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Students have many options to stay in touch with parents


Monday, August 11, 2014

Staying connected to your family is important when you're away from home. With all of the communication options available, it's now easier than ever to keep in touch while you're at college. From Facebook and texting to video calls, phoning home is not the only way to reach out to your family.

Choosing the best method
Depending on your schedule, you may not have time to engage in a traditional phone call with your parents. According to a study from North Dakota State University, there are two situations in which students will opt for a phone call over all other communication methods: when a conversation is simpler than a series of texts, or when the subject matter is emotional. Sometimes a brief phone call is more efficient than a series of confusing text messages that otherwise might last for hours. The students added that there were also times, like periods of homesickness, when hearing their parents' voices helped in a way that texting or other forms of technology couldn't.

The study found that when phone calls weren't convenient, students preferred text messages to stay in touch, and many noted that they used this method to keep in daily contact with their parents. Since texting is quick and requires little effort on both the sending and receiving ends, it's an ideal method for those who have busy schedules and short messages to communicate.

Facebook and other forms of social media are also used to stay in touch and give your parents a glimpse of your new life away from home. While some prefer their privacy, students can benefit from connecting with a parent on social media. It's a more efficient way to keep them in the know without having to call or send a direct message. Simply updating your status for your friends to see can be all your parents need to know that you're safe and enjoying your time at school.

Video calls are another way of keeping in contact with your family, especially if you're homesick, since they are the closest you can get to an in-person conversation. However, this method is more time-consuming and often requires a scheduled time and place to make the call.

The importance of staying connected
Staying connected certainly helps both students and parents adjust to the transition to college, but studies show it also helps make you more successful in the classroom. A study in the National Survey of Student Engagement found that students with parents who made frequent contact a priority performed better in college than those with less-involved guardians. When preparing for college, talk to your family about how often they expect to hear from you. If you both have an understanding of how frequently you should be in contact, it will make the college experience more pleasurable and exciting for everyone.

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