New Student and Family Programs

New Eagle Families 101

Tips for Parents

As you might expect, your relationship with your student will change some in the coming months and years. Be ready! Here are a few tips on how to make the transition smoother for your student... and you!

  • Attend Family Day in October. This is a great opportunity to connect with your student and learn about their Winthrop experience
  • Following us on social media
  • Consider sending snail mail instead of calling/texting/e-mailing your student. Students truly enjoy finding something in their mailbox whether it's a letter or your special secret-recipe cookies
  • Talk about money now before it becomes a problem. Help your student to be realistic and have them create a monthly budget instead of a semester budget for the first year to help with financial responsibility. If your student needs a job, there are plenty of opportunities on campus as well as in the surrounding area. But, be sure to discuss time management - school always comes first
  • Know that this is a time for your student to stand on their own feet and learn responsibility. That being said, have patience, and do your best to trust your student to make decisions for themselves
  • Attend one of Winthrop's many sporting events ( with your student and relish in Winthrop pride
  • Treat your student as an adult
  • Be aware that course load and rigor changes from high school to college, and even college to college. Courses may be more demanding at Winthrop and students' grades may vary from what they're used to. Remind your student of the great academic resources that Winthrop has to offer
  • Encourage your student to reach out to campus services and offices if they are struggling. Do your best to put the action in their hands, rather than handling it yourself. It can be easy as parents and family members to simply tell your student how to solve a problem. Instead, try asking them "what do you think you should do?
  • View the academic calendar each year to help you keep up with important dates
  • Don't be upset if you do not hear from your student during the first few weeks of college. There are a lot of activities (Welcome Week!) during the start of the fall semester, in addition to classes, that your student will be required or highly encouraged to attend.
  • Set a weekly time for calling. This way, you both know you will hear from each other regularly. Technology makes it easy for constant communication. However, don't feel like you need to check-in with your student every day - they will be busy! It's also a good idea to establish a plan for communicating about grades ahead of time
  • If you are from out-of-state, consider making sure your health insurance carrier will cover your student at Winthrop.
  • Explore Rock Hill and the surrounding area as a way to get to know your student's new city
  • Have a conversation with your student about FERPA (see information below on FERPA)
  • Always end a conversation with "Go to class!"
  • Above all, listen. You will likely hear them vent, celebrate, laugh, cry. Know that when your student hangs up, they will feel better just from talking with you - even if their problem doesn't have a clear solution yet! It's natural to worry, but allow them to take responsibility, and they will grow and learn because of it.



Many parents and family members want to find out their student's grades, ask about their student's performance, or check on their student's finances. Access to all of these is protected under the federal Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA), which places limits on the right to review educational records.

Once students are enrolled, regardless of age, you will not have access to their educational information unless your student specifically grants it to you. It's worth reading more about FERPA and then discussing the types of protected information and how your student will share information with you.

Find more information at the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA website and at Winthrop's own FERPA webpage.