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California State University, Long Beach
Dean of Students
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Advice for Parents

Empty Nest Syndrome

Mother suffering from empty nest syndrome.

When our daughters and sons go away to the university, or even when they live at home and commute, parents will note an attitude change. Naturally, students will be testing their independence and the new academic challenges and social adjustments will produce stress. As parents we need to look for a middle ground to allow them to test their new roles, but it is important for them to know their parents or guardians are still there for them. Parents and significant others also have some adjustment to the “empty nest”.

There are many books which address these issues, but let me recommend one which I have had good feedback from parents:

  • Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years
    By: Karen Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger, Harper Collins Publishers, 1997, Third Edition

Student success and graduation

Parent kissing her CSULB graduate on the day of Commencement.

Student success and graduation are what all of us want. Research nationally shows some clear patterns to keep in mind: 1) the better prepared a new university student is in writing and math, 2) the clearer idea(s) they have about what they may want to do for a career, 3) the more time spent involved on campus, the more likely they are to be retained, succeed and graduate. At CSULB, approximately 82% of new students return for their second year. Many who do not return had writing and math remediation needs and found them challenging to overcome. CSULB is working with area school systems in writing and math education, as well as seeking ways to strengthen our own efforts with these students.

Advice for New Students from Current Students

CSULB students hanging out on campus.

Advice for new students, especially freshmen are important, but who will they listen to? Research shows they will listen to older students. In interviews by the student newspaper, the Daily 49er, here is what CSULB upper division students relayed to freshmen:

  • Go to class everyday!
  • Meet people. Don’t be shy. Sit in the front of the class.
  • See your counselor (advisor) often and talk to your teachers (professors).
  • Register early!

Excessive Computer Usage by Students

Student using a computer.

University officials and other researchers across the land are noting a growing trend among young adults of college age who spend excessive time on the internet and other aspects of the computer. Now Stanford University has labeled what they found an addiction. Games, internet and Web surfing, blogging, shopping and chat rooms are being over utilized, while studying, real human interaction and even food and sleep are neglected. These students have a habit so intense they think they cannot stop and failure in their studies can result. Gambling has also become a big problem for some students who run up huge debts before they understand how it happened. These students need counseling and should call the counseling office (562) 985-4001 for an appointment.

Civil and/or Political Activity Among Students

Even though electronic devices seem to be glued to today’s university students’ heads, ears and fingers, many researchers note today’s students are also highly involved in public service. A recent survey found 36% of young people have volunteered in their local communities, 30% had boycotted a product as a protest, and 25% had raised money for charity according to the Pen Charitable Trust’s research wing. We see the same thing at CSULB and are pleased with this generation’s enthusiasm and willingness to take time to engage in civil and/or political activity.