It can be difficult for a parent or family member when their college student calls or texts with a problem. Not seeing them on a daily basis makes it hard to gauge the magnitude of the situation. Are they in real trouble? Or are they just thinking out loud, frustrated because they don’t know what to do, or have a lot on their plate? 

They might be reaching out at their peak moment of being overwhelmed. 

It can also be tempting to think that you should help your student during this time of stress by calling Colgate and taking care of the matter for them, or offering them a solution. Instead, we encourage you to follow a different method: Stop, Drop, and Roll.

Stop: When your student contacts you about a problem, take a deep breath. Are they truly asking you to solve their problem? If you do take care of the situation, how will they have built resilience or learned independence? Instead, listen and empathize: What a drag. Oh, wow. I’m sorry, that must be frustrating. Giving them a chance to talk it through might be all they need.

Drop: Rather than taking action or giving in-depth advice, ask questions that help your student to develop a solution on their own: What do you think you might do? What options do you have? What campus offices have resources to help you with this? Who have you talked to already? Who else could you talk with? 

Roll: Let your student do their own problem-solving and decision-making — even if your solution would have been different. Then encourage them in acting on it: You’ve got this. I know you can handle it. Go for it! That probably sounds easier said than done, but allowing them to struggle with challenges will help them learn that they have their own capabilities.


Together, we can promote independence through student problem-solving.
    •    Listen, don’t lecture

    •    Don’t panic if you don’t hear back right away

    •    Acknowledge that struggling is normal

    •    Promote strategies for wellness

    •    Stay informed

    •    Read the Parent & Family Newsletter and Colgate News

Concern About the Well-Being of a Student

When should families contact someone on campus?
    •    If there is an emergency involving your student.

    •    If there is a change in your student’s communication with you and they are not answering phone calls or messages.

    •    If you notice a change in your student’s typical behavior.

    •    If your gut instinct tells you something isn’t quite right.

Contact the Office of Administrative Advising or, if your student is an international student, you can also call the Office of International Student Services at 315-228-6131.

After hours, or in an emergency, call Campus Safety: 1 (315) 228-7333. 
More information about resources: