Transitioning to College

College offers your student a new start. This can be a refreshing and sometimes overwhelming opportunity. While this is a big change for your student, there are also some key changes in your role as a parent. For example, if your student misses class or is struggling academically, you won’t receive a phone call from the school. This is a good opportunity to build better communication with your student.

As a parent or family member of a new college student, you should understand FERPA. FERPA stands for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This federal law allows students (18 years old+) to protect their own privacy and information. This means that you as the parent or family member will not have access to your students records unless they have given you permission. This is a great opportunity for your student to practice responsibility and self advocacy.

To allow family members to interact with campus on their behalf, a student must sign and submit a FERPA release of information and keep it on file with the campus Registrar’s office.  Current grade and attendance information is typically between the student and professor until grades are final at the end of the semester.  If you would like updates on that information, you will need to set up a communication plan with your student. 


  • Create and practice open communication with your student.
  • Ask your student if they will be submitting a FERPA release of information to give you access to interact with campus on their behalf.  
  • Discuss with your student what information they will be sharing with you regarding academic progress, course grades and attendance. 

Next: Mental Health Preparedness