14 Things I Want My Son To Know Before He Goes To College

Dear Son,

I know you don’t have a lot of patience for things like “Heartfelt Advice As You Head Off to College” letters, so I’m gonna keep this brief and to the point. Here are fourteen important things I want you to remember as you start the “College” chapter of your life.

1. Smile, be polite, and offer compliments when you can. Be curious about other people’s stories and life experiences. Try to be positive, and make people laugh. If you can try your best to do all of these things, you’ll always have some good friends.

2. Of course, we want you to go to classes and study hard. We’ve already expressed the importance of office hours and good study habits. But make sure to have fun as well. And a whole lot of fun can be had without any alcohol being involved.

3. Sleep and healthy food need to be a priority. Please, please, please, aim for at least two servings of veggies and fruits per day. Drink water, and wash your hands!

4. Every single kid gets lonely and/or homesick at some point of their first year at college. It’s normal and OK, so call or text – me, your Dad, your sister, or a friend.

5. Regular exercise is a must. Just do it. (Thanks, Nike.)

6. Remember that when others around you are making suspect choices, you have the choice to exit the situation, with no explanations. Trust your gut, and stand firm in your right to decide things for yourself alone.

7. Your school offers countless helpful resources – take advantage of as many as you can. They cater to your success. Ask for help, seek out opportunities, and enjoy being a student, while you have so much free assistance.

8. Accept and respect different opinions, lifestyles and behaviors, if none of them are hurting others. Deep down, all people just want to be heard and accepted. Disagree respectfully and always be open to hearing the opposing viewpoint.

9. Look people in the eye, have good posture and a firm handshake. Don’t avoid social connection by frequent staring at your phone, and never, ever break off a relationship via text. We’ve talked about consent a hundred times – treat each girl you meet, the way you’d want your sister to be treated.

10. Know that you are loved fiercely by your family, because we know what a good person you are.

11. Work hard so that everyone else you meet develops the same opinion of you.

12. We are grateful for you – Be grateful for each day, even if it’s a challenging one.

13. We are proud of you – make choices so that you are proud of yourself.

14. We love you more than you will fully understand for many years to come. Be loving to yourself, always.

OXO, Mom


College Move in Day: 12 Things That Will Save Your Life!

Here are the Best 12 Dorm Ideas You Wont Want to Forget 



About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

Read more posts by Grown and Flown

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates about parenting teens and young adults straight to your inbox.