New Students’ Parents and Families

Together, we can help your student embark on an incredible adventure.


Welcome to the Colgate community. Families are valued as important partners in supporting students’ growth and development. This page shares some resources you may find helpful as your student prepares to arrive at Colgate.

Parent & Family Resource Guide

This guide explains to parents and family members what to expect and how things work at Colgate. It also provides information about resources and where to turn for assistance to support your student’s success.

Download guide (PDF)


Encouraging a Successful Year

Advice from Colgate’s director of counseling and psychological services, Dawn LaFrance

College is an exciting time for many reasons, for both students and their families. It can also be overwhelming. Encouraging your student to follow these guidelines will help them with this transition — to succeed and grow.

Keep a healthy schedule.

Enough sleep, proper nutrition, a balance between studying and enjoyable activities — during the stress of the academic year, these basics are often the first to be forgotten. Family members can be helpful in reminding their students to practice self-care.

Meet new people. 

Remind your student to go into situations with an open mind. Meeting new people can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it is part of the adjustment process. They may be surprised what they learn about themselves as they get to know people who are different from them. Ask them what they’re discovering.

Stay connected to home, but with limits. 

Communicating with your student via text and social media can help you stay involved and can help them stay in touch with family and friends from home. This is how many students in the iGen communicate! At the same time, balance is crucial. Don’t demand constant communication. Help them find ways to depend on others in their social circles. In many cases, the absence of communication will mean that your student is busy and involved.

Discuss important topics, including difficult issues.

Read the materials sent by Colgate, as well as the Maroon-News and so that you can have conversations with your student about what is going on at the University.

Give your student space to grow and mature.

You have already spent years instilling your values; allow them to be realized.

Expect challenges.

The adjustment to college life can be difficult. Remember that challenges are growth opportunities. Your student will build resiliency and better prepare for life after graduation if they can approach challenges with active problem-solving. Be supportive rather than intrusive. Remind them to use their on-campus support systems, and to reach out for help or advice if they need it.

LaFrance is director of Colgate’s Counseling and Psychological Services, which focuses on helping students to ameliorate problems that might be obstacles to their growth and development.