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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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The start of college is filled with mixed emotions.  Students are both excited and anxious about the prospect of the first year and its many challenges.  So as a parent,  what's the best way to handle homesickness?

Here are some ideas:

Allow your student to be/feel homesick

  • Recognize that being homesick is a natural and normal process that occurs during the transition to college.  Students are often embarassed by the emotions of homesickness, viewing it as a sign of immaturity.  Major life changes can be traumatic, so remind your student that they will get through this major life change.

 Remind them to keep busy

  • If students have activities and events to keep them busy, they have less time to miss home.  Finding things to do at Minnesota State Mankato will not be difficult.  Some opportunities include Wow events each Wednesday night in the residence communities, Mavericks After Dark sponsors an activity one Saturday night each month, weekly Athletics events, intramural activities, and over 250 student organizations to join.  Check out /studentlife/ for a sampling of activities.

Encourage them to make friends

  • It may take a while for your student to meet people they truly bond with, but in the meantime, they should make an effort to meet as many people as they can.

Encourage good roommate communication

  • Roommates do not need to be best friends, but they do need to communicate about what they need from each other.  Ask your student about their roommate relationship and remind them that they will need to work at being a good roommate.

Stay in touch with your student

  • Family members are still (and will always be) a major part of the student's life.  Call and email your student and let them talk about how they are feeling.  Send care packages.  A visit home can help with homesickness, but don't encourage your student to come home too often (no matter how much you miss them).  Frequent visits home will only delay your students integration into their new life on campus.

Make sure your student knows their community advisor

  • Each floor in the residence communities has a student staff member who can help students get adjusted to college.  If your student feels overwhelmed they should stop by for a chat.

If needed, try having your student talk with a counselor

  • If homesickness is making it difficult for your student to function in college, take advantage of the Counseling Center.  Homesickness is a very common problem, and professionals at the Counseling Center know how to help.


  • Pictures, mementos and other reminders of home are great ways to decorate the residence hall room and add a touch of home.

Try to encourage your student to avoid rash decisions

  • When people are distressed or overwhelmed, they sometimes make big decisions that are unwise.  This is not the time to drop out, transfer to a different school, end a long term relationship, or anything else with a major consequence.  Encourage your student to wait until the homesickness period passes before they make major and life changing decisions.

Give it time

  • It may take a semester or even more for a student to stop feeling homesick.  It takes time to adjust to major life changes like this one.  Support your student and encourage them to hang in there!