • Some students will stay in Ann Arbor and take Spring/Summer Term courses or find a summer job. Those staying in town may choose to stay in a residence hall (if taking classes) or to sublet an apartment or room near campus.
  • Students who planned ahead will begin their summer opportunity — whether it be a summer job/internship, a work abroad program, or other opportunities. Others may find that lack of planning or procrastination limits their choices for how they spend the summer months.

What Parents and Family Members Can Do:

  • Discuss your expectations regarding behavior, roles, and responsibilities during the summer if your student will be moving home. Students may not be expecting to take on household related tasks, especially if they have job and social commitments for the summer. This is a time to renegotiate the responsibilities as one adult to another. Will you expect your student to eat at family meals? Be home by a certain time? Call if coming home late? These are all expectations that have been absent for several months. Be sure to talk about what you expect and be willing to compromise before problems occur.
  • Plan ahead. Be sure to talk to your student about your expectations for saving money over the summer for the school year. Address any concerns you had about how money was spent in this year, so you can avoid continued problems in the future. Be sure to discuss the use of credit cards as well.
  • Respect and appreciate the independent, self-reliant, mature person who has returned home, even if your student seems nothing like the person you dropped off in Ann Arbor last fall.
  • Use this summer to openly communicate with your student as an adult, and to discover and appreciate the intellectual growth that has developed in the past few months.
June

Take time to learn more about the University’s resources. You can be a helpful referral source when students need guidance on campus. Even though your student has completed a year on campus, there may still be much to learn about how to navigate the University’s resources and support systems.

What’s Happening with New Students:

  • Students who returned home may be experiencing conflict with their parents about independence, house rules, duties, expectations for work around the house, and respect for the needs of the family vs. the needs of the individual.
  • Students taking spring/summer classes will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Ann Arbor, while at the same time have to adjust to the faster pace of Spring/Summer Term classes. Frequent opportunities for fun and social time, and summer weather may make studying a lower priority than it had been in the winter.
  • Students taking Spring Term classes will experience the stress of finals. For those that are not continuing on with the Summer Term, they may also have to make plans to move out of the residence hall or sublet.
  • Students taking Summer Term will begin classes.

What Parents and Family Members Can Do:

  • Use this summer to openly communicate with your student as an adult, and to discover and appreciate the intellectual growth that has developed in the past few months.
  • If your student is taking spring/summer courses, discuss your expectations for academic performance, but be realistic about the challenges of the faster paced half-terms.
  • Encourage your student to manage time appropriately. The summer will go by quickly.
  • Don’t be surprised if your student gets tired of living at home, and you get tired of having your student home! Work to build a strong relationship that will carry on long after the move back to campus.
  • Help with moving and storage issues, if possible. An extra pair of hands and a van or truck on moving day are appreciated.
July

Don’t forget to show your student your love. Tensions may be high as your student gets tired of living at home, and as you get tired of having your student home! Remember the summer will soon be over, and for some students, the summer after the first year is the last time they live at home ever again. Work to build a strong adult to adult relationship that will carry on long after your student moves out.

What’s Happening with New Students: 

  • New first-year and transfer students will attend summer orientation. Students who have now finished their first year at Michigan may feel nostalgic as they realize how quickly the year flew by!
  • Students who returned home for the summer may be anxious to return to campus in the fall and may miss their campus friends. Some may have anxiety that the relationships with their friends or significant others may have changed over the summer.
  • Summer jobs may reduce the amount of ‘spare time’ for students to relax and enjoy summer.
  • Students may be tired of living under ‘house rules’ and challenge parental rules.

What Parents and Family Members Can Do:

  • Appreciate your student’s growth and development and enjoy your new adult-to-adult relationship. 
  • Keep communication open about plans for fall, finances, and relationships. Students at this age are far more willing to communicate with parents as fellow adults.
  • Help your student to assess the successes and failures of the first year. Encourage resiliency to help your student overcome challenges and discuss your student’s goals for the upcoming year.
  • Most students declare a major by the end of the sophomore year. Discuss careers/majors before your student returns to school. Encourage your student to explore career/major options, without pressure to choose something that pleases you. The University Career Center and academic advisors can help your student with these decisions.
  • Continue to communicate. Students at this age are far more willing to talk with parents as fellow adults. Help your student assess successes and failures at U-M and discuss plans for future improvement. Continue to convey your expectations for academic performance and behavior regarding drinking and relationships. Your role as a mentor continues throughout the college years, and these conversations become easier if you’ve established a respectful relationship.
August

Most students declare a major by the end of the sophomore year. You should discuss careers and majors before your student returns to school and gets bogged down in the day-to-day stress of school work. Encourage your student to explore many career and major options, without pressure to choose something that pleases you. Your student’s academic advisor and the Career Center can help your student with these decisions.

What’s Happening with New Students: 

  • Summer half-term ends, and students taking Summer Term will take finals.
  • Students living in Ann Arbor will likely move out of their residence halls or off-campus rentals and may not have a place to live for a week or so before their fall housing lease begins. As a result, some will have anxiety about moving and storing their stuff, as well as coming home or finding temporary housing in Ann Arbor.
  • Students may be excited, or worried, about their new fall living arrangements and new roommates.
  • They’ll be sad that the summer is ending, but also excited to return to campus and see all of their friends again.
  • They may want to spend all of their remaining free time with old friends, instead of with the family. This may differ from what the family wants or expects.
  • They may have financial concerns that they didn’t make enough money over the summer to support their budget needs for the fall.

What Parents and Family Members Can Do:

  • Support your student through another transition.
  • Help with moving and storage issues, if possible. An extra pair of hands and a van or truck on moving day are appreciated.
  • Recognize that last days of summer will be busy, and your student will not want to spend much time with the family if friends are in town.
  • Continue to communicate with your student about your expectations for academics and behavior regarding drinking and relationships. Your role as a mentor continues throughout the college years, and these conversations become easier if you’ve established a respectful adult-to-adult relationship.