Supporting Your Student
- Each student is different and they will have reactions and experiences that are uniquely their own. Help them to make decisions, but don’t make decisions for them.
- Subscribe to the Daily 49’er, CSULB’s student newspaper. You can keep up on the campus news, which can be a good conversation starter with your student.
- Advise your student to get involved on campus in student organizations. This is a wonderful way to meet new people and feel a part of the campus culture. However, students should also be wary of over-involvement that conflicts with academics.
- Be realistic about academic performance, recognizing that not every straight-A student in high school will be a straight-A student in college. Help set reasonable academic goals and be flexible in your expectations.
Do College Majors Matter?
If your student is still undecided on which major to choose, or still subscribing to the “New Major of the Month” club, don’t fret. Eighty percent of college students change their majors at least once. Sometimes, finding the right major course of study in college takes time and requires additional exploration. Although some careers are very specific (i.e., Nursing, Accounting, and Engineering), not all career opportunities rely upon having specialized knowledge in a particular major. The skills acquired through a liberal arts degree are applicable to many fields and are often what prospective employers target.
Despite this information, one of the greatest pressures students face in college is choosing a major. Often students feel that the major they pick will become what they will end up doing for life. For today’s college student, their major may have nothing to do with what career they end up in. Selecting a major has more to do with developing interests, sharpening skills and abilities, and providing a venue for student to learn more about themselves and the world around them.
Choosing a major that is right for your student and not for you as a parent is critical. Part of the college experience is learning to be more independent and taking advantage of the opportunity to grow, mature, and make one’s own decisions.
While taking a variety of General Education (GE) courses can often help narrow down major choices, a key component of major exploration occurs outside the classroom. It is a good idea for students to talk to faculty and other students already in the major, as well as with people working in a related field. Some other ways for students to explore are getting involved with campus clubs and organizations or working with faculty members on research. In addition to giving students insight into a possible future major, these experiences look great on job and graduate school applications!
The Student’s Responsibility
Your student is embarking on an exciting adventure to discover more about themselves and develop increased independence. We understand that for most of your student’s education, you have helped them make many decisions. At CSULB, you both face new roles in your relationship. One aspect of this is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal regulation that now applies to you, your student, and our university. It holds the student responsible for their academic records, preventing anyone but the student from seeing grades, changing classes, or gaining access to academic records.
At CSULB, all communication is sent over e-mail or through the My.CSULB website. No grade reports are mailed, so students must log on to My.CSULB to view their records.
In the Learning Alliance, we are partners with you and your student; however, we are bound to the FERPA regulations. It will be important for you to establish an open, communicative relationship with your student to know what is going on in their college life. We look forward to working with your college freshman as they learn the ropes of college, find their niche, and develop personal responsibility.
Support for You
Official CSULB website for parents: www.csulb.edu/parents