Every parent worries about how their child will react when first attending college, and there’s certainly a good cause for concern. Young people often view the freedom they experience as a college freshman as a time to do some things they were not allowed to do at home. Even though a child has been very level headed most of their life, leaving home for college has a way of bringing on a form of “freshman amnesia.”
Research has shown that students who participate in structured organizations and clubs usually do better in school, both academically and socially. This is true not only in high school and college, but at the elementary and middle school levels as well. Team sports are another way to help build the character of students and aid in their social development.
What the College Offers
Most colleges and universities list the various organizations, clubs, and sports teams they offer on their website. College brochures and catalogs are another place to gather information on what your child’s destination campus offers.
It may be that you and your high school student selected a particular school because of the different organizations and clubs available. Both student led and college sponsored groups provide many opportunities for a well rounded social life for the young student.
As a parent, you should never mandate what organizations or clubs your child joins because no matter what you say, your student will not get much from something that presents no interest to them. Their college experience will be much improved if they are allowed to make decisions for themselves regarding many different aspects of campus life.
There are some groups in college that you want your child to avoid, like the ones that have no useful purpose or structure. If a new college student doesn’t become a part of the prolific groups, there is a good chance that they will end up in the wrong ones. Keep the communication lines open, and gently direct as needed if your student seems to be drifting in with the wrong crowd.