How Much Communication is Too Much?

Two students in a dorm room doing face masks together

An admissions ambassador within the Office of Admissions, sophomore Grace Coulthurst – a dual major in public relations and advertising – serves as a campus tour guide for incoming freshmen and transfers, as well as their parents. Today she shares insight and advice for parents – from experienced Rowan parents – on communication with your student. 

There has never been a point in time where communication has been so accessible. It is so easy for parents to reach their students today. Phone calls, text messages, FaceTime, and numerous other social media platforms provide different ways to stay in touch. It’s important, though, to let the new student adjust to college and not rely so much on her parents that it distracts from her overall experience. So the question is, how much communication is too much? We talked to four experienced parents of college students to get their thoughts.

Students sit in the Glassworks cafeteria eating lunch. The girls are talking to their friends across from them.

John, from Bloomingdale, NJ (Passaic County) believes, “It’s important to let them become independent. The conversations you have should be meaningful. Make sure they’re okay and give you some kind of update, but that doesn’t mean talk every day. Give them space and let them become independent.”

“Direct voice communication at least once a week is good. Getting a text every two or three days is nice. This includes group chats with the whole family. Every day can be a little crazy and too frequent, especially if it turns into daily phone calls. Texting is less personal so even texting daily could be okay, but it depends on the relationship,” explained Pete, from Haddon Heights, NJ.

Kim, from Somerset, NJ, says that, “talking like once a week or so is good just to make sure everything is okay. Daily conversations can become too much.”

“You have to try and find a balance. It is more important for me to be available as I’m needed and not become a helicopter parent,” expressed Bill, from Succasunna, NJ. “I always am thinking about her and want her to know that, but I want to give her the chance to grow and not put too much pressure on her.”Two male and one female students are standing outside James Hall petting dogs. The male that is in the center of the photo has a husky jumping up onto his chest.

If a student is commuting, that line can become a little more blurred. It is important to remember that even if a student still lives at home, she is starting a new chapter of her life that includes more responsibilities and new freedoms.

As students start going away to school, remember that it is just as scary for them as it is for you. However, these new experiences will to get students ready for the world ahead of them. Communication is important, but being overbearing can hinder growth.

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