Active Advocacy

Mentoring, support and encouragement are great strategies you can employ as a parent to help your student handle the normal developmental challenges of college. However some situations may benefit from more active advocacy by parents, particularly with first-year students. 


If your student has a physical, learning, or psychological disability, you may wish to assist them in contacting Disability Services and working through the process of documenting and registering their disability and exploring academic or other accommodations.

Contrary to the process during elementary, middle, or high school, college students are expected to self-advocate and initiate the process themselves. You may wish to contact Disability Services to learn more about the process and the steps that are necessary for your student to receive reasonable accommodations and disability-related services in the college setting.

Chronic Health Conditions

If your student has a chronic health condition that will require ongoing or periodic medical management while they are on campus, you and your student may wish to contact the Health Service.

If your student needs medical services that are not available on campus, the Health Service or the Health Resources Advocate in the Dean of Students Office at (563) 387-1020 can help you and your student find appropriate resources in the Decorah community. 

Emotional/Psychological Issues

If your student seems to be discouraged, down, anxious or otherwise struggling emotionally in an ongoing way, they may benefit from your serving as a bridge to counseling. Please see the For Parents main page for information about how to help your student get counseling assistance.

Major Family Situations

Most college students are strongly affected by difficult family situations such as:

  • Serious health issues in the immediate family
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Deaths
  • Parental job loss or financial struggles
  • Natural disaster
  • Serious mental health or substance abuse problems in the family

If such a situation occurs in your family, it may be valuable to alert the Student Life Office. This office can assist with academic adjustments and other support for your student.