The UniversityParent Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year: A Review

The two monumental changes in our families, the moment our children arrive and when they leave, are marked with great emotion, some confusion, a feeling that life is about to change forever and a long list of things to buy. When our kids were born we read through well-thumbed guides looking for both information and insight, yet as they depart few of these guides exist.

University Parent Guide to Supporting Your College Freshman

Our friends at UniversityParent have taken the wisdom of many writers, parents and experts and compiled the UniversityParent Guide to Supporting your Student’s Freshman Year.

This is just the kind of playbook we could use when we are getting ready to send our kids to college. The guide is a chronological road map (think What to Expect When You Are Expecting for 18 year olds, there is even a chapter entitled “What to Expect at Orientation”) that will help any parent through both the profound and the mundane. The guide looks at how our relationship with our kids evolves as they leave home and how to help them if they need us in this new phase. But this is a book full of “how to” that will help parents with everything from a move-in day checklist through the search of off-campus housing for sophomore year.

UniversityParent’s founder, Sarah Schupp, explains that she wanted to create a guide that helped make parenting easier from afar,

Studies consistently show that students with engaged parents have far better college outcomes than those that don’t or than those with overly involved parents. There is a delicate balance between acting as a coach and acting in place of the student.

Although the Guide was edited by UniversityParent’s Diane Schwemm, every section is authored by a different expert, many of them with decades of experience in higher education. The sections on health, budgeting or campus safety are all written by experts in their field. Most of the entries are short, no longer than a blog post, and get right to the points that parents need to know.


As our kids leave for college we don’t want to pepper them with an unending string of questions. It is time for them to manage their housing options, health forms, academic planning and extra-curricular activities on their own. Yet staying uninformed does not seem like a great option either.

This Guide helps parents of high school seniors, and frankly juniors, to understand a bit more about transitioning to college while leaving it to our kids to manage most things on their own. The book contains invaluable information on helping your kids to remain physically and psychologically healthy, including sections on health insurance, vaccines, health care privacy rules and dorm first-aid kits. Yet it cautions parents about warning signs of trouble and how they can help their kids who are ill or in need of counseling.

Here is the resource to answer all the questions you don’t want to pose to your kid and don’t know who to call in order to ask. It is compiled by parents and experts who know just how we feel, like Lucy Ewing,

I learned how to use the text feature on my cell phone two hours after I dropped my first child at college. The exit was so rushed, and a crushing humidity left our good-bye hug clammy and extra awful. I knew I didn’t dare call her, but I wanted to let her know I was still in the vicinity if she need that one last thing. For example. maybe she need me for a few more years?


Additional Resources:

Grown and Flown posts on freshman year:

Dear Parent of Newly Admitted College Freshman

Go Ahead, Call Your College Freshman

5 Ways to Keep Your Family Close While You Grow Apart

How to Find Success in College: 9 Things the Research Shows

Advice to College Freshmen from Recent Grads

Professor Offers Best Advice for College Freshmen 

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