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Advice for New Parents and Families

Picnic on Hearn Plaza

Welcome to parents and families of the Class of 2020!  This page contains some of Wake Forest’s best advice that we hope will be helpful for you during the summer before your student arrives on campus.

General Advice  – here are some questions that we typically receive in the Office of Family Engagement (formerly known as the Parent Programs office), and suggestions we offer to families.

Grade Expectations — some thoughts on what you should — or should not — expect about grades.

Course Registration Advice — the New Students website has  specifics about curriculum requirements as well as the advising process and planning for course registration.  Your students should read those sections and contact the Office of Advising with questions.  We also have one academic adviser’s thoughts on course registration.

Information about Alcohol and Other Substances – Before coming to campus, all first-year will complete the AlcoholEdu for College curriculum. There is content for parents and families which is designed to support your conversations about alcohol to help shape the decisions your student must make in college surrounding alcohol use.

Advice from Parents of Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors We asked parents of rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors to think back to their student’s freshmen year and what they wish they had known – and they answered!

Student Problem-Solving: Stop, Drop, and Roll – we encourage you to let your student navigate his or her Wake Forest experience as independently as possible.  Students need to develop their own problem-solving skills, as they will need those skills for the rest of their lives.  So starting this summer, consider using the Stop, Drop, and Roll method to help your student solve the problem on his/her own.  This can be some of the best preparation for college.

13 Rules Every College Student Needs to Know – written by Katherine Brooks, formerly of the Office of Personal and Career Development, this article breaks down some of the best advice students can get on starting college.

Parents’ Toolkit: Deacon Development 101 – a collection of articles and short videos about college student development and offices at Wake Forest that support their development. This is from an online course from fall 2013.

Additional Resources

Here are some non-Wake Forest links that might be of interest as well.  These might provide food for thought this summer, and perhaps even some conversation starters with your students.

General advice

Letting Go: Tips for Parents of New College Students – Florida Southern University compiled this list for families

On mental health and parent overinvolvement

Mental Health and College – What Parents Need to Know – on the importance of having a frank and proactive conversation about mental health.

Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out – an excerpt from former Stanford dean Julie Lythcott-Haims, which argues that students who are overparented tend to have ‘psychological blowback’ in college

On the feelings that moms, dads, and family members may have as their student leaves for college

“Unprepared” – an article from actor Rob Lowe on what it felt like to send his eldest son to college

7 Tips for the Summer Before College Drop Off – an article by Barbara Wasserman geared towards mothers

Starting College: A Guide for Parents – this article from the Huffington Post has some great advice for parents.

From_Here_to_Clare is an article from Carney Strange of Bowling Green University.  He combines his scholarly knowledge of student development and college milestones with a moving letter to his daughter Clare.


Local Restaurants – The Daily Deac parent blog asked its readers to send recommendations on local eateries.  See their responses here.  Provost Rogan Kersh (’86) also provided a list of great breakfast places in town.  You may also wish to consult the Winston-Salem Visitors Bureau for dining suggestions.

Finally, we wanted to help promote a student entrepreneurial venture that might be of interest to new parents. Wake Wash is a student-run laundry service that you can purchase for your student.  On their website, you can see details on how Wake Wash works, services and plans offered, and the history of the company.  Wake Wash not only helps your student with clean clothes, but it helps the student owner-operators who are learning about entrepreneurship and running their own business!