As a first-generation college student, it can be difficult to explain your university experiences to your loved ones. As a parent or loved one, it can be challenging if you aren't sure how you can support your student while they're in college. We know these conversations can be hard, so we've put together a list of suggested topics for you to start your conversations.

Family around new graduate at Commencement

Support Your Student's College Journey

These are guiding conversation topics to have as a family to support the student through their college journey.


  • The stress and pressure you encounter as a student in college and how your loved ones can support you
  • Discuss your major and what you study - this might require creative descriptions in addition to naming your major
  • Career options relevant to your major
  • Your quarterly schedule - how many courses you are taking and how much time is required of you for each course
  • Share some of your academic successes and why it is important to you


  • How financial aid works
  • How loans work
  • Work-study
  • Work and internships


  • Clubs, social organizations, sports, and activities you are involved in - what role these play in your college experience
  • Talk about your roommates, coworkers, and classmates
  • Student life/culture


  • Your career goal/s 
  • Steps necessary to reach your career goal/s
  • Skills you are gaining or must acquire for your future career


  • Share how they've influenced your college decisions
  • Share how you feel about the ups and downs of college!
  • Share who or what is your motivation
  • Share one or two contacts with them - it can be your roommate or a close friend who you spend a lot of time with