Parent to Parent Advice

Having a student in college is a transition not just for them—but for you too! Hear from our campus experts—faculty and staff in the same boat as you—who are navigating and supporting their college students and recent college graduates.

Search Parent Advice

Jeff Lolli with children
Advice from Jeff Lolli, Professor, School of Business Administration

Academics Come First - Time Management, Balance, Personal Care are Crucial

The most important advice I can give is to let them know that you are there for them and give guidance at times, but let them take responsibility for their college journey. I told all three of my children that I wanted them to get involved and experience as much as they could while in college. Academics always come first and time management, balance, and personal care are crucial. I encourage them to keep open lines of communication with their professors and advisors and to advocate for themselves when appropriate. If they have a problem, they need to solve it - I was not going to do it for them. That was especially important to me since two of my children went to college where I work as a professor. The only time I would intervene is if they were having a personal physical or mental health crisis. I also stressed that it is okay not to know everything and that college is a time of self-exploration. Finally, never underestimate the rigors of college compared to high school.

Jeff Lolli is pictured with his son Alex, a graduate in nursing from Widener ('16), Zach, a graduate in computer science from Rowan ('21) and Madeline, a current Widener senior majoring in biology/pre-PT ('24).

Copy link to share this advice:

joanne ceating
Advice from Joanne Caione-Keating, AVP Learning and Client Experience, Library & Information Services

Part-Time Jobs on Campus Gives a Great Feeling of Belonging to the Pride

In addition to joining lots of clubs and attending events, encourage your child to get a part-time job on campus. They will quickly find that it gives a great feeling of belonging to the Pride. They will not only make money and friends, but they will have the opportunity to get involved in resume-quality work and meet people they can count on for employment references.

Tell your student how important it is to visit professors during office hours, or make appointments, but don't wait until the end of the semester as it could be too late. They want to help. They want to know if a student is struggling and cares enough to seek assistance. Getting to know each other goes a very long way.

For the best learning experience, tell your student to read all of the information in each class in Canvas, read the syllabus - twice, understand assignments and read the rubrics, and submit assignments on time.
The party is a lot more fun if the homework is done. Develop good habits now for success in the future.

Joanne Caione-Keating is pictured with her two daughters Jenna, a graduate from Widener in biomedical and mechanical engineering ('20) and Carly, a Widener accounting graduate with a minor in operations ('22).

Copy link to share this advice:

maria luiza
Advice from Maria Luiza Pinho, Assistant Professor, School of Business Administration

Be Patient. Trust the Process—They Will Succeed!

Be patient and understanding. Even if we want our children to be adults, be aware that they are not. Scientific studies show that our brains only exhibit signs of "adulthood" around 24 years old. I know it's crazy, but having a son with ADHD, social anxiety and depression showed me that our role is to support them, always.

  • Hug them.
  • Let them be a little childish.
  • Let them make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Help and support them.

It will not be an easy transition. Trust the process, and they will succeed! I wish you all the best!

Maria Luiza Pinho is pictured with her son, Paulo, a current Georgia State University student ('26). 

Copy link to share this advice:

Kim Robinson poses with daughter and son in Widener gear
Advice from Kim Robinson, Executive Director of Student Success & Retention

Appreciate Your College Student Follows Their Own Road

Before move-in agree upon a plan to stay connected to your college student during those critical first few days/weeks and then agree to communicate again how to change that communication plan; perhaps to not be as often but a scheduled time to communicate about all the wonderful, scary but exciting life changes happening. 

Do not ever be afraid to ask the university a question (or several questions) about how the university will help guide your student's successful journey to degree completion. There are key milestones, even performance predictors within the college student career, that can help students. Encourage your student to ask questions to the various campus resources.

This is your student's experience. Try not to compare their journey to what you read or see about other college experiences. Every student experience is going to be unique and in four years you will see their personal transformation and appreciate your college student followed their own road, even those bumps along the way.

Kim Robinson is pictured with her son, Adam, a recent Widener business marketing major ('22) and current Widener MBA student ('23); and daughter, Emma, a Widener psychology major ('24). 

Copy link to share this advice:

Myra Legg with two sons and husband
Advice from Myra Legg, Executive Director of Individual Giving & Stewardship

Empower Your Student to Do It Themselves

Support your student in finding solutions to their problems, but don't try to fix it for them. Empower your student to do it for themselves.

Widener has lots of resources available for students, but they need to learn to be a self-advocate. Your student has many faces across campus cheering them on and ready to support them in their journey. Encourage them to tap into their support networks like their academic advisor, student success and support professionals, and even searching for what they need directly on myWidener.

Myra Legg is pictured with her husband and their sons—Wilson an undergraduate history major at the University of Delaware and Tommy a graduate student pursing a master's in business/art direction at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Copy link to share this advice:

Advice from Donna McCloskey, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, School of Business Administration

We Still Have So Much to Give to Others—Consider How to Share Your Time Now That Your Nest Is Newly Empty

After years of bedtime stories, car seats, homework, carpools, chores, lessons, laundry (so much laundry!), and chaos—our nest is now empty. And it's kind of fabulous!

We have to remind ourselves that it's time for our children to fly. Instead of offering advice, as parents, we try to listen first and then ask, "What do you think you should do about that?". Now is the time for them to learn from other mentors, like roommates, professors, coaches and employers.

We've also learned that we still have so much to give to others. My husband is coaching a youth sports team and I'm volunteering with an organization to help first generation students navigate the college application process.

If you are looking for ways to share your time now that your child is out of the nest, consider partnering with the university. If you're interested in providing an internship or co-op experience, mentoring, participating in mock interviews, or speaking to a student group, I would love to connect.

Also, I'm thrilled to no longer have to wash sports uniforms!

Copy link to share this advice: