Trinity University students at study session

(Editor's note: Associate Vice President Michael Soto shared this letter with first year students. For parents with students in the Class of 2021, or in any other class, these tips can be of value if and when students encounter difficulties on campus. He encourages students, and all of us, to be mindful of grit, the willingness to learn from and work hard to overcome setbacks.)

by Michael Soto-


I truly hope that your first semester at Trinity University is off to an amazing start. I also get that not all of you will consider the beginning of your college career amazing. When I was in your shoes—overwhelmed with newness and thrilled about the possibilities—I wasn’t really sure how things were going with my classes until I received back from my professors a paper (A-minus: “Yay!”) and a midterm exam (D: “Uh oh.”)

There’s a lot of talk on college campuses these days about “grit,” which the psychologist Angela Duckworth defines as “passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” Grit is the willingness to learn from and work hard to overcome setbacks. Grit is something I want you to be mindful about. But how?

Take time to reflect. Turn off the computer and silence the phone before asking, "How am I doing here academically, emotionally, and physically?" Be honest, and realize that it’s OK not to be completely happy or satisfied all of the time. It’s OK to fail—just be ready to learn from it.
Trinity University professor Michael Soto
Trinity University professor Michael Soto
There’s only one you. You’ve seen the catchy Trinity slogan, “Discover. Grow. Become.” One of the ironies of the slogan is that while we’re all committed to a similar experience, none of us will live out the slogan in quite the same way. Don’t measure success by any one result, good or bad; follow your own intellectual and spiritual compass to find your way.

You will get better at this. My sons enjoy video games, so when they’re frustrated by a new challenge, I often ask, “How good were you at FIFA when you first started playing, and how much better are you now?” If writing is your Achilles heel, I can assure you that you will be a better writer for being here. If you’re worried about physics, you will get better with time and effort.

We’re here to help. You’ll get better because you’re surrounded by world-class faculty who want you to succeed. You also have the support of our Student Success Center if you should need counseling, accessibility, health, or academic services. In fact, you can find many of these resources under one roof at the new Tiger Learning Commons. Our Student Life team is second to none. And if I can ever help you navigate your way through Trinity, don’t hesitate to be in touch.

I hope you won’t experience an academic setback in the comings days and weeks, but if you do, know that you’re here because you possess remarkable gifts. With a little grit, those gifts will take you very, very far.


About Michael
Michael Soto is associate vice president for Academic Affairs for Student Academic Issues and Retention. He also is a professor of English.


Trinity University students at concert

by David Tuttle –

Most residential universities face challenges in managing campus cultures involving alcohol use and abuse. Trinity University has adopted a very intentional harm-reduction model. We are guided by these three tenets: we acknowledge students will drink; care deeply about student health and safety; and we enforce policies as required by law.

Our efforts around policy development, enforcement, and education are all guided by those principles.

  • We acknowledge use when we permit beer and wine at tailgate parties, as we serve students alcohol at several senior functions, and through our national award-winning Optimal Buzz program that teaches responsible drinking over binge drinking.
  • We demonstrate our commitment to student safety through the "responsible friend" component of our alcohol policy and though the SPIn policy (Safer Party Initiative) and guidelines. The latter assign accountability to off-campus hosts when they put students at risk when hosting parties.
  • And we enforce violations in the residence halls an off campus. A review of our conduct summaries show that staff members are not turning away when they face infractions.

This can all be difficult to balance. For example, while we would fully acknowledge student drinking by permitting hard alcohol, we also know that consuming shots leads more quickly to alcohol poisoning. So hard alcohol is prohibited because we have put health and safety first.

The B'Low Optimal program includes policy enforcement, but offers reduced sanctions for those in violation, but who are drinking at safe levels.

And last year, more than 100 students were trained through the TiPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) social host program to identify and intervene in situations related to problematic alcohol use. More training sessions are planned for the future.

Parents and family members are asked to support us as partners as we manage this difficult issue. We have chosen our harm-reduction approach because there is no evidence that rigid enforcement and denying the realities of student drinking are effective. Students, faculty, staff, and parents all want the same thing: an academic and social environment that puts safety and educational pursuits at its core.

Please visit our Alcohol Webpage to see a slide show explaining our approach to alcohol and videos on the Optimal Buzz and B'Low Optimal programs.

Trinity University students at concert
Trinity's dean of students recommends cultivating friends who aren't obsessed with drinking alcohol.
In a newsletter to new students this summer, we sent the following tips. Please consider reinforcing this information with your students:


Freedom can be intoxicating

For students who go away to college, perceptions of college drinking may lead to lots of alcohol consumption early. Approaching college like it is one big party can lead to a very short collegiate experience.

Tip to students: Remember why you are at school (and how much it costs). Prioritize!

Alcohol is not a finite resource

Often, new students feel that they can't get enough alcohol quick enough.

Tip to students: Pace yourself! Alcohol will still be there for the rest of your life. The first six weeks of school are known as the red zone. That's when bad things often happen: injury, alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, hazing, and sexual assault, for example.


Everyone is partying (except for the other two-thirds of students.)

Generally, about one-third of the students on a campus do the heavy lifting with drinking. It SEEMS like everyone else is because drinkers draw attention to themselves, in not so flattering ways.

Tip to students: Cultivate friends that aren't obsessed with drinking. You can find many of them in clubs and organizations and at the recreation center.

Safety is the MOST important thing

You might think you are invincible. Parents and staff members know better.

Tip to students: Try to drink reasonable amounts. Alternate water and beer. Try to consume less than a drink an hour. Drink on a somewhat of a full stomach. Avoid drinking games and shots. Go out with others and come back with them. Look out for others and ask them to do the same for you.

Know the landscape related to alcohol policies


By law, schools are supposed to enforce their alcohol policies. Some are more rigid than others. But all schools have policies, especially for on campus students.

Tips to students: If you are going to drink on campus, usually noise and brewery-like smells get the attention of the staff. If you do get written up, be cooperative and move on. You aren't going to win, and boorish behavior will increase sanctions and just really, just be a decent person to the staff.

The Dean of Students Office will conduct a thorough review of programs this semester. Please also see the 2016 Trinity Drug Free Schools & Communities Act report.


About David

David M. Tuttle is an associate vice president and Dean of Students at Trinity University. You can read his blog, The Dean's List, here.


by Barrie Page Hill --

I feel The Tug before it happens.

Like a boat, bobbing on the water, the vessel straining to break free of its moorings.

I feel The Tug before it happens.

A bouquet of bright balloons fighting for freedom; A gust of wind sending them skyward, dancing, just out of reach.

Yes, I feel The Tug before it happens.

A magnet pulled toward another; A force too strong to fight.

I’m sitting behind the steering wheel, and feel my daughter slip just a little farther away with each mile marker. We are on a road trip across this big, beautiful state of ours. The car trunk is crammed; the backseat, a mishmashed mound of clothes, tangled hangars and a wrought iron chandelier adorned with multi-colored prisms that flash colored rainbows across the car. When we saw it on our back-to-school shopping foray, my daughter declared it “perfection,” and we carted it home, adding it to the growing pile of Dorm Room Essentials. Now, it’s stowed alongside the monogrammed laundry bag, spiral notebooks, new comforter and framed pictures of friends, waiting to be hung in some place of honor, befitting this marvel of dorm room chic. I fear I have exposed my daughter to too many episodes of HGTV.

We’ve had a marvelous summer, me and this kid of mine. I am grateful to share a special relationship with her that only moms with daughters will completely understand. She is my only daughter — My only child. She has been both blessed – and cursed – to be doted on by parents who marvel at her compassion, intelligence and Old Soul maturity. Like all parents, we are proud of our child’s accomplishments, her responsible nature and her choice of colleges. Like all parents, it’s still hard to let go.

I’ve seen – and felt – this inevitable Tug gradually over the last few days. My daughter had the car gassed up, packed up and ready to roll by the time I got off work. She was ready to put miles – and home – in the rear view window. Yes, this road trip has been full of laughs and travel tales, pit stops and rest stops, and I’m glad I’m the one taking my kid to college instead of her Dad. I’m glad I’m the one getting to share these special memories before she slams the car door shut on summer.

I feel the shift though — this Tug that takes her, claiming her like the tide. The closer we get to her college, the stronger this invisible pull becomes. My daughter becomes less enamored of our road trip shenanigans, more impatient. She wants to stop less, get there quicker. Conversations are less animated, more stilted. She is distracted, distant. Mile by mile, The Tug is taking her.

She is texting more — her college chums already letting her know what she is missing, who is going to dinner with whom, what parties are planned for the short hours before classes begin. I feel The Tug before it happens.

I know, too, that this is how it should be. This is natural, normal, and — rationally — I know we will both survive this rite of passage that takes my daughter far from home. She is growing up; becoming her own self, apart from being our daughter, my baby. This is as it should be, and I am proud of the person my daughter is becoming; I know I have to let go and let her live the life she is meant to have.

As her mom, I worry, and my heart aches at the dangers yet to come. She will make mistakes. She will stumble and fall. She will meet kind people and mean people and — though we warn her — we cannot protect her from all that life will fling at her. I feel like I did when my daughter learned to ride her bike. Reluctantly, I let go of the bike seat and watch her wobble away. But I let her ride, knowing too well of the inevitable spills and scrapes that will follow.

Though I am afraid, I have to trust that my daughter will remember our words, consider our advice and realize that we were young once too; that we once walked the same path, and that, we, too, have faltered. As our child, we want to spare her some of our mistakes, some of our pain. As parents, we want to protect our children and tell cautionary tales, offer advice when none is sought. As parents, we arm our children as best we can and end them out into the world. We let go of the bicycle seat and pray.

My hope is that my daughter will find her way, guided by a light that always shines and a heart that instinctively knows the path. I hope her life is full of love and beauty, kindness and miracles. I hope she knows little of life’s dangers, hurts and dark places. The palatable and powerful Tug reminds me that I must let her go. I let go of my grasp, let the balloonsfloat into the vast, blue sky. I untie the ropes, and the boat drifts from the safety of the harbor to chart a new course. The magnetic pull of adulthood is claiming my child, and I let her go. Once again, I let go of the bicycle seat and pray.

Barrie Page Hill with daughter Brenna when she was a Trinity student.
I settled my daughter into her dorm. I helped her hang her clothes and put away books. I watched as she positioned her bed under the window so she could look out into the treetops. But this year, I did not stay to hang pictures or rearrange furniture. I did not stay to make mad-dash Target runs for Command hooks and laundry pods. I didn’t offer to take my daughter and her friends out for dinner. My daughter is a capable young adult. She and her friends are reunited, and she is settling back into college life. Instead, I kissed my daughter goodnight, went to my hotel and left her to catch up with her friends. They made their own dinner plans. I clicked the lock, put up the Do Not Disturb sign and settled for a long bath and a longer cry.

On the ride back home, the seat next to me was empty and gaping. I missed my daughter’s chatter, the silly jokes, our conversations. Instead, I watched the trees and cars blur past and thought of my daughter, settled into her dorm as a new semesters’ classes start tomorrow. She will have a wonderful fall full of football games, pizza parties, study sessions and class assignments. I will greedily gobble up her calls, texts and letters home as she shares her news, her life.

The Tug has happened. And it’s going to be okay. It is as it should be.

If you're a Trinity parent, make sure to check out the parent webpage for resources and ways to engage.

About Barrie

A former print and broadcast reporter, Barrie blogs to document her experience as primary caregiver to her mom, who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. I find writing cathartic and find it helps me order some of the chaos of my cluttered life, as she navigates the New Normal of living with a family member tormented by this devastating disease. Her daughter, Brenna Hill '17, graduated from Trinity in May. This post originally appeared on her blog in 2014. View all posts by barriepagehill →
Mom with hat on move in day at Trinity University
by Susie P. Gonzalez

Welcome to the 2017-18 academic year at Trinity University. As curator of the Parent Perspective, I invited parents of returning Tigers to share some tips for new parents.

Here are some ideas:
- Bring a toolbox. It doesn't have to be big but should have basic screw drivers, wrenches, etc. for assembling items you don't realize you have until you are moving in.
- Invest in a mattress topper. A memory foam version is worth the money to make sure your student gets a good night's sleep. One mom went a step farther and said to add a bed bug protector as well.
- Assemble a First Aid kit of over-the-counter medications. This will help when the first wave of colds sweeps through residence halls. Include Tylenol, Advil, Zicam, Pepto-Bismol, cough syrup, allergy medications, and other items you know that your student will need. (Editor's note: While you are at it, toss in some Band-Aids, topical anti-bacterial cream, and possibly mosquito repellent.) And of course, don't forget any prescription medications!
- Think about liquid hand soap and a pump dispenser for the bathroom. Also, Clorox wipes and facial tissues are good things for the room.
- A small bucket with other cleaning supplies for those times when housekeeping isn't scheduled but the room needs a touch up.
- Consider a locking box or lockable file cabinet to store items of value that your student absolutely wants to bring to campus but would be heartbroken if they went missing.

Trinity mom on move in day
Trinity University mom on move-in day.
Speaking of items of value, mom Cindy Cooke of Sacramento, California, recommends keeping a balance of about $100 on your student's TigerBucks account. She says her student uses debit cards and Venmo to share off-campus expenses. And in the event of an emergency, Cooke suggests trusting your student with a credit card.

Jean Whewell of Georgetown, Texas, says the upside of taking her third child to college was to purchase in advance a small, free-standing wire shelving rack for the bathroom. It was the perfect place near the sink for toothpaste, combs, soap, etc. that might not fit on the counter top when multiplied by four student occupants.

Although move-in day is a breeze because of the help of Team Trinity, moving out at the end of the year requires some assistance, says mom Loretta Pizzini Mendoza of Houston. She recommends purchasing a dolly that coverts from a two-wheel vertical truck to a four-wheel platform card. "Sure comes in handy when you are moving them home at year end," she writes.

Thanks to Cindy, Jean, and Loretta for sending such great advice.

Best of all, make a checklist and use it when packing from home. Speaking from experience, I purchased some items but forgot to put them in my husband's truck so they didn't make it to campus on the first run. Fortunately, I live close to campus and could circle back to collect the forgotten items. If you don't live nearby, make that checklist! Need more tips? Check out the Parent Guide. 

About Susie
Susie P. Gonzalez, senior manager of public relations at Trinity, can be reached at susie.gonzalez@trinity.edu or @susiegonz.


Trinity U students with frame at Spring Family Showcase

by Cat Schlueter—

Trinity University had never even been on our radar because in the North Texas burg of Azle where we reside, there is not a lot of marketing or promoting of schools other than state schools, TCU, and other colleges around the Dallas Fort Worth MetroPlex. My plan to become an ambassador for Trinity will hopefully change that.

Our very first college visit was based upon a recommendation of my daughter’s former babysitter, but after touring that school, my daughter Hayley decided to look at other similar schools and BOOM/GOOGLE here came Trinity University and Southwestern University in Georgetown. The backdrop of all this was her dad, who holds a doctorate in chemistry (which is what Hayley plans to pursue her degree in) LOUDLY cheering her on to go to A&M or the best, in his opinion, UT Austin.

Fast forward to January of 2016 when Hayley and I attended our first Trinity in Focus visit and I had to bite my tongue because I liked it so much, I wanted to switch bodies with her like Lindsay Lohan did with Jamie Lee Curtis in “Freaky Friday” so that I could be the one on this college search journey. Hayley is an introvert and is very hard to read...so when we left the campus to go back to the hotel, I was just waiting to hear her opinion...in her own words. She got in the car and said, "I really, really enjoyed that visit and I can totally see myself fitting in here - thank you for bringing me here." I cannot express strongly enough how ecstatic I was that she felt this way about Trinity after that visit because it became the foundation and comparison for everything else she looked at afterwards.

She visited A&M shortly thereafter but it was just not her style (and she couldn't care less about the Aggie ring) so next up was UT Austin. We visited there and her dad/my husband was obviously VERY interested in this University. After all, it has one of the strongest chemistry programs in the country. And hey, let's not overlook or forget that it costs a LOT less than any private university. Our visit to UT was during summer, so we could not get a true feel for what the campus would be like when 20-30,000 bodies would be hustling and bustling about. Still, Hayley liked it and decided she would definitely apply there. Our next visit was to UT Dallas and it was a set-up much like Trinity in Focus but this particular day was designated for auto-admit students, and yup, Hayley was an auto admit. She didn't get the warm and fuzzy feeling there so decided that if she got accepted to UT or Trinity, those would be the two she would decide between for her college selection.

In the meantime, dad had actually done some RESEARCH (imagine that, a scientist doing research) about Trinity and learned about its tremendous reputation AND the new Center for the Sciences and Innovation. So we went to yet another Trinity in Focus day with the whole family and he walked away saying it was just as great as I had told him it was. His objection and the issue at hand was still PRICE TAG. Long story short, Hayley applied early action to Trinity University and did the regular state application for UT Austin.

As the mom who wants to know everything about my daughters and knows them like I do, I couldn't stop thinking that if Hayley were to go to UT, she would "disappear" in the crowd. And she would sit in the middle or back of a big lecture hall, and if she did not understand something, she would probably just decide to skip class instead of asking the TA's or taking advantage of office hours.

Still, I kept my mouth shut while continuing to send Trinity blurbs and highlights that I would find from all over the web. I would send these links to both Hayley and her dad.

Trinity U student with LeeRoy the Tiger
Incoming first year student Hayley Schlueter with LeeRoy the Trinity tiger mascot.
Now came the waiting game. And, WOW, was that wait excruciatingly frustrating! More for me than for Hayley because she was just in the "whatever happens happens" mode at this time. THEN December rolled around. EARLY Merry Christmas from Trinity University with the "You're in" packet AND a surprise scholarship to boot! Hayley was sooooooo excited. I still think I was more excited than she was. And her dad? Being the fiscally skeptic dude that he is, he remarked that it was wonderful but "let's see what happens with UT." So more waiting and more waiting still. Finally, during the last week of decisions coming out from UT, Hayley said to me, "Don't tell dad but I have really been thinking about this and Trinity is my top choice so even if I get into UT, Trinity is where I want to go." Heck no I wasn't going to tell her dad she said that. I was jumping up and down inside though for sure. UT offered her admissions through CAP and it was at that point she told her dad she would be a Trinity Tiger.

Relief is an understatement...I could finally decompress because I knew and know that Trinity will not only perfect for her, but she will be good for Trinity. My daughter ended her high school career in the top 10% of her class at Azle High School and she is going to Trinity University in San Antonio with the intention of being a chemistry major and ultimately going to graduate school for pharmaceutical research.

But she will be encouraged to be engaged in so many things from day one. And she will meet so many people who will influence her in so many positive ways. Heck, she may even change her major. Who knows? The opportunities at Trinity, the potential to study abroad, and all of the new things to which she will be exposed shall be the foundation for how she impacts this world. And she loves basketball so I am pretty sure she will become a Spurs fan. She hasn't experienced the Riverwalk like it needs to be experienced. And during our last visit for admitted Tigers, I finally got to take them to the Tower of the Americas which I think is pretty darned neat.

I think I have bought her at least $250 worth of Trinity shirts and gear...she has been driving around with the Trinity University decal on the back window of her car, and her keys are on a Trinity University key ring, and her name is prominently displayed on what is referred to as "The Student Wall of Fame" which is a huge framed white board by the counseling office which has printed and laminated senior student names under which is listed the college they are planning to attend (or Trade School or Armed Forces branch, etc.). She is excited and proud to be able to call Trinity University the college she will be attending.

Four years from right now, she will have had experiences at Trinity University that many of her current classmates will not have the good fortune of experiencing because they may have not had parents or guidance of people who could tell them about the benefits of a university like this and about the availability of financial aid.

Trinity U student and mom
Hayley and Cat Schlueter
I am a mom that will not "hover" when she gets to San Antonio...I am confident she will find her way. But I will be supportive and sing praises about Trinity with all who I meet. And I will be engaged as much as I can with all of the other responsibilities I juggle.

And I will read every TU blog that pops up in my FB and Instagram feed with genuine interest and pride. Pride that my daughter, Hayley Julia Schlueter, chose Trinity University for the next step of her educational journey.

#TigerPride!

About Cat

Cat Schlueter is a human resources manager and is pretty excited, if you weren’t sure from her blog post, that her daughter will be an incoming first-year in August.
Family of Trinity U student Mason Meredith

by John Meredith—

As the parent of a Trinity University student who just finished his freshman year, the summer provides an opportunity to reflect on his decision to attend Trinity and first year of college. Our son, Mason, attended a Houston high school with more students than Trinity, so my wife, Shirley, and I wondered if he would want to attend a small college. When Mason narrowed his decision to Trinity and the Big 12 colleges that we attended, the main two factors that helped him choose Trinity were Trinity’s stellar academic reputation and the high-quality Trinity baseball program.

Orientation

The first time that we understood why Trinity was the right choice was in August when we pulled up to unload Mason’s bags and boxes at the start of school. There were so many smiling volunteers that we were amazed as everything was moved from the car to his dorm room. The orientation process was designed for students to learn what it means to be a Trinity student and helped us, as parents, begin the process of having our child make more of his own decisions.

Trinity Alumni

Being on campus confirmed what we had heard from Trinity alumni about what a special place Trinity is for students. There are few questions where 100% of the responses are positive, but I have yet to find any Trinity alums who are not pleased with their decisions to attend Trinity. Seeing the campus and the caring environment in person provided us with a glimpse of what students and faculty experience throughout the school year.
Trinity U baseball player Mason Meredith
Baseball has helped Trinity student Mason Meredith adjust to college life.
Lessons Learned

While I wish that I could say the first year was a breeze and that Mason liked every minute of it, there were challenges he had to overcome. First, he learned how to study better and participate in class, as professors would not let him just be a nameless student since there are fewer students in class than typical freshman classes in larger schools. When Mason came home for winter break, we were amazed with how much he had learned in one semester and we even had several thought-provoking discussions about important world issues. Second, Mason learned to make new friends with students from all over the country and world. Mason only knew two or three Trinity students when he arrived, so he had to get outside his comfort zone to develop friendships. Fortunately, being on the baseball team helped as he interacted daily with his teammates. Finally, he expanded his food choices; and it was nice to hear him compliment home-cooked meals after experiencing school food.

Tips for Parents
One tip for parents is to get a subscription to “The Trinitonian.” The student newspaper helps parents keep up with the activities and issues that are being discussed and experienced on campus. Getting the Trinity students’ perspectives on local, national, and international issues helped us understand what Mason was learning and experiencing.

Another tip is to join the Trinity Parent Council. The information received and the connections among other parents and the Trinity staff provide a better understanding of the Trinity “college experience.”

Shirley and I are pleased that Mason is looking forward to being at Trinity for his sophomore year. He is living with fellow sophomores that he did not know a year ago. Even better, he seems to be on the same trajectory that Trinity alumni end up reaching as they enthusiastically and fondly recall their time on campus.




About John

John Meredith is the Chief Operating Officer for Chamberlain Hrdlicka law firm.

Parents at Trinity University

by David Tuttle—

Every summer the Trinity University residential life staff fields questions from parents before their sons or daughters move to campus, receiving many queries about room dimensions and configurations, the length of the clothes bars in the closet, and more. Planning and setting up a room is fun. Helping one’s offspring prepare is an important ritual in sending a child off to college. Nevertheless, there is some other preparation that is even more pressing.

I remember asking one mom why she insisted in setting up her son's room. She told me it was because if she didn't, nothing would happen beyond move-in day. Indeed, it doesn’t take long before most students’ rooms are in disarray. (At check-out in May, parents often ask, “What is all of this stuff?”) Plans for clean rooms and organizational systems are quickly forgotten amid papers, pizza boxes, and piles of laundry.

In the meantime, students will struggle with homesickness, poor time management, freedom and the consequences that come with it, opportunities for alcohol consumption and other substance use, and poor grades. While many of you have addressed things as life lessons for the past 18 years, you may want to reinforce some of these messages or address new ones specific to the college years prior to August.

So send your child to Trinity, not only with stackable bins from the Container Store and little sewing and tool kits (that they will probably never use) but also with anticipation of how they will manage real and important issues and experiences.

The answers to many of these questions are obvious as to what they should or should not do:

Safety

Will they lock their room doors when they aren’t there? Will they sleep with their doors locked? Will they drink and drive? Will they get in a car with a drunk driver? Will they leave parties alone or with friends? Do they know they can call the Trinity University Police Department for on-campus escorts?

Health issues

Can they survive on pizza and soda alone? Will they be able to develop a regular sleep pattern? Will they budget their meal points? Will they take advantage of excellent recreational facilities and the intramural program on campus? Will they take their medications?

Alcohol

Will they drink alcohol? What will they do to take care of themselves or a friend? Will they ride with a designated sober driver or just the person who is least drunk? Do they know the consequences of alcohol violations on campus? Do they know the alcohol policy?

Sex
Do they know that Trinity has a sexual misconduct policy? Do they know how to protect themselves? What do they think about “hooking up”?

Roommate issues

Will they be assertive? Will they be respectful of a roommate’s reasonable habits and requests? How will they ask for that respect in return? Will they stand up to a roommate who brings in a guest and tries to kick them out of the room? Will they ever treat their roommate this way?

Parent-child relationship
How often will you communicate and by what means? How often will you visit one another? For the first visit home: What will the house rules be applied on visits and holiday breaks?

Finances

Which bills will they be responsible for paying? How often will you send money or add funds to their Tiger Bucks account? What is your philosophy on credit cards? Should they look for a part-time job to offset costs?

Trinity University students at the Writing Center
Students can get help with essays at the Writing Center. 
Academics

What are their academic strengths? How will they get to know professors? What questions will they ask the faculty adviser? In terms of study habits, what will they do differently than in high school? What are the important dates on the academic calendar? What kind of support do they like to receive from you?

Campus involvement


What clubs or organizations are they interested in joining? How will they make new friends?

Game systems, video games, instant messaging

Will they take their game systems with them? How much will they play each day in relation to doing homework? Will they use the systems to break the ice and have fun with others? Will they play so much that they don’t get involved on campus? Will they text during class? Will they live on social media and neglect studies?

Responsible citizenship


Will they work to make the campus a better place? Will they take time to understand campus rules? Will they treat campus neighbors respectfully? Will they pre-judge people because they are different? Will they embrace diversity and learn from others? Will they care for the University facilities they are using?

Career exploration

Will they meet with staff from Career Services and their professors to relate their interests to different majors and careers? Will they investigate job shadowing, internships, volunteering, research, or other career-building endeavors, beginning as early as their first year?

That is a lot to cover. Maybe there are some topics that are more pressing than others. Even our New Student Orientation uses a triage approach to the most critical messages being shared first, usually issues related to safety. You have lots to talk about this summer. Help them get ready for college, not just ready for setting up their first room.

About David

David M. Tuttle is an associate vice president and Dean of Students at Trinity University. You can read his blog, The Dean's List, here.