In our last post, we discussed the culture shock that often occurs when students head to college. Some students, and their parents, may not be prepared for the roller coaster ride as students become acclimated to their new environment. Knowing that the ups and downs that students experience are normal will help everyone.
Once your student has made the transition to school and begun to feel comfortable in his new “culture” of college, both you and he may feel that the transition is complete. However, an important stage remains – returning home again. Whether the return is relatively brief – for winter break or summer vacation perhaps – or whether it is a more permanent move back home, you and your student should be prepared for potential re-entry awkwardness and difficulties. Once again, however, the process is normal. Understanding it may help.
The reverse culture shock of returning home may take your student by surprise because it is unexpected and because he doesn’t realize how much both he, and you, have changed during the transition time. This second transition process may be especially difficult because it is unexpected.
November 13, 2014 No Comments
Adjusting to college life is often harder than most first year students and their parents anticipate. Students know that life at college is going to be different, and they are excited, and perhaps a bit anxious, about starting their adventure. But it’s difficult to anticipate how different life may be when you don’t exactly know what to expect. College is, for many students, a foreign culture.
Most students don’t equate entering college to entering a different culture. When we talk about culture, we often refer to those things that we do and accept without really thinking about them: our way of life. We have expectations, values, ways of talking, eating, behaving, relating to each other, and even thinking – but we don’t give these things any conscious thought most of the time. When your student heads to college, she may need to think consciously about how she manages much of her daily life. She needs to adjust – and that adjustment will come gradually.
Making the cultural adjustment
Most students make the adjustment to college life eventually. However, each student may adjust according to a different timetable. Some students may find that the adjustment comes fairly easily – they hardly realize that it is happening. Other students find the process difficult, slow, and even painful at times. However, the stages of cultural adjustment are similar for most everyone. If you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time in a foreign country, you may have experienced these phases yourself.
November 10, 2014 No Comments
Your student has been away at school for several weeks or months and it’s finally time for him to return home for a holiday break. You’re excited to see him and can’t wait to catch up on his life at college. You’ve planned his favorite meals and anticipate finally spending some quality time with him. You’ve survived the empty nest, but you’re looking forward to filling it up again – at least for a little while.
What you may not realize, however, is how much you’ve adjusted to that empty nest. It seemed so quiet and empty in those first days after you dropped your student off at school. But now you’ve had time to get used to the quiet – and you may not even realize it. You’ve adjusted to fewer dirty dishes, less laundry, and turning out the lights when you go to bed because no one else is coming home later.
November 6, 2014 No Comments
Chances are good that your college student may not have done the one thing that could make a difference in her health this winter – get a flu shot. Because college students live so closely together in residence halls, once the flu begins, it can spread quickly throughout a campus. Yet according to a study done by Janet Yang at the University of Buffalo, (as reported by Huffington Post) only about 8 percent of college students received a flu shot in a recent year.
Why do college students skip this seemingly simply solution?
One reason students may not be getting vaccinated is because they know that they are not in the groups that are at highest risk of death or other serious consequences from flu. Students may also not be thinking about the seriousness of flu because it is an annual disease and we hear about it every year. Students have stopped paying attention – or never really paid attention to messages in the first place.
November 3, 2014 No Comments
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.
October 30, 2014 No Comments
Parents are increasingly involved in the lives of college students. Colleges have noted the trend for several years. As college parents, we’ve earned several less-than-flattering nicknames – everything from helicopter parents (hovering) to snowplow parents (pushing obstacles out of the way) and lawnmower parents (running over anything blocking our student’s path).
But exactly how involved are parents in their college students’ lives? Is the perception accurate? And, although we know that students need to control their own lives, might there be benefits of parental involvement?
Campus ESP (Campus Experience for Students and Parents), a Philadelphia based technology company recently surveyed 1700 parents about their involvement with their students at the college level. The stated mission of Campus ESP is “to improve student success by strengthening relationships between schools, students, and those who influence them.” Parents are clearly some of the most influential people in their students’ lives (even if it may not always seem that way to parents).
October 27, 2014 No Comments
This is the second of two posts about the readmission process after academic dismissal. Be sure to read the first post for some suggestions about working with the college during your student’s time away.
Most students who are academically dismissed from college are asked to spend a certain period of time out of the school. That may be a semester, a year, or even longer. If your student has been working closely with the college after his dismissal, he will be clear about the length of time away, and he will have some information about how best to spend that time. The college recognizes that something went wrong for the student when he was enrolled and hopes that some time away will allow the student to address whatever issues interfered with his success.
The decision to return
Once your student feels ready to return to school, the first decision he will need to make is whether he will apply for readmission to his original school or consider transferring to another college or university. This is a very personal decision and should be made in conjunction with his family, and after gathering all of the necessary information from both his original school and any schools to which he is considering applying.
October 23, 2014 No Comments
If your student has been dismissed from college for poor academic performance (sometimes called Satisfactory Academic Progress), it can be a devastating blow. Both you and your student will need to come to terms with the reality, evaluate what happened, and decide how to move forward. We have several earlier posts that may help you with these stages of the process.
However, once you and your student have evaluated the situation, and perhaps taken some time away from school, your student may be ready to get back on track – either at her former school or at a new school. She may have questions, but she may not be sure where to begin.
Let your student take ownership
It is important that your student, not you, do the work to prepare to return to school, but you may need to give her some guidance about necessary steps. All calls to the school, all e-mails to school offices, all visits to college offices, all application or appeal materials should be completed by your student and not you. The college is looking for responsibility on your student’s part. She should advocate for herself and make her own case. If you step in, you may actually hurt your student’s chances of being readmitted. [Read more →]
October 20, 2014 No Comments
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 in our Reading List 1, Reading List 2, Reading List 3, and Reading List 4.
The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents, and the Private Toll of Global Competition by Katherine S. Newman is an important look at the trend toward a rising number of multigenerational families. Newman’s findings are based on extensive interviews with 300 people in six countries. Half of those interviewed were parents and half were adult children. Many of the interviewees were from the same families.
October 16, 2014 No Comments
This is Part 2 our list of student skills that may be helpful for parents, too. Be sure to read our post about the first ten helpful skills.
We’ve written many posts about important skills for college students. We’ve suggested that, as college parents, we talk about these skills with our students because we know that mastering these skills, or at least working on them, will help our students do well.
However, several of the skills that we’ve suggested for students might also be helpful for parents – or for any of us – to develop. Turning the tables and adopting the skills you discuss with your student might be an interesting experiment.
Might you learn along with your student? Could you adapt some of these skills for your own benefit?
October 13, 2014 No Comments