Supporting the Evening/Weekend/Online, Associate or Graduate Student
Many E/W/O, Associate and Graduate students have established jobs and/or families, and must accommodate these commitments while attending school. Some students are:
- Age 23 and older
- Currently or have been in a committed life relationship
- Working full or part-time and may have an established professional identity
- Financially supporting family members
- Returning to or starting college after a break
- Experiencing career transition
The vast majority of these students are achievement oriented and motivated to succeed. However because they must meet the requirements of families and employers while attending school, they can undergo a great deal of stress due to role and time conflicts. Sustained, consistent support from a partner can significantly reduce stress. Families can do a lot to support the student as she or he achieves their goal by adjusting family expectations.
Steps to support your student
- Have a family meeting that focuses on how to collaborate to meet the new needs of the student. Follow up with “check in” meetings that will allow each member to communicate their needs as well as reinforce consistency in the new arrangements.
- List the household and familial responsibilities of the student. Reassign or eliminate errands and duties to help lighten the student’s workload
- Make a calendar for the family that includes quiet study time for the student. Maintain it throughout the student’s college experience, not just for the few first months.
- Create a dedicated study space and technological equipment specifically devoted to the student’s academic work.
- Show interest in the student’s projects and provide objective, helpful feedback if asked.
- Suggest stress reducing activities if the student appears to need a break, but respect the student’s right to refuse them.
- Show understanding when the student chooses to spend time away from the family to participate in campus activities which will enhance their education, expand their network and support their goals.
- Tour the student’s campus and classrooms in order to see where the student is spending his or her time and effort, and increase a sense of sharing and participation.
- It is normal for students to undergo self-doubt, fear of failure, guilt or other feelings as they adjust to academic demands. Provide understanding, comfort and encouragement when such concerns are expressed, and reiterate the family’s commitment to their goals.