Preparing Your Child

Prepare your student for college life.

Your child is about to take a huge step forward and we know that you want to make sure he or she is as prepared as possible. Students heading off to their freshman year in college need to be given space, but they must know that they still have a support system at home.

Here are some tried-and-true tips to help you prepare your student for life at UNC Charlotte. 

Starting College Life Off Right...SOAR!

The mandatory SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising and Registration)session assists students with their transition to UNC Charlotte, and allows students to meet with an academic advisor and register for classes. Students will also learn important information about the university and all of the services in place to promote their success.

Studies have shown that by attending SOAR, students earn better grades and persist at the university at significantly higher rates. Attending SOAR will allow both you and your student to create a connection to the university that will be invaluable throughout his or her college career.

Our studies also suggest that students who live on campus, work on campus and work less than 20 hours per week, as well as those who become moderately involved in campus clubs and organizations, have a significant advantage over those who do not. It all comes down to connecting with, and ultimately feeling that you are a part of, your university family while allowing enough time to be successful academically. Remember, a 15-hour course load (about five courses) will require approximately 45 hours of class time and study time per week. As parents, you have a big part in guiding and advising and encouraging your college student in areas that will help promote success.

Academic Differences Between High School and College

Students quickly learn that expectations in college are higher than in high school. Professors expect absolute diligence. Students must prepare for class by reviewing all assigned material. The standard rule is that a student should prepare two hours for every hour in class. College is a full-time job. Whether you have attended college, raised children or built a career, you understand the value of work. Your son or daughter can learn from your experiences.

Communicating With Faculty

Please encourage your student to communicate directly with University faculty and staff and take responsibility for their own school relationships. They should know which department to call if a problem arises and feel comfortable asking for help. It's important that you resist the natural urge to come to the rescue and instead, show your student that you are confident that they can handle their own business by encouraging them to do so. Empower your student to strive for self-reliance and independence, but to also reach out for help when appropriate.

Keeping in Touch

It is essential to maintain an active relationship with your son or daughter. Whether you live across the country or across town, we recommend that you initiate a conversation with your new college student about how to keep in touch (e-mail, letters or phone), how often (daily, weekly or monthly), and at what time of day (morning, evening or just on the weekends).

Visiting campus is an excellent idea, but surprise visits are not recommended. As new college students adjust to their schedules, they will know which weekends or evenings will work best for them. For example, a Sunday visit the day before midterm exams may not be a good time. Your son or daughter can help you choose the right time. You may plan a visit around an event such as the international festival, a basketball game or a theatre performance.

Care packages are great! Students love to receive packages no matter what they contain. Even if you send a bar of soap, new toothbrush and a couple of snacks, it will be appreciated. Some of the best items in care packages are favorites from home.


Practicing basic skills like doing laundry can help your student feel less stressed in a new situation. Make sure he or she knows how to operate machines, understand clothing labels and symbols and can separate laundry as needed.


Maybe your student is used to having his or her own bedroom at home. You can help by teaching respect for a roommate's personal space, property and unique differences, and how to communicate effectively in new relationships. Your student will need to know how to set ground rules with a roommate and how to ask for help if necessary.


Many new college students have not been responsible for their day-to-day expenses. Once they arrive on campus they will need money for notebooks, snacks, personal items and recreation. UNC Charlotte has ATM machines from several banks on campus. You may want to select a bank that is convenient for students and parents.

College students need financial guidance and practice. It's a good idea to make sure your student is comfortable with working within a set spending budget, knows how to balance a checkbook and can pay his or her own bills.

Credit Cards

College students love credit cards! Credit cards are convenient... too convenient. If you send your son or daughter to college with a credit card, be sure to set the rules. Keep in mind, students can apply for credit cards (without your permission) almost anywhere. New students need to learn the dangers of debt and revolving credit.

Health Appointments & Prescriptions

Go over your student's health history and provide him or her with all necessary health insurance information before arriving on campus. In the time leading up to college, have your student make his or her own appointments. It's important that your student develop a sense of personal responsibility and ownership over personal health needs.