Parent-Student Roles

We understand that being the parent or guardian of a college student is quite different from being the parent or guardian of a high school student. We hope to provide information that will make this transition as easy as possible.

One of your roles now is to provide support for your students as they assume responsibility for their lives. Encourage your students to take the initiative in making decisions instead of relying upon your intervention. When your students speak with you and want you to solve their problems and concerns, let them know you care and help them plan strategies for seeking a solution.

Students should talk directly to their instructors about academic problems in their classes, e.g. extensions for papers, arranging make-up tests if possible, and to reach out to their advisors about other academic issues. They should contact administrators and staff about other concerns, such as roommate problems, rule violations, and personal problems. When students speak directly to the people who can assist them, an efficient solution results and students begin to learn how to solve problems autonomously.

Students and parents should communicate directly and regularly.

Your students will have academic advisors for all of the time they are full-time undergraduates at Tulane University. Once they officially declare majors, by the Spring semesters of their sophomore years, they will also have faculty advisors in their majors.

If you have any serious concerns about your students, please contact the Academic Advising Center who can put you in touch with the appropriate advisors. Please remember that your student must have a FERPA waiver on file for an advisor to be able to talk to you specifically about your student’s academic record.

An Open Letter to Parents of Incoming Freshmen by John Warner is an interesting and well-reasoned article in Inside Higher Ed. Here is a link to the article:!




  • Explain university policies, regulations, programs, and procedures
  • Meet with students at least once each semester during regular office  hours
  • Advise on the Newcomb-Tulane College core curriculum and assist with overall degree planning; once a student declares a major, a faculty advisor will also be assigned
  • Assist with developing an academic plan for an undergraduate degree program
  • Introduce and teach how to read a degree audit
  • Listen to concerns and refer to the appropriate support services if needed
  • Discuss academic performance and implications for desired degree program
  • Help students explore their interests, abilities, and goals as they relate to their major(s)
  • Be knowledgeable about career opportunities and the university’s Career Centers
  • Act as a mentor with a goal of helping students become independent and self-directed


  • Know how to schedule an online advising appointment, and schedule at least one each semester
  • Contact your advisor to make arrangements if you can’t meet during regular hours
  • Cancel appointments that you are unable to attend
  • Draft a tentative schedule prior to registration
  • Come to your meeting prepared to make informed decisions:
    1. Prepare a list of questions or concerns before each meeting 
    2. Be familiar with the requirements of your major(s), and schedule courses each semester in accordance with those requirements. If you have officially declared a major, this will require meeting with your faculty advisor as well
    3. Know the pre-requisites of  courses you are interested in or required to take, and discuss how they will affect the sequencing of your courses with your advisor and your faculty advisor
  • Observe academic deadlines.  Know when to register and when to drop or add classes.  Set up appointments with your advisor and your faculty advisor well in advance of these deadlines 
  • Follow through on referrals and share the outcomes with your advisor
  • Keep your advisor informed about changes in your academic progress, course selection, and academic/career goals
  • Keep a personal record of your progress towards your degree – organize official academic records
  • Inform your advisor or the Dean’s Office immediately whenever a serious problem (medical, financial, personal) disrupts your ability to attend classes or complete course work


  • Be available for support and encouragement
  • Keep in contact with your students
  • Offer advice when appropriate
  • Encourage your students to do things for themselves
  • Allow students to make mistakes in this safe environment
  • Learn when and how to “let go.”

Thanks to Kathryn Jennings, CUA, for allowing us to adapt some of her work.  Other information has been adapted from Menezes, M. D. (2005). Advisors and parents: Together building stronger advising relationships.

102 Richardson Building, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5798