College Access and Success

Summer Melt Series: Three Ways Parents Can Help Prepare Students for College

by Kristina Kelly

Photo of two students writing

This is the latest post in our series about preventing summer melt.

The transition to college is both an exciting and scary time for students and parents. For parents, letting go can be difficult, but, you don’t have to: studies show that students with a great support system are more likely to persist in college. Therefore, as a parent of a new college student, your support can be vital to their transition success.

Now that the summer is here, it is a wonderful time for students to get involved in a variety of opportunities.  At CAP we encourage students to actively seek out enriching summer experiences that may enhance their resumes and/or support timely graduation. Aside from internships and summer jobs, we highly encourage students to spend time in the summer networking, conducting informational interviews, and polishing up their resumes.

Colleges will continue to send important communications about financial aid, billing, housing, and enrollment, so encourage your student to check their email and portal messages often. In addition to getting your scholar ready to begin college, use these summer months to discuss these additional topics:


Figure out where your scholar’s spending money will come from and support them with making a budget.  If they do not have a bank account, this summer is an excellent time to set one up. Check your local banks and credit unions for no fee student accounts.


Communication is essential to your scholar’s success. When your child is in college, they will still need you to be their support system. Be a coach! Listen with a non-judgmental ear and encourage them to find resources on campus and reach out to CAP with questions.

Health and Safety

Encourage your scholar to continue to eat well and get good amounts of sleep.  It is common for college students to have an unbalanced diet while they are away.  Eating well and exercising are good stress management techniques that will ultimately provide them with the brain power they need to do well each term.  You may also want to use this time to review the campus map and/or local transit routes, and to see if campus safety escorts are available, to ensure they feel confident getting around campus.

If you are interested in reading some additional articles focused on parenting a college student, look for a parent resource section on your scholar’s institution’s website, as well as “Letting go: Tips for parents of new college students” from the University of Wisconsin Superior.