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The First Summer Break from College

Both Challenging & Rewarding

For the majority of college students who have just completed their first year, the first summer break can be a significant adjustment.

This is true for their family and siblings as well.

Open communication and support are key to managing this adjustment.

Here are some tips for parents and students to succeed in transitioning home for the summer break:

Use technology for communication.

It is easier than ever to maintain relationships with friends from college and maintain open communication with friends and family about plans, expectations, and goals for the summer.

Students might feel that maintaining relationships with college friends during the summer break is very important, and parents should recognize those feelings.

Recognize that the family will have to reconfigure while the student is back home.

All the changes that occurred with the student living away at school during the academic year will again change with the re-entry of the student to the family home for the summer.

All family members need support when a college student returns home. Parents who are welcoming home an only child or the last to leave home might also realize that they’ve gotten used to a “new normal” while their child has been away.

Openly communicate about these changes and how to manage them, so all household members feel a sense of fairness and equity.

Keep an ongoing dialogue.

Summer break is a great opportunity for both students and parents to reflect on the year.

Having conversations about these observations can be extremely rewarding for parents and students.

Students should openly share with their parents about experiences, books, opportunities, and other discoveries over the past year. Parents should listen with excitement.

Make plans early.

Students will have their own ideas about how they want to spend their free time.

Plan ahead and discuss plans for family events and obligations. This could prevent conflict and disappointment on both sides.

Refrain from doing everything for your student.

Parents should encourage students to continue to take responsibility for tasks that they handle at college: appointments, meetings, meals, purchases, computer maintenance, etc.

This will help support a sense of self-reliance and competence.