Tips for New College Freshmen and Parents

This month, new college freshmen and their parents all across America are starting a new stage of life.   We’ve experienced this milestone with our 3 children and know first hand that it can be a traumatic time for both parent and student.

Nick Selby, a Georgia Tech sophomore offers 10 tips to a new Georgia Tech freshman class (video below) that is funny and inspiring and has great lessons for all upcoming college freshmen.   I’ve added 4 corollaries for parents and a lesson we can learn from Nick’s last tip, #10.

Nick’s 10 tips are listed below:

  1. Call your mother often
  2. Take classes from difficult professors for your major courses
  3. Do laundry often
  4. Get out and see new places
  5. Join a club, team or extra-curricular activity
  6. Try to get internships, they will really help you after college
  7. (engineering tip that I really didn’t understand, even though I’m a Georgia Tech Allumni)
  8. Sit up front in class
  9. Get sleep.  The best way to get sleep is to work on homework early, start studying for tests 1 week before
  10. Remember why you’re here

Here are my 4 corollaries for parents:

  1. Parents of new college freshman:  Don’t call your new college freshman for a couple of weeks (really).  It’s hard to do.  Hopefully, your child will follow lesson 1 above and call you before you go crazy.  However, if you don’t hear from your student in a week or so, I suggest Dads step in here and text their student reminding them to call their mom (lesson 1 above).
  2. While your students are in high school:  Challenge your students to tackle hard subjects in high school.  College freshmen will be more likely to step out and take classes from difficult professors if they’ve had opportunities to challenge themselves before.  However, start before your student’s senior year or you’ll be too late:  a headmaster of a private school once told me that his seniors were so nervous about keeping high grades for college entrance, they shied away from trying new things, new courses  — just the opposite of what school should be about.
  3. Teach your children to do their own laundry and their dishes.  Even if you think your children aren’t getting it, they are.  Our son, Nathan called us one day during his freshman year and apologized to Monica, “I’m sorry I didn’t clean up when you asked me.” He was on his way to Walmart buying cleaning supplies, complaining about his messy roommates.
  4. Help your children prepare for life before they get to college.  College is about learning but life also happens there.  Some parents let their children discover their own spiritual path.  We opted for a different plan and along with life skills, we taught our children our faith and values as we tried to live them out in our family.

Nick shares a special tip in #10.  Skip to about 3:25 if you want to get there faster.  He asks the students why they are there?  Its a question that many commencement speakers ask new graduates and consultants ask business leaders.  But its also a great question for new freshmen.

I’m sure many students listening had undeclared majors and wrote college entrance essays about other peoples dreams.  However, all left inspired by Nick that day to dream big, to look beyond the day to day tasks, to be fearless in proclaiming their passions and to work hard to build their skills.

We all need encouragement and inspiration.  I hope you’ll look for ways you can inspire your children and ways to be around others that inspire you.

Question: How can you inspire your children? Who inspires you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.