Connecting your parents with your college experience

*While most of my posts are intended for firstgen college students, the information can be used for any student focused on college success.

A pretty consistent complaint I hear from first-generation college students is: “I have no one at home that understands what I’m going through in college.” or “My parents can’t help me in college, I feel so alone.”

I certainly know that feeling of thinking I didn’t have support and that my family would never be able to help me get through college. However, once we begin to change our way of thinking and outlook on this “problem”, we can also begin to change our support.

Here’s some advice I like to give students that find themselves in this situation;

Schedule an appointment with your parents
Call your parents and let them know you want to sit down with them at a specific time and place and talk with them about something very important. Make sure the environment you pick is free from distraction and one in which you all can engage in a meaningful and open conversation. Your intentionally of “scheduling” a time to talk will help them to understand the seriousness of what you have to say. If you attend college out of town, schedule a phone call where both you and your parents are in a quiet space and alone.

Be honest
Let your parents into your “new world” by telling them about what you are feeling. Be sure to give them examples of “why” you feel alone and specific ways they can help support you. Make sure they understand their support is important to your success and you want them to be involved with your successes and challenges.

Allow your parents to respond to your open and honest feedback and listen to their feelings as well. Sometimes parents of firstgen students don’t know HOW to show support and that’s where you and your college come in to give them specific examples of what support looks like. Don’t interrupt while they are speaking and give them a chance to help you better understand their perspective.

Make a plan
Once you’ve had a chance to speak (then listen) and your parents have had a chance to listen (then speak), now it’s time to set up a family plan. Plan how you will share you college experience on a consistent basis and help your parents learn more about what it takes to be a successful college student. Your parents should also include specific ways they will show their support on a consistent basis. Lastly, be sure to include one or two college professional staff members you will connect with to make sure you stay on track with your plan. Everyone should have a copy of the plan and agree to put it in a place where you can always see it.

Be patient
Finally, you and your parents (and entire family) have to be patient through your college journey. College is full of a lot of great and challenging experiences and each twist and turn will be new for you as well as your family. Exercising patience and remembering the love you have for one another will help everyone to learn and grow together.

In my next post, I’ll discuss specific ways you can share your experience with your family and specific ways they can show you support as they learn more about being a successful college students. Let me know if this helps!

A very special thank you to Jessica (Twitter: @efflorescent) for inspiring me to publish this post.

You are well on your way firstgen!

Finals Time Encouragement

Just wanted to send a special shout out to all my college students as you make it through finals. Hang in there, you’re almost done! Today some of my students brought out their guitars and gave some of our residents extra encouragement on campus with fun songs. Loved it!

There’s a saying: “Math will get you into college. Reading and writing will keep you there.”
What are you doing to build these three important skills as you prepare for a higher education?

There’s a saying: “Math will get you into college. Reading and writing will keep you there.”

What are you doing to build these three important skills as you prepare for a higher education?

Visualization At Its Best

One of the techniques I learned from being a collegiate athlete was to practice the art of visualization. If I wanted to conquer the mind game of running 200m, I had to daily visualize crossing the finish line just as hard as I started in the blocks.

You too can benefit from visualization. Take 10-15 minutes daily (without any interruptions or distractions) and visualize whatever it is you want to conquer. Whether its visually seeing yourself walk across that graduation stage or interviewing for your next internship. Visualize it, believe in it, go out and do it!

I believe it in you!

Let’s Talk College Advising

Do you know who your adviser is? How often are you meeting with your adviser?

Connecting effectively with your college adviser is a very important part of being a successful college student. A number of students make the mistake of connecting with their adviser only during Advising Season right before choosing your next semester’s classes. Taking time to get to know who your advisor is, what their educational background is, and their passion for advising can help to build your relationship. Remember, connections are a great way to get the most out of your college experience.


Life has been so busy at work and at home that I haven’t set aside any time for my blog. Tweeting serves as an easier way for me to blog but I really need to get motivated to set aside some time again to stay current on this blog.

So what’s been happening…

Well my university is moving along great with more FirstGen initiatives this year. We connected with students during orientation, FYE classes, residence hall move in, FirstGen group, and now working towards Family Weekend.

Things are really great and I am so thrilled to be a part of the progress. Until later, ask me a question and I would love to help!

It’s A New Academic Year

It’s a new fall semester. New and returning faces fill my college campus and our First Generation College Student initiative is stronger than ever. Our first meeting was well attended and a strong sense of pride among firstgen students is shining bright. I would say this is a great start for supporting more and more students daily. Don’t hesitate to let me know how I can support YOU in your college journey!

The College Professor…Don’t Run Away

Yesterday I met with a group of new freshmen attending college during the Summer to get a head start on classes before the Fall semester began. It was so great to see all the energy in the room and the excitement in their eyes as we began discussing how college was a little different then their high school experiences. I got questions about choosing majors, finding internships, understanding financial aid, how to find a job on campus, and how to join a club.

Then it happened, the conversation started to focus on professors and some of the fears students have about their relationship with the one person who knows the most in the class. I’ve certainly seen it every year.

"How can I talk to my professor? He’s a little intimidating"

"What if I ask a stupid question? Will she question if I should be in her class?"

I’m here to tell you, get to know your professors. They are the most knowledgeable about how to be successful in their classroom and you need to get in on some of that knowledge sharing. They are the EXPERTS right? Here are some tips of how to start building a good relationship with your professors:

  1. Stay after class and introduce yourself early in the semester.
  2. Go to each of your professor’s office hours at least once each semester.
  3. Ask how can you be successful in the class before the first test
  4. Thank you professor for sharing the knowledge and how they help you to learn

College is certainly a time to build relationships and your professors are a great place to start. I hope that helps and all the best on your college journey!

Thanks for sharing this!

UAS semester 4. Wish me luck!

Thanks for sharing this!


UAS semester 4. Wish me luck!

First Day of College…What Should I Expect?

So tonight on on my Twitter timeline, I was asked by one of my newest followers, @ItsAshleyBroski, about what items she should bring her first day of college. I suggested a notebook, pens, and definitely a calendar. The first day of college for most students is centered around you meeting your professors, receiving your semester syllabus, and learning about your classes. You may hear some upper-class students say, don’t bring any textbooks and leave your backpack in your room, but take their advice with a grain of salt. Sure, throughout my college career, the majority of my professors used the first day to welcome us, tell us how to be successful in their class, and then let us go after 20 minutes. But I also had some professors during my journey, that gave a pop quiz, taught the entire 60 minutes of class, and gave out homework on the first day. Yes people, this is college and you’ve got to be prepared. So Ashely (and everyone else), there is nothing wrong with having your books already purchased and ready the first day of class, a backpack, and a few writing utensils to ensure you are off to the right start. Think of it this way, you want to make sure you put your best foot forward and its always better to over prepare rather than under. Your stomach may be full of butterflies from dealing with the unknowns of college or you may step into that higher education classroom ready to take on the world. Whatever the feeling, make sure you bring your “A” game as you make your first college impression. I hope that helps and thanks Ashley for the inspiration!

Your prespective in  college and how you view your education is important! Strive to make it a successful one.


Your prespective in  college and how you view your education is important! Strive to make it a successful one.



(Source: caleb-dron)

Before You Leave…

Its that time of the year where I am counseling students who are considering leaving college due to finances, stress, and many other reasons. It really leaves me with a heavy heart whenever I see a person feel they have no other option than to end their college journey. In case you are considering this path, I ask that you make sure to talk to someone at your university first. Stop by the financial aid office and talk with a financial aid counselor to see if you have exhausted all of your money options. Can you apply for another scholarship? Take out a loan? Another important person to consider talking to before leaving would be your academic advisor. Is there anything that can be done to help you academically before you leave? Would dropping one class help you stay? How about seeing if changing majors would help? Whatever you do, as you consider this very important and life changing decision, don’t do it alone. Be assured that there are college professionals who want to see you succeed and may be able to give you advice on how to continue your college education. If after weighing all your options and finding you are not able to continue your college journey, ask yourself if this is a permanent decision. Perhaps you take just a semester off rather than an entire year. What about being a part time student? I truly hope you make the best decision possible for you as you gain insight into this rough spot in your higher educational career. I hope that helps and all the best on your journey!

Take a look at this great article on the #EMchat Twitter conversation I’ve been telling you about. Tonight is the second installment of firstgen issues and the focus is retention. I just spoke with another one of my firstgen student’s and he’s excited to participate tonight. Join us if you can and spread the word

Twitter Chat - #EMchat and #Firstgen

So tonight I and a student of mine were invited to be guests as part of the #EMchat on Twitter. For those of you not familiar with this chat…its a chat for Enrollment Management professionals every Thursday night at 8p Central on Twitter. Tonight the focus was…yes you guessed it…First Generation College students. Can I tell you how excited I’ve been all week about this chat. It was an absolutely amazing experience. My student that helped with the chat gave great advice from a current firstgen student perspective and a number of professionals did as well. Great ideas were shared and I certainly learned some new things. So what would I like to share with you about the chat? Well, the biggest thing is so many people are still learning about the firstgen population and its up to you to share your knowledge and voice. The only way we as college and high school professionals can grow and understand your needs is for you to tell us. So how about telling at least one professional on your college or high school campus about what those needs are. Do you understand about applying to college? Do you understand about all of the support services you pay for as a college student? Whatever it is, share it with someone. Next #EMchat is next Thursday at 8pm and the topic is First Generation College students and helping them stay in college. I challenge you to come and share your voice!

Take a look at how this college is changing it’s Anatomy and Physiology courses to assist firstgen students and others get into the health care field.