Information for the parents of college students

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How Your Student Can Get College Credit Without Taking a Course

Your college student may already have a strong base of knowledge before he even sets foot on his college campus.  It is possible that he can get college credit for his knowledge by taking a CLEP exam.  The College Level Examination Program, administered by the College Board (the SAT organization) offers students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of college level material and to earn college credit for information learned through independent study, on-the-job training or internships.

CLEP exams cover such areas as American Government, US History, Psychology, Sociology, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Literature, Composition, Biology, Business, Math, or World Languages.  There are 33 exams which cover material taught in courses a student would be likely to take in the first two years of college.  Each test covers one course and is worth anywhere from 3 to 12 credits.  Exams are 90 minutes long, are taken on a computer in a lab, cost $80 plus a small administration fee, and students receive their results immediately.

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April 7, 2014   No Comments

Does Your College Student Need Textbooks?

The question of whether or not your student needs textbooks in college is not as simple as it seems.  The simple answer is “Yes, of course.”  The more complex answer may be, “It depends.”

The cost of college textbooks is high. No one would argue that. The cost of producing most textbooks is high, most textbooks are required so students do not have choices, and the costs are passed along to the students.  One study conducted by the College Board has estimated that most students should expect to pay approximately $1200 annually on textbooks.  Many students, and their parents, have not calculated the cost of textbooks into their college costs.  So students are taken by surprise, and may feel that this is an additional, and therefore optional cost.

Because of the high cost of textbooks, many students are opting out of buying books.  The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) found that approximately 30% of seniors and 25% of First Year students said that they did not purchase books. The Student Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), in a non-scientific survey of 1,905 students at 13 colleges found that 70% of students said they opted out of books for at least one course.  However, 78% of those students believed that they would not do as well in that course without the book.

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April 3, 2014   1 Comment

Happy Anniversary! College Parent Central Turns Five!

We’re wishing ourselves a happy anniversary here at College Parent Central.  We’ve reached a five year milestone!  Somehow it seemed appropriate to begin this venture on April Fool’s Day – April 1, 2009 – as we launched ourselves into the unknown.  We believed then that college parents need support and are an important factor in student success.  Five years later we are even more convinced of the importance of parent education and support.

We’ve spent five years sharing nearly 500 posts, writing about college parenting, talking to college parents, working with college students, and working and speaking with professional colleagues.  During this time, we are proud to have contributed to the important dialogue that helps parents better understand and work with their students.

Throughout the past five years we have learned even more than we have shared.  We are grateful to those people who have shared their stories and wisdom and helped us as we continue to reach out to parents who may find our information helpful.

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March 31, 2014   4 Comments

College Parent News and Views

The more that college parents know and understand about the college experience, the less we worry and the better we will be able to help our students to succeed and thrive throughout their college career.  However, there is an overwhelming amount of information out there on the web.   We’d like to help you find some of the information that might be most interesting and useful to you as a college parent.

In News and Views we share recent college related news and sources we’ve found as we do our research.  We hope that this feature will help to introduce you to new ideas and to help you keep up with some of the current issues that may affect your college student – and you.

We invite you to read some of the articles suggested below – and to let us know what you think of some of the ideas included here.

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March 27, 2014   No Comments

The Final Decision: Why Your High School Senior May Be Stuck

It’s all good.  Your high school student applied to multiple colleges – and he’s been accepted to all of them.  You’ve made it through the harrowing admissions process.

But wait, the process isn’t quite over yet.  You and your student have survived the agonizing wait, but now the ball is back in your student’s court.  He needs to make a decision – in just a few short weeks he will need to decide which college to attend.  This sounds like an ideal dilemma, but put the emphasis on dilemma.

For some soon-to-be college students the decision is easy.  They have had a clear favorite from the beginning and there is no hesitation.  For many more students, however, the decision may not be as clear.  There are many factors to weigh, options to consider.  For many high school students, this is not only a big decision; this may be the first major life decision that they have had to make.  To many students, this decision may be overwhelming and paralyzing.

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March 24, 2014   No Comments

Book Review: Generation on a Tightrope

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone.  See our lists of books here, here, and here.

Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student by Arthur Levine and Diane R. Dean is not written specifically for college parents, however, if you want to read a book that will force you to look at your college-aged student differently; this is one of those books.  The book is based on research conducted with 5,000 college students as well as student affairs staff members from 270 college campuses.  It explores the similarities and differences between today’s generation and previous generations.  The book begins by offering the opportunity for current parents to hold the mirror up to examine their own generation.

Generation on a Tightrope provides an eye-opening portrait not only of this generation of college students, but also of college parents.  Chapters cover a view of the world in which current college students grew up, the academic attitudes of students, social life, parental involvement in these students’ lives, changing multicultural climate, politics, and the future.

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March 20, 2014   No Comments

Why Your High School Senior Is So Stressed Right Now

There may be times for many of us throughout this college admissions process when we don’t think we’ll all survive.  Parents are anxious, students are stressed and sometimes downright sullen, and admissions personnel are overwhelmed.  It seems as though the stress has increased in recent years – especially for high school students.  We’ve created an achievement culture where students begin earlier and earlier to plan for, and work toward, college admission.  Is it any wonder that everyone is feeling out of control by the second half of senior year?

For high school students especially, the tension and stress at this time of year may often feel overwhelming.  But, although the stress of waiting to hear about getting in to college is very real, it is not the only factor creating the anxiety at this time of year.  Here are six factors that may be affecting your student’s feelings.

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March 17, 2014   No Comments

Is Your College Student Interested in Going Green?

Sustainability is in.  With the increasing interest in and emphasis on sustainability, many students are making the move to “Go Green.”  Many students are considering the Green approach of a college in making their choice of which school to attend.

Environmental responsibility is a growing interest on many college campuses, and the movement is often led through the support and interest of the students.  Students often participate in efforts and programs on their campuses as well as community outreach programs. Colleges with strong sustainability efforts stand to make financial gains as well, but that goal may be secondary in many cases to social responsibility and student education.

If your student is in the process of choosing a college, suggest that he explore various schools’ approach to sustainability and decide whether it is a good match for him.  If he is already in school, ask him what his school is doing and what he is doing personally.

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March 13, 2014   2 Comments

One Way Colleges Are Addressing Student Drinking

The statistics on student drinking are alarming.  According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 4 in 10 college students engage in high risk drinking and 4 of 5 who drink may engage in binge drinking.  Approximately 1800 students per year die in alcohol related incidents.  The links between alcohol abuse and poor academic performance, personal injuries and sexual assault are becoming increasingly apparent.

Alcohol abuse by students is not a new problem.  Parents and students need to continue to have conversations about the seriousness of drinking, and colleges need to continue to address the problem on campus.

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March 10, 2014   No Comments

Living on Campus? Why Your College Student Needs the Meningitis Vaccine

If you have a student headed to college, you’ll need immunization records.  And if your student will be living on campus, he’ll likely be required to have the meningitis vaccination – and for good reason.

College freshmen are the most likely segment of the US population to contract bacterial meningitis.  Because so many students in this group live together so closely in college residence halls, they are six times more likely to contract the disease than other segments of the population.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 2,600 people in the United States contract meningitis each year and as many as 10-14% of those (1 in 7) will die.  Many who survive may have lasting disabilities.

The good news is that according to the American College Health Association, 80% of those cases could be prevented.

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March 3, 2014   No Comments