Parents and Families

The college years can present surprising challenges for parents and families. The Center for Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) wants students to know that we are here to help them succeed in college and in life. As a parent or caregiver, you can help by knowing about the variety of services and resources on campus, and when you think your student would benefit, by referring them to the Center for Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS).

Counseling & Psychological Services offer brief phone consultation to parents and family members who may be looking to discuss available resources at IC. Please note, however, that specific information about current clients is confidential and cannot be shared without your student’s consent.

What Students Have to Say

We surveyed a group of first year Ithaca College students about what kinds of supportive practices they need and appreciate from parents. Here is what they had to say (remember every student has unique preferences, so when in doubt, ASK):

Keep in touch

Send letters, emails, phone calls, send post cards and greeting cards. Simple, short phone calls can be really helpful. Call/email no more often than every other day. Visit. Keep us updated on what’s going on at home. Calling to check up is great, but sending regular mail is even better.

Send care packages

Send food; send packages (they take our minds off the stress); send small, thoughtful items every once in a while; card/care package around final exam time.

Don’t overwhelm us or be pushy

Don’t put too much pressure on us; don’t pressure us to get good grades (we pressure ourselves enough); don’t focus on work when talking (we think about it enough); don’t nag about grades; don’t give us a hard time if first semester grades are bad; don’t get on our back; don’t ask about everything we have to do every day and try to remind us of everything.

Be supportive

Be positive, even when times are rough; be supportive about our activities; just ask simple questions; talk about good things happening around you/home; try to help with anything we talk to you about; support us without being obtrusive or overbearing; listen and try to understand our problems; be caring, reassuring, loving and kind; give positive feedback; when visiting, leave a note behind that we find later; let us know we can come home whenever we need to; recognize we might be homesick and might not admit it; be open-minded about our academic goals; stay informed; give advice on money management; be understanding of our decisions, which may include changing majors and/or classes; be supportive of social issues; remind us we can do it and to continue working hard; keep in touch but don’t get too involved in everyday business; support and back us up no matter what.

Resources for Parents and Families

The attached documents have information that may help you understand what the college transition means for students and for those who care about them. Much of the information in these documents has been adapted with permission from the Counseling Center at Hobart and William Smith in Geneva, New York. (Please note a list of the following subjects are available in our featured documents section below. Each of the documents are easy to view and/or print.)

  • Understanding the transition to college
  • Services for students
  • Consultation services for parents
  • Confidentiality and parents
  • Recommended readings and websites
  • What our students have to say