Parents are critical partners and participants in college students’ lives. In fact, multiple studies detail the importance of parents in getting students into college, keeping them there and helping them graduate. Today, we’re detailing one of the crucial roles that parents play in college students’ lives: a role as a guide to college.

If your student ever steps foot on a college campus (or recently has–happy move-in!), academic research states that you’re likely to have played an important guiding role in their lives. A 2004 Duke study showed that parents of adolescents were key in shaping students’ ideas about whether to go to college. In addition, parents helped students to consider what type of jobs they would like to pursue and realize the education necessary to pursue those career goals.

While it is robustly documented that parents who have more experience with college settings are better equipped to help their children with the details of attending college, this does not mean that parents of first-generation college students are not critically important. Many studies have shown that parents of first-generation college students shape and develop the collegiate aspirations of their children. For example, this recent piece by Steven Westbrook argues just that.

In any case, first-generation college parent, second-generation college parent, or any other generation: if your student is attending college or is about to attend, you almost certainly played a part in developing the mindset in your child that pushed them to enroll. As your student steps foot on campus, we extend a deserved and hearty congrats to both you and your student.