All They Need to Do is Ask: Connect Your Incoming College Freshman with Resources for Success

If you ask any college faculty or staff the key to succeeding in higher education, they’ll undoubtedly tell you, “Use your resources.” Many new students are either unaware of the resources available to them or unsure of how to access them. Some students might be anxious about asking for help or feel so overwhelmed that they are not sure where to start. In order to provide a solid foundation for success in college, parents should connect their kids with resources to support their success.

Most colleges and universities will offer in-person or online orientation prior to the start of the semester. More likely than not, these orientations will introduce students to support resources available to them and offer advice for success. It is critical to attend orientation, or if you are not able to, review the resources provided. 

While these initial orientations are very helpful, don’t expect your child to remember all of the information presented. Often the combination of so much new information and the uncertainty of the transition to college can cause information overload. Revisiting the information in smaller segments and making sure your child knows where to find resource information when they need it is key.

Places to Find Resources

  • College Website: While each school’s website will be organized differently, you can be sure they will include a page that lists resources and support for current students. Review THIS WEBPAGE as an example.
  • College Interface: Most schools will have an inter-college communication and information interface. Students will receive a username and password to sign in and access information about their grades, registration, and degree progress. Often students will also receive college communications and even be able to make appointments with college staff such as their advisor or the financial aid office.
  • In-person at the Student Center: Most colleges and universities will have a student center or in-take center that houses many essential college services. Help your student this location if they prefer in-person contact.

Types of Resources

Colleges are invested in student success and offer both academic and non-academic support. Be sure that your child is aware of the types of resources available, how to access them, and when they might need them. Some resources that could be available:

  • Academic Support: In addition to their instructors, students can use tutoring services, general student success support, and peer tutoring or study groups.
  • Specialized Support: Resources are available for students with disabilities or specialized needs. Colleges may also have specialized support services based on a student’s demographic identity or prior experiences such as military service.
  • Non-Academic Support: Non-academic issues can often impact academic progress. This is why most colleges offer support services for health (physical and mental), finances, food insecurity, and transportation. Student clubs and activities can help new students to meet friends and feel welcome in their new college environments.
  • Individual Support: Students will be assigned an academic advisor that specializes in their major. They should meet with their advisor prior to scheduling classes each semester and contact them when they have questions. Class instructors are also helpful resources who students may feel comfortable with after a few class meetings. Most instructors can not only answer questions about the course, but also about additional college resources.

Once you help your incoming freshman identify and locate the resources available to them, emphasize the importance of accessing those resources when needed. College can be scary, but you can rest assured that the vast majority of faculty and staff want students to succeed and will provide them with the resources to do so. All they need to do is ask! 

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