College is a major adjustment not only in lifestyle, but in the level of difficulty of college work. Many college students do not perform as well academically during their first year as they did in high school.
However, most students adjust and ultimately do well, so try not to worry about grades. Express your belief that your son or daughter will succeed. Students especially need your confidence during their freshman year, strongly encourage them to take advantage of the help that is available from the University.
If you've already told your friends and family what your student will be majoring in, prepare for that to change not once, but several times. Exploring different areas of knowledge and possible careers is central to becoming an educated person and making the right decision. Again, your support for several different majors during the first two years will be much appreciated by your student. Trust them to find what they truly love to study, and they will excel.
College students need to build the foundation, qualities, and skills that are absolutely necessary no matter what careers they finally pursue. They need to focus on being good writers, expressing their ideas in a group, learning the self-discipline to do an excellent job, reconciling different opinions, reasoning through complicated situations and problems, and developing the personal qualities, ethics, and standards to be leading professionals.
Pacific University graduates (whose parents were probably just as worried as you are that their students would never get jobs) are working and contributing in every imaginable career.
And finally, it will not be unusual if your child goes through periods of wondering if college is right for him or her. This is to be expected, and should not be cause for alarm.
At a recent meeting with a group of outstanding seniors, each one confessed to having had serious thoughts of leaving school at one time or another. They also cited understanding parents and faculty who believed in them as the reason why they did not give up. However, sometimes it's best for a student to take a semester or more away from school. We have a leave-of-absence policy to accommodate these needs, and a generous re-entry program on a student's return.