Parent Resources

As a parent, you play a crucial role in helping your PSEO student to succeed. Here is some important information to help you navigate the ins and outs of being a PSEO parent, including information on privacy and campus safety and tools for you to use in talking to your student and helping them be successful.

Helpful Resources and Links

Top Ten Tips for Parents

  1. Help your student understand that coming to the University is a major transition and will include both challenging and rewarding experiences. For more information to help your child cope effectively during the transition period, visit Student Counseling Services.
  2. Be prepared to be a sounding board. Often when your student wants to discuss an issue with you, they are just looking for support and encouragement. Help them find the resources they need to solve the problem on their own. Accepting the outcomes of one's decision, whether good or bad, can be an empowering experience.
  3. Encourage your student to ask for help. Learning is a cooperative effort, and asking for help is a vital part of the effort. Professors, teaching assistants, academic advisers, counselors, and University staff will all be able to point your student in the right direction. Students are not expected to find all of the answers for themselves. If they do not know where to begin, have them read through the Student Resources web page. Of course, PSEO advisers and staff are always available to help.
  4. Help your student stay on track for the college applications process. Encourage them to manage their time so that they do not miss important deadlines, but be careful not to write their applications and essays for them. Admissions committees often see thousands of applications, and it becomes easy to spot an essay that is written by a parent. Helpful links: Get Ready for College.
  5. Allow your student to explore several major or career options. Be supportive by encouraging them to visit with professors, other students, and advisers on campus and to ask for names of alumni working in the field. 
  6. Resist the temptation to steer your student toward a major simply because it fits your interests. Students are more likely to be successful in school and in their careers if they are doing what they enjoy.
  7. Encourage your student to use the advising services at the University of Minnesota. PSEO advisers are happy to meet with students to discuss their plans at any time throughout the semester, although your student may find easier access to our staff during non-registration periods. Your student can call 612-626-1666 to schedule an appointment to meet with an PSEO adviser.
  8. Encourage your student to seek a healthy, balanced lifestyle. They should continue to make time for friends and family, physical activity, hobbies, and other activities that are not academic in nature. Suggest finding a student organization or a place to exercise.
  9. Insist on open communication. Since FERPA restricts the amount of information we can provide to parents, it's important to talk to your child about such important topics as money, grades, study habits, dating and relationships, organizational skills, and time management.
  10. Ask your student what you can do to help. Also, don't forget to say how proud you are of them.

Suggested Reading

  • You're on Your Own (But I'm Here If You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years, Marjorie Savage
  • The Parent's Crash Course in Career Planning, Marcia Harris and Sharon Jones
  • Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years Fourth Edition, Karen Levin Coburn, Madge Lawrence Treeger
  • Almost Grown: Launching Your Child from High School to College, Patricia Pasick

Some suggestions were borrowed from the National Academic Advising Association.

Conversation Starters

The following questions were provided by Jerry O'Connor of New Mexico State University to help parents better connect with their students and keep an environment open to dialogue.

  • Do you know the names of all of your professors? What do you know about your professors? Their background, educational training, or interests.
  • Can you figure out or understand the objectives of each of your classes?
  • Has any faculty member given you encouragement? Have you visited any professors during their office hours?
  • Academically, what has been the most interesting class or lecture?
  • Anything about the campus surprise you?
  • Have you been able to maintain a balanced life with this workload?
  • Any ideas about your future academic focus?
  • Do you ever get discouraged? What about? Care to talk about it?
  • Are there any groups or organizations you are thinking of joining? If you did, would such a group take a lot of your time?
  • What advice would you give your younger brother, sister, or high school friend about how to prepare for college?
  • Can you spot those who you know will succeed academically from those who are going to have difficulty? How can you tell?
  • How does studying in college differ from studying in high school?
  • How does socializing in college differ from socializing in high school?
  • What do you like about college life, and what discourages you?
  • Have you found a way to feel like a member of the U of M community?