Helping Your Student Navigate College

two women walking and laughing

Your student is lucky to have you.

College is a time of transition and growth - for students and parents/family. During college, students face new challenges related to academics, time management, finances, relationships, and their identity. When a student is overwhelmed or in crisis, they often turn to their parents for help and advice. No one has all the answers, and that's okay. CAPS is here to help you help your students.

Not sure how to help your student? Start with these resources:

If someone you know is in an immediate suicidal crisis or emergency, call 911. If you're not sure if this is a crisis or you need to talk to someone right away, call CAPS 24/7 at 520-621-3334. View crisis support resources here.

Note: If your student is a minor, follow these instructions for accessing CAPS services.


Support for Parents & Family

While support from parents/family is important during this time of unique challenges, it can also be helpful for students to talk to a trained professional. Parents Matter is a free consultation service offered by CAPS and Campus Health. Parents/family of UA students are welcome to call CAPS (520-621-3334) or e-mail us at with their concerns.

Here are a few ways you can help your student navigate their college experience:

College is often a time of learning about yourself and the path you want to follow. It's a time many students face new life experiences, often independently, and discovering their unique strengths. Encourage your student's self-reliance by helping them embrace their independence and individuality. 

CAPS Resources for Self-Reliance: 

Pathways to Wellness Stage of Life Wellness 

Stronger Than Tools for Resilience

We all have a unique set of personal strengths that help us solve problems and get through challenging situations. When your student comes to you with a problem or seems to be struggling, help guide them back to the unique strengths they possess. 

Tools for identifying strengths: 

Free Values in Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths Questionnaire

Personal Strengths and Weaknesses Defined (+ A List of 92 Strengths)

The challenges we face in life are part of what makes us resilient. Your student has undoubtedly overcome obstacles in the past. Even though those obstacles may look different on the surface, taking the time to look deeper can help you discover all the ways you've come out stronger than before. 

Tools for growing through challenges: 

Don't Forget the Past. Learn From It.

Pathways to Wellness Emotional Wellness

Stronger Than

Communication is the thread that ties all relationships together. And it can come with challenges! If communication with your student feels tricky, you're not alone. The good news is, there's one simple thing you can do that will make a big difference: listen.

Here's how you can start:

12 Things You Can Do to Help You Listen to Your College Student

The Art of Listening

Expectations can shape your student's college experience. Help them set expectations that will help them enjoy their experience and grow. 

Here are some tips on setting realistic expectations:

5 Suggestions for Setting Realistic Expectations with Yourself

How to Relinquish Unrealistic Expectations

9 Conversations to Have With Your Future College Student

Help your student navigate the struggles they face by sharing how you've overcome challenges in your life. Don't worry about the differences between your situation and theirs and instead, focus on the similarities. Beneath the surface, most challenging experiences can teach us about the human experience and what it means to be resilient. 

Tools for talking about your past:

Talking With Your Kids About Your Past

Want to Really Connect at Your Next Family Gathering? Try This.

Additional Resources