10 tips for Families: You moved Dumpling in and drove away. Now what?

Once you’ve stopped sniffling, here are some tips to help you support your student during this time of tremendous growth and change:

  • Keep in touch — even if you're not hearing much from your student. A letter a week, a phone call, a text or a box of cookies makes your son or daughter aware of your continuing support. The greatest need for contact with home is during the early weeks of the semester, during times of greatest academic pressure and during any crisis.
  • Listen to your student. Your son or daughter may make an occasional "dump" call — you’ll hear nothing but complaints. Often, just talking about the problem makes him or her feel better and ready to move on, even if you are left drained. Most of all, students want to know that you understand their feelings and the stress of being a student.
  • Don't ask about grades all the time. The adjustment to college takes time, and midterm grades may not be indicative of a student’s potential. Sometimes it takes a few semesters before a student realizes the amount and quality of study time he or she needs.
  • Encourage your student to get involved in at least one activity. It doesn't matter what the activity is as long as he or she has a feeling of connection to other students and to the community. Encourage a visit to the Office of Student Activities and Involvement. There are more than 250 registered student organizations on campus!
  • If you’re concerned about a situation, call Betty Wagner, assistant director of parent services, and she can direct you to the best person on campus to help you. Call her at 989-774-1003 or email her at
  • At the same time, don't try to always "fix it" for your student. As young adults, students need to seek out solutions for themselves. You can encourage them to seek out one of the many places on campus that can help them.
  • Stay involved in your student’s college life. Mark your calendar for the Parents Day football game on Sept. 7. Send siblings to Siblings Weekend, set for Jan. 31 through Feb. 2. Visit this website to keep up with campus news and tips.
  • Don't react too hastily to roommate concerns. Often, it takes several weeks for roommates to adjust to one another. However, don't let serious problems go too long. If your student has a roommate who violates his or her space or comfort in the room, insist that your student talk to a Resident Assistant.
  • Handy phone numbers if you or your student has problems: Office of Student Life, 989-774-3016; Residence Life, 989-774-3111 (students should call their RA or hall director); and Campus Police, 989-774-3081.
  • Encourage your student to visit the area around CMU with a group of friends and get to know this welcoming community. Here’s a link to a video gallery about Mt. Pleasant: