Finals can be incredibly challenging for first-year college students due to various factors. As parents, we often want to be there for our students, but how can you support them while they are away at school?
Why College Exams Differ From High School
For new college students, there can be a big learning curve. For one, they may still need to become familiar with the rigor and intensity of college-level coursework, which can make it difficult to keep up with the pace of the semester. First-year students may not have developed strong study habits or time management skills, making preparing for exams harder.
There can also be the added pressure of performing well on finals to maintain scholarships, honors, or acceptance into specialized programs, which can add stress and anxiety to an already challenging time.
Despite the many challenges, many first-year students will power through and emerge from the experience with greater confidence and determination, especially when they feel supported by family and friends.
How Parents Can Help College Students With Finals
Finals week can be an incredibly stressful time for college students, and as a parent, you might be seeking ways to provide the best support possible from afar. Here are some tips to help you be an understanding and encouraging parent to your student during finals.
Empowering and encouraging your student:
Recognize that most students will face anxiety during finals, and they may need encouragement most from you. Instead of adding pressure, remind them to do their best and that while finals are important, they are not the end-all-be-all.
Share useful tips for dealing with stress, such as creating a to-do list and prioritizing tasks. Additionally, if you have practical study tips from your own experiences, share them positively and without imposing. Every student is different; some may also need space during this time. Adapt to what your student needs.
Send them a thoughtful surprise:
Brighten your child’s day during finals by sending them something from home. Whether it’s a heartfelt card, texting them a funny video, or a care package filled with their favorite snacks and treats, these gestures will remind them of your love and provide a much-needed break from the intensity of exams.
Don’t stress them with stuff from home:
While keeping your student informed about issues at home is essential, avoid burdening them with unnecessary stress over issues they can’t control from afar. Consider whether certain matters can wait until after their finals are over and discuss them then.
Plan any travel around their schedule:
If you’re planning a visit or arranging for your child to come home after finals, be sure to check their exam schedule before finalizing plans. Professors often can’t accommodate changes due to travel arrangements, so have your student confirm their availability to ensure no conflicts. If you visit during their exam week, be understanding of their study commitments and make sure to spend time with them around their schedule.
Finals week can push students to their limits, and tensions may run high. Be patient and supportive during this time, recognizing that your child faces a lot of pressure and stress. They may want to be left alone, which may be hard to cope with.
As a parent, it’s uncomfortable when our children are struggling; however, remember that this time is vital for them to get through. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is offer them a listening ear and remind them to be patient with themselves.
Be mindful of their well-being:
During finals, taking care of yourself is vital to maintain your well-being. Encourage and remind your student to get enough sleep, eat healthy meals, and take breaks whenever necessary.
Remember, their mental and physical health should be a top priority, but they often forget or push it off for other things. Feel free to help them prioritize self-care during this transition.
Use technology to connect with them:
In today’s world, being able to connect with our distant loved ones is truly a blessing. Encourage your student to take time out of their busy week to arrange video or phone calls. This will help them feel supported and connected to those who matter most.
Celebrate efforts and progress:
Celebrate your child’s efforts and progress throughout the semester regardless of the final results. Offer praise for their hard work and remind them you are proud of their dedication.
Remember, finals are challenging, but you can help your college student successfully navigate this period with your understanding, encouragement, and patience. A break is just around the corner, and soon, you’ll have the opportunity to spend quality time together again.
Author: Isabella Ordonez
Isabella is a senior at Arizona State University studying Digital Audiences. She loves shopping, cooking, baking, arts and crafts, and watching movies. Isabella is interested in the creative aspects of marketing and fashion. She has worked with her sorority and various businesses around the valley, working in social media and digital content.