Parents, Guardians & Support People

Did you know that Iowa Lakes is ranked in the top 20 Community Colleges in the US?*

Whether your student’s goal is to enroll in a high-demand career-ready program, earn an AA or AS degree, or transfer credits to a 4-year college or university, Iowa Lakes equips your student with diverse learning opportunities and hands-on, real-world experiences.

There’s no better time than now for your student to take advantage of the superior resources available, right here at Iowa Lakes.

Check out the links below for our most requested resources.

*Iowa Lakes Community College is ranked #18 for the 2019 top community colleges in the country! More information at opens in a new

Helping your Student transition to college

Moving Away From Home

Helping your child prepare to live on their own for the first time can be particularly challenging for parents, guardians, or support people. While you may have discussed finances and study habits, for many students, college represents the first time they will pay their rent and utility bills and buy their groceries and household supplies. They’ll discover that all of the amenities they take for granted at home cost money and that they’ll need to stick to a budget while living independently. 

Moving away from home tips for parents:

  • Be proud of your students.
  • Enjoy the summer because your students will soon be off on their own.
  • Teach them how to balance a checkbook and how to budget their money each month.
  • Discuss the financial basics, such as who is responsible for paying what and how financial exchanges will be made.
  • Teach them how to do laundry.
  • Remind them that you want to learn about their experiences at Iowa Lakes and communicate with them.
  • Please encourage them to explore interests and passions and to talk with advisors, career counselors, and others along the way.
  • Communicate about how often you expect to hear from your student. Be reasonable, because your student will get busy! Once a week is usually an excellent base to consider.
  • Know that saying goodbye can be difficult, and others are sharing your experience. It helps to talk about it.
  • Do not immediately change their home space. Their bedrooms mean a lot to them.
  • Do not be surprised if brothers and sisters who used to fight miss one another a lot.
  • Take time for yourself. You have done a great job and should reward yourself.
  • Trust them. Your student has learned a great deal from you.
  • Be prepared for the changes that come with growth. You will be growing and changing, too.
  • Come to campus to visit them from time to time. Phone first. Let your student show you their new world.
Supporting Your College Student

Be Supportive

Being supportive may seem obvious, but it is an important part of helping your child through the college experience. Your support – academically, morally, and financially – will go a long way towards preparing them for the real world while still letting them know you are there to help. College is the time of life where students start to take care of themselves, but they may still feel overwhelmed at times. Your support can help them endure rough patches and prepare them for future obstacles.

Visiting Your Child

Many parents are anxious to plan their first visit before their child has even left the nest. Whether your child lives on or off-campus, the impulse to frequently check on them is overwhelming for some parents. Particularly if your child is still living close by, it may seem reasonable to drop-in whenever you see fit or visit your child, unannounced, in the hopes of catching a glimpse of their new life. Only you know your child, but in general, you should plan your visits to respect your child's privacy, the privacy of their peers and roommates, and their surroundings.

Be an Educated Parent

At many schools, drinking and partying is part of the fabric of the fundamental college experience. In fact, four out of five college students drink alcohol, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Even students who do not drink themselves can be affected by the negative consequences of binge-drinking, through car accidents, sexual assault, and other unintentional injuries. Your child may have to face questionable decisions in precarious situations. Being an educated parent means understanding the potential hazards of the college environment and communicating with your child about these risks and the value of healthy choices.

Another potential hazard to college students is mental illness. Due to the stress of the new academic and social setting, many students show symptoms of mental illness that may be overlooked or misunderstood due to the circumstances. According to the American Psychological Association, 41.6% of students suffer from anxiety, and over 35% have some form of depression. These conditions should be taken seriously, as they can be life-threatening if not treated and may require behavioral modification therapy or medication. If you believe your child demonstrates symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, or serious mental illness, let them know you support them and encourage them to seek help immediately.

What to Expect

Sending your student off to college for the first time can be a very overwhelming experience. You and your student are likely to feel anxiety, fear, excitement, confusion, relief, loneliness, and pride. Knowing what to expect when your student comes to Iowa Lakes Community College, we hope you will be prepared for the new and exciting challenges that will come your way. 

What can you expect from your student and college life? 

Although you've lived with your student for quite some time now, college is likely to offer new (and maybe unexpected) opportunities and challenges not only for your student but also for your relationship. College demands can be rigorous and impact many dimensions of your student's life. This section is devoted to offering information about what your student may be experiencing, helping you understand your relationship's changing nature with your student, and providing some suggestions in coping. 

In college, your student may experience: 

  • encouragement toward independence and an increase in freedom at school 
  • the full responsibility of their education 
  • new demands on his/her time (both study time and personal time) 
  • differences in course scheduling (they may not be in class all day or every day) 
  • the desire to try something new or radically different from previous interests 
  • significant differences in relationships with instructors 
  • the necessity to actively manage (and increase) study time to achieve the same grade 
  • new anxieties about their abilities or future plans 
  • less interaction with you and the school or instructors 
  • changes in the classroom, testing, and grading procedures 
  • changes in instructor expectations 

How will you be Impacted as a Parent? 

These experiences are a normal and expected part of your student's development. Because of these new experiences, the nature of your relationship with your student is likely to change. While each relationship is different, you might be aware of some of these changes: 

  • As the college encourages independence and views your student as an adult, Iowa Lakes Community College will deal directly with your student. You can expect to be less directly involved with the school. 
  • As your student begins to become more independent, you might expect a strong negative reaction to your suggestions. 
  • As your student faces new challenges or defeats, you might also expect a need for more verbal reassurance. 
  • In adjusting to college demands, you might expect differences in your student's involvement at home and with family. 
  • As your student finds his/her way, you may also experience an unusual mixture of emotions: fear, pride, frustration, abandonment, joy, etc. 

What can you do? 

Know that despite all the changes your relationship may experience, your student continues to need your love, respect, and support. The challenge will be in discovering new avenues and expressions for this love and respect: 

  • It is important to remember that it may take your student some time to adjust to the rigors of these new academic demands. Be patient with them and assist in problem-solving when they are ready. 
  • Please encourage your student to discuss the decisions confronting them and the implications of each decision. 
  • Allow your student to make their own decisions and let him/her know that you will be supportive even if the results are not ideal. 
  • Try to take a "wait and see" attitude toward a new venture. 
  • Because of the significant demands of college work, support and encourage good study habits without being too directive. 
  • Help your student view this time of life as a discovery phase, which is normal and exciting. 
  • Give freedom to learn how to cope with the new environment. 
  • In the face of frustrations and failures, give encouragement and support to keep trying to do well. 
  • Encourage your student to be involved in a few meaningful leadership roles on campus. 
  • Encourage your student to network with a variety of people at the college.


Iowa Lakes Admissions
Admissions Office
Phone: 800-346-6018
Email: info@iowalakes.educreate new email

Request Information


Lebron's Family

Father of Iowa Lakes Graduate

Ivan Lebron

In early 2010, Coach Acosta recruited our son to play baseball at Iowa Lakes Community College. Acosta truly made us feel at home and provided an in-depth tour of the Estherville Campus. We were able to see the baseball training sessions and experience what Iowa Lakes had to offer. Our son was offered an athletic scholarship, and we knew Iowa Lakes was the best option. Leaving our only son in such a distant town was very difficult for us, but knowing he would be surrounded by people as special as the Acosta family gave us peace of mind.

We saw our son grow, mature, and become independent while obtaining an associate degree at Iowa Lakes. After leaving Iowa Lakes, he continued his studies and completed his Doctorate in Chiropractic. As parents, we will be eternally grateful to the Iowa Lakes Community College staff for all they did for our son Ivan.