For Families

The entire Plymouth State University community is committed to making your student’s educational experience a positive and productive time for academics, social learning, and healthy personal growth. We at the Plymouth State University Counseling Center want to ensure that your student knows we are available for social, emotional, and psychological support and guidance during his or her time at Plymouth State. Each semester we host a biannual Depression Screening at the Student Center that is staffed by our counselors.

How You Can Help Your College Student

  • College may be the first time that you and your student have been separated. Remember that your student is taking you with them. Though your student may not admit it to you, they will quote things you’ve said and recount things you’ve shown them. Remember to allow your student to be independent, and most of all, remind yourself that it’s natural that you and your student feel nervous and excited.
  • Offer support to your student. Be there to listen, talk and reassure them. Encourage your student to turn to you in good times and bad. Stay steady even when your student is shaky. You can provide a familiar and safe haven, an anchor in a new and unfamiliar sea, a place for solace and encouragement and admiration. Be continually loving, supportive, and caring.
  • You still have a very important role in keeping your student safe and healthy, especially around alcohol and other drugs. Remind them they don’t have to drink to have fun. Ask about their social life, not just academics. If you do suspect a problem, get help immediately.
  • Trust that your student can make their own decisions and allow them to solve problems alone.
  • Mistakes, when they are made, are often necessary motivators for learning and change. Let your student experience the natural consequences of their “mistakes.”
  • Affirm confidence in student potential.
  • Shortly before your student goes away to college, they may need extra time with friends. Allow them space, but make sure they know you are always available when needed.
  • Eliminate major controversial discussions.
  • Students often need encouragement to seek the help they need. Learn about resources at the college your student is attending and encourage them to look into support services if necessary. Support your student’s emerging independence by helping them to take action on their own behalf.
  • Deans, instructors and faculty advisors can provide advice on academic matters.
  • Residence Hall Directors (RDs), Assistant Residence Hall Directors (ARDs), and Community Advisors (CAs) are trained to help students who live in campus housing.
  • Encourage your student to know where the university Health Services and Counseling Center are located. Knowing where these resources are located can be reassuring to students and parents.

(A compilation of material taken from various resources, including Channing L. Bete Co.; “Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years” by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger; “Helping Your First-Year College Student Succeed” by Richard H. Mullendore and Cathie Hatch; other universities; and the staff of the Plymouth State University Counseling Center)

Supporting Your Student Throughout The Year

University life provides a special venue for learning about oneself and one’s interests. Family members hope that they have imparted all the wisdom to their child that is necessary for him/her to be a whole, productive and ultimately happy adult. Families and students may experience nervous excitement and uneasy apprehension about the transition to college. These emotions make the transition from home to university a potentially stressful one. Those families who can make room for their own and their student’s conflicting and ever-changing feelings do find this stage of discovery is enriching for themselves as well as for their student.

Our hope is that we can collaborate with families as partners in the educational experience and development of your first-year student. We understand that you are in the process of witnessing the often rapid and awkward transformation from dependent child to independent/adult child and hope that along the way you will see the fruits of your labor in creating this unique person. Now your student must learn to do and think for themselves, and we encourage you to teach them practical skills prior to their arrival on campus. Such skills include learning to balance a checkbook, learning to establish healthy credit card habits, how to do laundry, as well as reviewing the values and principles that your family embraces.

Please take a glance at our calendar of benchmarks for the first year and potential challenges that you and/or your student might face.


For more information or consultation

Call us at (603) 535-2461