8 Conversations to Have with Your Daughter Before She Leaves for College

This post: 8 Conversations to Have with Your Daughter Before She Leaves for College

Written by: Ali Flynn

Sometimes, it just hits me how fast time is flying by, especially now that my daughter is ready to start a new chapter in her life…

It seems like just yesterday she was wearing her favorite polka dot dress with a sweet bow in her hair as I held her hand and walked her into pre-school. Yet, here we are preparing for her freshmen year of college.

As a mom, I can’t help but wonder (and frankly, worry), have I taught her enough? Have I prepared her well? Every chance I get I find myself slipping in little tidbits, reminders, and life lessons I want her to know before she ventures off to college. Whether we’re hanging out on the couch watching TV, riding in the car together, or I’m sending her texts or GIFS, I’m passing along ALL my wisdom (and love) to equip and empower her the best I can. 

I know I can’t teach her everything. Some things she’ll have to figure out on her own. Yet, I know in my heart, there are conversations I need to have with my girl before she leaves my tender care. Here are 8 conversations to have with your daughter before she leaves for college. (These are great conversations to have with your teen boy, too!) 

8 Conversations to Have with Your Teen Daughter Before She Leaves for College


1. Go Easy on Yourself  – The Transition Can Be Hard

No matter how much you read up on it, talk to seasoned college kids or prepare yourself mentally, you really need to brace yourself – the transition into college can be daunting. From getting acquainted with where everything is on campus and learning to navigate challenging classes and expectations to fending for yourself and settling into dorm life and living with a roommate, college freshmen often underestimate just how hard the adjustment can be. 

But try not to sweat it… just go easy on yourself, laugh off your mistakes (every college freshman has a few big “Ls” here and there), and know that you’ll be a college pro in no time – just hang in there!

2. Please, Play it Safe – Yes, it CAN Happen to You

Whether you’re pulling a late night at the library or you’re checking out a frat party on the other side of campus on a Friday night, don’t walk around campus with a false sense of security. Sure, most colleges go to great lengths to keep their students safe, but you can never be too careful. 

Always use the buddy system at night, if possible, or make use of the college late-night shuttle (if your college has one), call campus security to escort you, or call an Uber to get you safely back to your dorm. 

Also, keep your dorm door and windows locked when you’re sleeping and when you leave your dorm, always keep a careful watch on your drink at parties or a bar, never accept a drink from someone, keep your phone charged (carry a spare charger) so you can call someone in an emergency, always tell someone where you’re going and use a personal safety app like bsafe.

3. Finding the Right Balance is Everything

Finding the right balance between the demands of school, studying, clubs or extracurriculars and squeezing in a social life is the key to success in college – especially considering that you’ll feel pulled in a bunch of different directions. 

My advice is to “work hard, play later.” Don’t forget the reason you’re there. Focus on immediate deadlines, studying and projects first, then take a big sigh of relief and enjoy a night with friends or just chill out. Above all, don’t get too caught up in studying every moment of every day, and don’t get too caught up in socializing or the party scene. You really can enjoy the best of both worlds IF you balance your life.

4. Protect Your Heart, Your Body and Your Self-Respect

Oh, sweet girl, I want you to be happy. I want you to date, I want you to have fun and possibly even find love while you’re in college. But more than anything, I want you to protect your heart, your body, and your self-respect. I want you to stand strong in your morals and convictions and avoid falling prey to peer pressure, persuasion, or “players” who hold little regard for your happiness or well-being. 

You can have fun, enjoy college life, and go to parties, but always keep your guard up. Remember, too, consent is never negotiable. “No” is always no (both on your end and your partner’s end), alcohol and other substances will always muddy the waters of consent and no one ever holds any claim to your body without your expressed permission. 

Read Teens and Sexual Consent: 8 Steadfast Rules They Need to Know

5. Listen and Learn, But Don’t Be Afraid to Be Heard – Your Voice Matters

There’s power in listening to comprehend and understand, but there’s equal power in being heard. This is your time to express yourself, voice your opinion, and stand strong in your convictions – your voice, your thoughts, and your words matter.

Don’t bow down to the insecurities of others. Don’t hold back when something truly needs to be said. And don’t let anyone put a thumb on you. You’ve come such a long way, sweetheart. Make sure you continue to forge forward full steam ahead – you are a gift and a blessing to this world. Never forget that you hold the power to make your mark on this world and make a difference in the lives of others.

6. Changing Your Mind, Direction or Major is OKAY

Just like you changed dramatically in the four years you were in high school, you will change once again when you’re in college. What mattered, your passions, your interests… it might all shift. Don’t be afraid to take a hard look at your major, future and goals, and choose an entirely new direction. Your main goal should be to pursue an interest and major that brings you happiness and (and hopefully future stability) – especially considering that you’ll be investing countless hours studying and learning. Do what’s best for you. This is YOUR life. 

7. You Are in Charge of Your Own Destiny

You’re in the driver’s seat. You have total control over how hard you study or even IF you study. You can choose your direction in life, your friends, how you spend your free time, and what you want the world to know about you. YOU are in charge of your own destiny. As your mom, my hope is that you hear my words over and over again and think about what you envision for your life… it’s my job to support you and watch your precious life unfold in front of me.

8. Make Friends, But Choose Them Wisely

Your college friends can help bring out the best in you, remind you to not take life too seriously, boost you up when you’re down, and make life more fun and lighthearted.

But friends can also encourage you to become their “partner in crime,” lure you into taking risks you otherwise wouldn’t, and set you down a dangerous path that’s hard to come back from. Your friends are everything... please, choose them wisely. 

I know you’d like to believe that you’re not easily influenced and that you’d stand up to peer pressure, but it’s all too easy to get caught up in the moment and before you know it, you’re not the person you once were.

Most importantly, I hope you never forget how proud I am of you. 

You’ve come so far in life and I know this next chapter of your life is going to bring you that much closer to who you’re meant to be. No matter what, always know that I’m right here if you need me, that I have your back and that you’re loved far more than you’ll ever know. 

Ali Flynn is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter, and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents, The Mighty, Her View From Home, and His View From Home, where she shares inspirational stories about motherhood while keeping it real. You can also find her on Facebook or Instagram.


If you enjoyed reading, “8 Conversations to Have with Your Daughter Before She Leaves for College,” you might also enjoy reading:

10 Things a Mama’s Heart Feels at College Drop-Off

To My Precious Daughter Leaving for College: This is a New Chapter for Us Both

Share your thoughts. When it comes to conversations to have with your daughter before college, what wisdom are you passing along to your daughter?

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