Supporting your student after they are enrolled in college will give them the confidence they need to be successful each semester. College is both challenging and rewarding, and strong family support is an added bonus for students as they march forward to commencement and beyond.

Easing the Transition: To ensure that students in their first year at Georgia Gwinnett College have an experience that will help them succeed in all aspects of college life, GGC has implemented a program entitled First Year Matters (FYM). It isn't easy being a new student. The First Year Matters program helps ease the transition from high school to college or from one institution to another. Research has long indicated that new students who are successfully integrated into college are much more likely to succeed.

Academics

students working togetherTypically, college courses are more demanding than high school classes. Your student may go through an adjustment period as he or she adapts to the rigors of a typical college schedule. You can help by keeping communication open and carefully offering advice. Help him or her to work out solutions to any problems they are having and encourage them to seek help. You may also find he or she may benefit from time management tips and guidance on good study habit techniques.

GGC faculty don't rely on traditional teaching methods alone. By creating unique in-and-out-of classroom experiences, faculty engage students in a very active learning role. In addition, many courses include an online component, which combined with a classroom setting, broadens the teaching approach to cover both social and solitary styles of learning.

Study groups, faculty mentors, tutoring and library resources are all assets you can encourage him or her to take advantage of. In addition, GGC's Student Success Program is designed to support and enhance students’ academic, intellectual and social development, and to promote their retention and graduation.

Important Note: Federal law prohibits institutions from sharing a student's educational records with anyone, including parents (see FERPA), once that student is no longer a dependent for federal income tax purposes, unless the student extends parental access in writing. See the GGC FERPA Parental Disclosure Notice (PDF).

Finances

College tuition is a big investment, but the payoff is worth it. A college education teaches students about the world they live in, it teaches skills in communication and reasoning, and it drastically improves one's earning potential. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2006 “adults with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $54,689 in 2005, while those with a high school diploma earned $29,448.” That’s about $25,000 more a year. Plus, college is the ultimate networking venue, where life-long friendships and connections are made.

When it comes to covering the costs of higher education, there are several options. There are grants, scholarships and other forms of assistance available. Learn about FAFSA (Free Application for Financial Aid) and how to apply. A good financial planning resource is GAfutures.org.

Even after tuition is covered, you can encourage your student to create and stick to a budget. Assist him or her in determining expenses, income, debt and so on.

Friendships

friendsCollege social circles are not the same as high school and the difference is apparent. For many students, the college environment is actually easier since high school-type cliches are generally diffused by the larger and often more diverse student body. Other students may struggle if their close friends are attending different colleges. Parental support can be crucial.

Remind them that they're not alone. After all, the rest of the freshman class is dealing with the same transition. Help your student to think of ways to integrate into their new college community. Suggest they join a study group or offer to help a classmate with a homework assignment. Encourage them to join one of the many student clubs so he or she can meet students with the same interests. Playing intramural sports or working out at the Wellness and Recreation Center are also ways to meet new friends. There are plenty of options and ways to get involved on campus.

Encouragement, support and guidance will certainly ease the transition into the adult world. However, once your student is enrolled in higher education, it's his or her responsibility to succeed.