Home > Resources > Parents’ Practical Guide to College > Parents’ Guide to the Unexpected in College

Parents’ Guide to the Unexpected in College

These situations are called unexpected for a reason: they materialize out of thin air with absolutely no warning and are poised to ruin a perfectly flawless plan for college. While it’s hard to fathom every possible scenario that could play out, here are a few collegiate parents encounter.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I’m Taking a Year Off”

Your child has been accepted to college, of their first choice– but after a year of exemplary grades and a positive campus experience, they sit you down and reveal they’d like to take a year off. While your initial response may be to rebuke, keep listening for the reason behind their departure from school.

“Mom, Dad…Meet My Someone”

Young love. Though only 15 percent of people meet their future spouses in college , you should be prepared for your son or daughter to call you one day and invite you to meet their significant other. When you’re finally introduced to this special someone, however, they may not be exactly who you envisioned.

“How Do You Like My Tattoo?”

When your child starts attending college, they gain much more freedom than they had in high school and many take advantage of this increased autonomy to the fullest degree. They may dye their hair, grow goatees, pierce their tongues and begin quests to tattoo every square inch of their bodies because, as with relationships, college is a time for experimentation. Here’s what to do when your child comes home for winter break looking much different than when they had left.

“Can I Get Your Advice on Something?”

For years, you were probably your child’s go-to source for advice. That may still hold true to some degree when they leave for college but chances are, they would now rather go to a roommate or significant other for counsel. When they come to you saying they have an issue your expertise can remedy, it’s hard not to dive right in and begin working your parental magic.

“But I Thought We Were Friends?”

As children age, it becomes easier to think of them as friends rather than the six-year old you still remember. This mentality can become problematic, however, when you’re paying for their tuition and they make a decision they know you would vehemently oppose. You can no longer revoke their allowance or send them to the time-out chair. Disciplining a child is an already tricky topic but when that child is old enough to vote and join the military, the situation becomes even more convoluted.

ADVERTISEMENT

Latest College & Financial Aid News

What is the FAFSA?

October 8, 2021

by Scholarships.com Staff

FAFSA is an acronym. It stands for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid". Please take note that the first word in the acronym is "Free". You do not need to pay to fill out the FAFSA but there are certainly websites out there that will charge you for their assistance. If you are asked for a credit card at any point in the process, you are at one of these sites. If you do not want to pay to complete the FAFSA, be sure to apply at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. The FAFSA must be completed by you and your family each year if you wish to be considered for need-based grants from the college or university you are or will be attending as well as subsidized student loans. [...]

Want to Study Abroad? Find Scholarships

August 31, 2021

by Scholarships.com Staff

A study abroad program can be the beginning of the most exciting chapter of your college experience. Often, the travel, housing, credits and even food are included in the price of the program you choose. However, this is no reason not to look for more financial opportunities! [...]

Movie Night! College Classics

August 19, 2021

by Scholarships.com Staff

As you get ready for this next big step in your life, this last year at home can feel like the longest and the shortest you ever had! While you prepare to select a college and research scholarships and financial aid, don’t forget to spend some quality time with your friends and family. While movies, even when based on a true story, are always a little bit fantastic, they are also works of art that share experiences among their viewers. [...]

Last Reviewed: October 2021