Parent and Family Resources

New Student Programs is happy to offer parents and families supportive resources to assist in the transition of their students entering college. In addition to the resources offered on this website, Parent and Family Programs has a number of services and events to engage families as well.

Supporting your student

See below for information on student development, recommended parent books and websites to review, and helpful tips and tricks for you and your students during this time of transition.

Some tips you may find helpful as you offer support and advice to your college students

  • Take a deep breath when (and if) your students call home with a problem. Listen and ask questions. Fight the urge to fix the problem yourselves. Encourage your students to do the problem solving on their own.
  • Learn about student services and encourage your students to do so as well. Academic advising and learning centers are just a few of the services available on campus to students. Others include Campus Recreation, the CARE Team, University Counseling Center and Decker Student Health Services.
  • Understand that homesickness is normal. Living in a new and unfamiliar environment can feel overwhelming at times. The cure to homesickness cannot be found at home, but instead students need to meet new people, participate in activities and gain a sense of community at college. Residential Life can help on-campus students find the right community for them. Have your students check out the Student Association for clubs that fit their interests.
  • Anticipate academic struggles. College coursework can be demanding and challenging. An important component of navigating this is learning how to manage time, set priorities and cope with the academic rigor. We have Student Success Centers on campus with tutoring, academic advising and collegiate professors.
  • Accept the inevitability of illness. Just like everyone else, college students get sick. When you get the call, take a deep breath. It's hard not to be there to offer TLC. Encourage your students (or their roommates) to pick up some cold medicine and hot soup. If the problem persists, they can go to Decker Student Health Services.
  • Think before blaming the roommate. Living in a confined space in a new environment can present unique challenges. Relationships are a two-way street. Encourage communication, making compromises and finding solutions. Have your students try our new "Got Conflict?" resolution program through the Office of Student Conduct.
  • Understand that career indecision is normal. Most 18- to 20-year-olds have limited knowledge of the world at work. Many students make premature decisions as a way to alleviate being "undecided." Encourage your students to seek out career counselors at the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development.
  • Anticipate change in your students. Don't be surprised to see changes in your students' attitudes, interests or belief systems. Change is a normal developmental process that can be temporary or permanent, subtle or extreme. If you see changes that concern you, talk to your students about them.
  • Reflect and celebrate. Think of the milestones that have led to this day. Whatever path you traveled, your students made it to college. This is no small feat, so pat yourselves on the back for a job well done and relish in what comes next!

Source: 51 Tips for Parents of College Students by Alan Farber, PhD, and Linda O'Brien, MA.



  • You're on Your Own (But I'm Here If You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years by Marjorie Savage
  • The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey
  • The Campus Cure: A Parent's Guide to Mental Health Wellness for College Students by Marcia Morris, MD
  • Your Freshman is Off to College: A Month-by-Month Guide to the First Year by Laurie L. Hazard, EDD, and Stephanie K. Carter, MA
  • The Freshman Survival Guide: Soulful Advice for Studying, Socializing, and Everything in Between by Nora Bradbury-Haehl and Bill McGarvey
  • Don't Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years by Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller
  • The Naked Roommate For Parents Only: A Parent's Guide to the New College Experience by Harlan Cohen
  • Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger

Helpful information about college student development

Chickering's Psychological Theory of Student Development

Chickering's Theory of Seven Vectors (1969) delves into the idea that college students experience seven vectors of development throughout their college experience.

Chickering's Seven Vectors
What it looks like for your students
First two years:

Developing confidence: intellectual, physical/manual and interpersonal competence (physical and manual skills).

Students learn how to do laundry and do it each week without being asked.
Managing emotions: recognizing, accepting, appropriately expressing and controlling emotion. Students recognize and accept emotions, and appropriately express and control them during roommate conflicts.
Moving through autonomy toward interdependence: increasing emotional interdependence, self-direction and problem-solving abilities, as well as recognizing and accepting interdependence. Students take ownership managing their time, registering for classes and seeking tutoring assistance on campus.
Second and third year:

Developing mature interpersonal relationships: developing capacity for healthy intimate relationships that contribute to sense of self, while accepting and appreciating differences.

Students establish new peer groups, develop intercultural and interpersonal tolerance, appreciate differences and create healthy, intimate relationships.
Establishing identity: based on feedback from significant others, developing comfort with self (physically and emotionally), one's lifestyle, gender, sexuality and cultural heritage. Students acknowledge differences in identity development based on gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation and lifestyle choices.
Third and fourth year:

Developing purpose: developing clear vocational goals and committing to personal interests and activities.

Students develop career goals, make commitments to personal interests and activities, and establish strong commitments to student organizations.
Developing integrity: moving from rigid, moralistic thinking to a more humanized personalized value system; acknowledging and accepting the beliefs of others. Students develop strong sense of self and lifestyle congruent to their values.

How to get involved

Join our Bearcat Family

Activate your Family Status to receive all the benefits of being a part of our Bearcat Family, including the monthly Parent Connect Newsletter, connections to campus professionals, access to online resources and more.

Parents Leadership Council

The Parents Leadership Council (PLC) serves as a link between the University and the parents of undergraduate students. Discover the mission of the PLC and how you can enhance student opportunities here on campus.

Connect on Facebook

Connect with other Binghamton University parents and families of undergraduate students on our Binghamton University Bearcat Family Facebook page.

Working with your students

High school vs. college

Knowing some of the major differences between high school and college can help you and your students prepare for the transition to campus life.

High school



Structured. Typically, a daily routine that is stable and predictable. Students' schedules are dictated by others. Time/schedule Unstructured. Students are personally responsible for getting up, going to class and managing priorities. Students take ownership of time management.
Significant contact since most classes meet five days a week. Frequent homework reminders. Teacher/student relationship Most classes meet one, two or three days a week. Students are expected to contact faculty during office hours or via email, and are responsible for deadlines listed on each course syllabus.
Parents and guardians have access to monitor grades, assignments and attendance. Parents contact teachers or counselors directly with concerns. Communication is open and information is shared freely. Parent/family involvement Students must grant proxy access to academic and financial information. This does not include grades or attendance. Professors and advisors cannot talk with family members about student progress or concerns without students' written authorization.
Guidance counselors plot out the four-year curriculum with students and parents may be involved. Counseling/advice Students can make appointments with academic advisors every semester and should be prepared prior to meeting with their advisors. Students can also utilize Student Success Centers and Discovery Advisors in their residential communities. Depending on declared major, some courses are self-selected based on interests.
Student freedom is usually dictated by scheduled activities and parental guidelines. Freedom Students make their own choices about how to use their time.
Students may be able to earn good grades with minimal effort. The classwork is evenly distributed throughout the semester. Students are given detailed instructions and support for major papers and projects. Time is often dedicated to completing tasks in class and teachers are available to answer questions. Academics Students may find college is more rigorous and expectations are higher. Minimal effort may produce poor grades. Students must ask for assistance and clarification if they didn't understand major assignments. They are also encouraged to seek assistance with the advising office (of their particular school), tutoring services or Student Success Centers as soon as they have any academic concerns.
Parents frequently intercede in problematic situations. Advocacy Students must learn to advocate for themselves by asking for help when needed and taking advance of Binghamton University's support services and resources.
Students are usually told what to do and corrected if behaviors are out of line. Responsibility Students will face moral and ethical decisions they may have never faced before. Students are expected to take responsibility for what they do and do not do, as well as for the consequences of their choices.

Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD)

High school



  • IDEA
  • Section 504 (D)
  • Rehabilitation Act
Applicable laws
  • Section 504 (E)
  • Rehabilitation Act
  • Individual Education Plan (IEP)
  • Schools provide evaluation at no cost to students
  • Schools conduct evaluations at prescribed intervals
Required documentation
  • Varies depending on the disability
  • IEP and 504 plans are typically not sufficient — must include testing on which the requested accommodations are based
  • Students are identified and supported by parents and teachers
  • Primary responsibility for accommodations belongs to schools
Student role
  • Students must self-identify to SSD
  • Primary responsibility for accommodations belongs to students
  • Parents have access to students' records and participate in accommodation process
  • Parents advocate for students
Parent role
  • Parents do not have access to disability-related records unless students provide written consent
  • Students advocate for themselves
  • Many schools modify curriculum and/or alter the pace of assignments
  • Use multi-sensory approach
  • Weekly testing, mid-term, final and graded assignments
  • Attendance taken and reported
Curriculum and instruction
  • Faculty not required to modify curriculum
  • Usually lecture-based — may or may not use multi-sensory approach
  • Students are responsible for attending class regardless of the nature of the disability
  • Some schools modify tests
  • Grades may be modified based on the nature of the curriculum
  • Grades reflect work submitted
  • Extension of deadlines typically not accommodated

Questions and requests for further information related to student accessibility can be directed to Services for Students with Disabilities by phone at 607-777-2686 or via email at