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. Their advice is below.
Give your kid the latitude to choose his own group(s) and activities.
Remind them to eat well and exercise – this helps everyone.
I suggest that that freshman not get involved in too many activities that first semester, and focus on transitioning to college and focusing on study habits and grades, as GPA is important for things such as recruitment and admittance to the Business School.
My advice is to sign up for the Daily Deac [parent blog] – a great way to feel connected to the campus to receive helpful tips. If you read something you think your child may like (ie. rent a puppy day, study abroad info session), send them a text about it.
Before they get to Wake, have the conversations about drinking/not drinking. Just like every other campus, partying happens. Explain moderation, being in control, not getting out of control, and have the ‘combining alcohol and sex’ talk. Talk to them and teach them [what is appropriate to your family] and to not binge drink at school.
Talk about being strong and not drinking. It can be done, there ARE students at Wake who do not drink and have a great time on weekends (and weekdays)! There is strength in numbers – have your child keep an eye/ear out for those students. There is a choice in the matter.
Your student is going to go to parties. My student was very sheltered in high school and did not attend parties but college was a whole other ballgame. Be willing to take those late night calls when they have exceeded their limit and no matter how hard it is, find the courage to talk them through it. Continue the conversations about always staying in control if they choose to indulge. Let them know that Wake Forest police and Winston Salem police are paying attention and they will show up at parties so they need to be prepared for that.
One of my favorite tips comes from WFU administrators via the Daily Deac email blast [who encourage calling your student on Friday]. They “have some theories as to why these parental communications have the effect of reducing high risk behaviors. It might be that the call from Mom, Dad, or loved ones provides an implicit reminder of family connections, responsibilities, and parental expectations for behavior. Those pings from home might hit the student’s conscience and serve to reduce risky behavior.” …So make the call : )
Be involved in your freshman’s social & campus life. Where they are going, what they are doing…. You will sooner or later learn the names & faces of who they are talking about. It matters to them, make it matter to you.
[Editorial note: The comments have been minimally edited and grouped together for coherence. In come cases, comments were combined with others. When we had parents responding with the same advice, we repeated it for emphasis. In the event a parent offered advice that ran counter to what Wake Forest advises, it was not included. These comments represent the views of the parent commentators, not the views of the Office of Family Engagement (formerly Parent Programs office) or Wake Forest. ]