A Word to Parents of College Bound Freshmen

The Lord gave me a word for all you mommas and daddies moving your children out of your house and into a college dorm or apartment, especially all you first-timers.


And the word is…


Just kidding.

The word God gave me for you all is TRUST. So here’s a little prayer for all you newbies to the college world:

TRUST that you have raised them to the very best of your ability. Do not let the enemy convince you of anything less.
TRUST that they will make good decisions. Some will be good decisions, others – well, not so much.  But that’s part of growing up.
TRUST that God’s love for them is far greater than yours, even though you can’t really fathom that anyone could love them more than you do.
TRUST in God’s protection over them, because you really can’t be (or you shouldn’t be) all up in their business 24/7 anymore.
TRUST in your child’s love for you. No, you may not get an hourly text anymore. You may not even hear from them for a few days. You may not get to see them for several weeks or months. Your child is growing, exploring, making their way. But your child loves you and knows where home is.
TRUST in God’s plan for your child. That goes for their major, ambassador tryouts, sorority, fraternity, SGA elections, and any other organization, office or title they seek. They will not get everything they want – but they will always get God’s best when they seek Him above all else.
TRUST in your own friends. Call them when you are sitting in your child’s room bawling your eyes out for no apparent reason. They love you and will listen to your babbling. (That goes for you daddies, too – don’t act like you haven’t had your own moment.)
And finally, TRUST in God’s plan for this new chapter of your life. For 18 years your world has revolved around that person you just left in a dorm. It leaves you a little empty, feeling a little strange. But God has an awesome plan for your life, too – so go pray about it and find it. Yes, it’s the end of one chapter but it’s the beginning of another. Embrace it – go after it – enjoy it.

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.” (Psalm 25:1,2)

I’m praying for you all as you work through this emotional roller coaster, and I’ll be hopping in the front car myself on Friday. Let us trust God to protect us, be with us, and for the love of all that is good and kind grant us patience (especially on move-in day) beyond what we can imagine!


You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

27 thoughts on “A Word to Parents of College Bound Freshmen

  1. Good morning Leigh, It has been 22 years since I went through this with Jean and college and I know how the tears rush into the eyes when you go pass the freshly made bed and empty bedroom. I am thankful that God protected her during those years. He is faithful and here for you too. 22 years later: I am going through it again times 3. Jean, Lee and my two grandchildren (6 and 8) just moved to Birmingham for Lee’s job. Just got use to having them in my line of sight and pouf here come the tears again when I walk my the kids bedroom (all grandparents have a designated grand kids room) the tears flow. I know it is all in God’s plan and the tears will pass. Thanks for the reminder of Psalm 25:1,2 Keep writing! Love you LIFE Sista P.S. Their new home is 20 minutes from The Church of the Highlands and 5 minutes from the Summit…… Whoop, Whoop!

    Sent from Marie’s iPad


  2. Leigh,

    Ugh. I can relate. I dropped my baby and only daughter off at Auburn on Saturday for Recruitment. I never imagined it would be this hard. That was a lovely blog post. Thanks for all the reminders.

  3. I just went through this today. We just dropped our oldest off at Auburn this afternoon. Thank you for all these reminders. I did ok at his high school graduation ceremony, but this was hard. He’s my first born and my husband and I waited 6 long years before I was able to get pregnant with him. I don’t know where the last 18 (almost 19) years have gone. They have gone by so incredibly fast. I just have to trust God now. I pray we properly equipped him with all the tools he’ll need to have the time of his life and still do his “job” as a student.

    Thanks again for all the reminders.

    • I understand how you feel, Michelle. It’s like a limb is being removed because you are so used to being attached. I struggled with this last year – and I’m sure I will again this year. But I can tell you God has been so faithful – He’s been everything I’ve needed this past year so continue to trust in His goodness and His love – for your whole family!

  4. Sending this to my daughters who sent their first borns off to college this year. I remember to this day leaving my first born at school in B’ham and crying all the way home to Auburn. Went to the Christmas Parade downtown, saw the Auburn HS band approaching and just burst out crying. She played the flute in the band for all four years. Today, she is is thriving, despite MS, has discovered she is an artist, and is a successful woman but most of all, she is a kind woman. Blessings to all of you empty nesters!

  5. Leigh,

    Thanks for your great words. I work at Westmont College as the Senior Director of Alumni and Parent Relations. We send regular newsletters to our parents and would love to include these great words about sending your kids to college ( I am also sending my one and only child off to college!) in our upcoming newsletter. Would this be OK and do you have something you might want me to sign? Just let me know! Thanks so very much. Teri Bradford Rouse

  6. Leigh,
    War Eagle!! I grew up in Alabama and graduated from Auburn quite a few years ago. A friend shared this blog on Facebook this morning and I read it even though my daughter has one more year before leaving for college. I am already sad that this is her senior year and in one year she will be leaving the nest. However, reading this blog just reminded me that I have raised her in the church and she is a good girl, and I can trust Him to guide and protect her!

    Thanks for your words of wisdom,
    Kelli Barrett

  7. I compiled a book of devotions for college students this year. When I looked at the date I realized that 20 years ago this year I was the new student on campus. I remember all the stress of fitting in, the worry about classes, the roommate woes, and the homesick phone calls. But going away to college solidified my faith like nothing else in my life could have, so take heart parents! And if you would like to send your baby off with a thought about the Lord and how He is watching over their new life, you can find a copy of the devotional book here http://www.chaplainpublishing.com/product/rise/

  8. I wish you could say these things to my parents. They need to trust God in my life (which may seem weird coming from me, but I still believe that to be true for them). They are staunch Christians, and I recently told them I was an unbeliever. This has been extremely hard for all of us. My story is on my blog http://www.tealtomato.com

    • I read several of your blog posts this morning and my heart aches for the strain on your relationship with your parents. I didn’t read exactly what turned you against God – maybe that post is in there somewhere – but I’m not here to argue theology. The pain of your unbelief is evident and real.

      The bottom line is you either have a relationship with Jesus or your don’t. And your parents do, so yes, cut them some slack. It is very painful for them to watch their child choose a path that yes, they believe will separate them from you for all of eternity. Whether you believe what they do or not does not diminish their pain, their belief in God, Jesus, and how you all will spend eternity.

      My prayer for you all is a restoration of your relationships, and for you to one day come to know THE Jesus as YOUR Jesus. There is a difference – I’m here to tell you it honestly wasn’t until the last few years that I really came to know Him in a personal way, not just believe He was real.

      God is real. God is who He says He is. I will be praying for your family to come to know Him in a way you never thought possible.

      Blessings to you & your family-

  9. Pingback: A Word to Parents of College Bound Freshmen | Desden

  10. Reblogged this on Desden and commented:
    We just dropped our first born off at Auburn..it was a long drive home to Texas! Reading this post was a great comfort and reminder to TRUST that the Lord has got em! I may have to re read every day..

  11. Hi Leigh,

    My family and I moved to New England from Georgia in 2010 for my husband’s job. At the time, our daughter was in the middle of her Freshman year in high school. She thrived here, and quickly had a huge group of friends, was active in her church youth group and the girl’s golf team. It remained her dream, however to return to the South for college as that was where she felt at home. My husband and I felt so good the day we moved her in to her dorm at Auburn. She was happy, excited for rush and all that AU has to offer….until she was released from recruitment, that is… Needless to say she is devastated and heartbroken and so am I. She’s a fabulous girl with so much to offer!! We just ca’t figure it ou!! She came from a family full of Greek affiliations, but went in with an open mind and was open to all. As you pray for those who received bids, and their families….I ask You to also pray for those that did not…Of course, there could be worse things to happen, but our only child is now 1226.3 miles away from home, scared and lonely, and wondering why she wasn’t picked….. So unlike her!! We are a strong family of faith and are relying on that faith to carry us at this time! (BTW, I think …hope….she will be at the Church of the Highlands today!!)

    All the best!

    • Kathy,
      Recruitment is a blessing for some and brutal for others. Sometimes when a girl comes through without a “hometown push” she can get dropped, no matter how involved she was in high school, how outgoing she is, etc. A friend’s niece (and I know of a few others) had this happen to her, and my advice is for your daughter to find other organizations to be involved in – she should not let this stop her from enjoying her freshman year. And next year, should she decide to try it again she’ll have friends in all sororities and activities under her belt. In the meantime, keep reminding her that her identity is in Christ, not any combination of Greek letters on her t-shirt. Praying for her – for a comfort that transcends all understanding, especially at her young age.


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  13. This is fabulous! Thank you so much! Made me cry, again! Just dropped off my oldest (my only daughter) Saturday. She is SO happy!

  14. Such a great reminder and not just for the drop off parents. Sent my college grad, “baby”, to Alaska last year and God has been so faithful to watch over him. First thing he did was get involved in a good church and help start a small group for others his age. God is truly faithful, and it is great to see Him work in their lives when we just let go a little.

  15. In a few weeks our family will leave the country to return to the mission field leaving our first born at college here. I’ve reminded myself of the truths that you mentioned nearly everyday but some days are harder than others. The Lord graciously gave us an additional year with him before he went to college and we got to be in the country with him to transition him to college life, but leaving him here and flying away will be even harder than leaving my close-knit family 17 years ago. Hard is just hard and there’s no other way around it but going through it.

  16. What a beautiful message. Nervous about sending our first born your way to begin her journey at Auburn next month. I have been so nervous about her being 4 and 1/2 hours from home. This was just the reminder that I needed that we have done a great job with this gift that God has given us. Now time for her to go out and show everyone that she is a precious daughter of God.

  17. My son has been at school for 3+ weeks now and every time I think I’m fine, i read an article like this and begin to bawl! Thank you for reminding me that the last 18 years were a “Job” and we did awesome at that job. He has his head on straight & is as happy as can be. He’s not gone, just away :}.

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