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One thing all students can use as they prepare for finals is their loved ones’ support.

What to Say to Your Student About Finals

Lucy Arendt (Business Administration) gives some advice from her perspective as a professor and parent. 

As the end of the semester looms, you might be wondering what advice you can offer to your adult children. As a professor of business administration with three adult sons, I’ve seen this issue from three perspectives: as an undergraduate student myself, as a mom and as a professor. Here are my thoughts.

First, it’s helpful to recall that your adult children are adults. To that end, limit your conversation about finals to “once and done.” Decide what you’re going to say, say it and then resist the urge to say it again. Young adults do not care to be babied. I know because that’s what your children and mine have told me, in no uncertain terms. Nagging – and that’s how they construe repeat conversations – can make them feel as though you don’t view them as responsible adults.

Second, ask your children how they learn best. Do they have a favorite place to study? Do they prefer to study alone or with others? Do they rewrite their notes, take notes on their reading and reread their notes at least weekly? Have they reached out to their professors with any questions or concerns? Have they taken advantage of tutoring, teaching assistants and the Writing Center? Have they attended, or are they planning to attend, any study sessions? Helpful resources exist; they need to seek them out.

Third, when you do talk to them, say things that will lift them up. Remind your children how well they’ve done when faced with challenges in the past. Note that everyone feels stressed at the end of the semester – even their professors! – and that they have successfully made it through many exams, assignments and other life challenges. Give real examples of when they’ve overcome obstacles. Success starts with wanting to succeed, and happens when we exert the effort to achieve our goals. They can do this!

Fourth, remind your children that while it’s important to study hard, it’s equally important to maintain their health. They need to get good sleep, eat healthy and stay active. People are who sick are more easily stressed, and too much stress diminishes performance.

Finally, remind them that your love for them is unconditional, and that being a part of your family means they will be loved forever, no matter what. They’ll appreciate the reminder.


Nov. 12, 2018