It’s that time of year again. Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. We’re thinking about family and friends and we’re thinking about gifts. If you have a college student, or an about-to-be college student, you may be searching for some ideas for useful or fun gifts.
Sometimes, finding just the right gift for your college student may be difficult. You haven’t seen him in a while and you are less involved in his day-to-day life. What does he need? What can he use?
You know your student best, and can tap into his interests and needs, but we’d like to offer some suggestions that may stimulate your imagination. We’re including some new ideas here, as well as some classic favorites from our lists from previous years. Check out these ideas, and then let your own creativity take over!
November 23, 2015 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, Reading List 4 and Reading List 5.
Parents should read Kat Clowes’ book Put College to Work, but more importantly, they should give a copy to their college students. Subtitled, How to Use College to the Fullest to Discover Your Strengths and Find a Job You Love Before You Graduate, this book offers practical advice to students in a tone and manner they will read. The book is clearly written for students, and the author’s chatty, readable style will appeal to these readers.
Clowes begins her book with the timeline of her own life. She explains clearly to students that she made mistakes, or missed opportunities, and she’s here to help them avoid those same mistakes. The realism of her story is compelling. She’s obviously found success – and fulfillment – but it took her a long time to get there.
Put College to Work is divided into four sections, which build upon each other. The book begins by helping students learn about themselves – Put Yourself to Work. Students learn the importance of knowing who they are before they can begin to forge their path. Section two, titled Succeed in School, helps students make the most of their time and experiences in college. Section three, Succeed After College, gets to the nitty gritty of using the resources of college, such as the career center, internships, conferences, and alumni networks, to move into the world of work. The final section, Having a Particular Set of Skills, helps students think specifically about how to make the most of job fairs, networking, resumes and cover letters, interviews and social media profiles.
November 19, 2015 No Comments
Well, at least not right away.
You’ve anxiously awaited Thanksgiving Break to have your student home from college. You expect that this first real break home will require some adjustments on everyone’s part, but you can’t wait for the chance to talk to your student.
How, then, could we possibly suggest that you not talk to your student?
What we’d like to suggest is that you take more time this break to listen to your student instead of talking. Try to sit back a little and see what unfolds. Read your student’s mood. (He’s going to be exhausted, so he may just want to sleep at first.) You might throw in a few questions, but not many. And keep any questions open-ended and light. Don’t ask about every detail of life at college. (This is going to be hard.) Don’t press for information about grades and classes. (This may be even harder.)
November 16, 2015 No Comments
Students head to college, not their parents; and students are, obviously, the main focus of the colleges they attend. But even when your student goes to college, you are still part of the total picture of your student’s experiences, and colleges are recognizing your importance more and more. In spite of all of the negative press about “helicopter parents” or “snowplow parents,” your appropriate involvement is important.
As an indication of the importance of parents to the college experience, many schools now have a staff member, or perhaps an entire office, dedicated to working with parents. Recently, college personnel who work with parents and families at their institutions met in Savannah, GA to compare notes and share ideas at the fourth annual conference of AHEPPP – the Association of Higher Education Parent Program Professionals. More than 160 colleges and universities are represented in the organization. Parents, you matter to your students’ institutions!
If you haven’t discovered the Parent Office at your student’s institution, you might want to investigate whether there is one. This office may communicate regularly with parents, or may be responsible for running events such as Orientation or Parents/Family Weekend. According to a survey conducted biennially by the University of Minnesota since 2003, 23% of those responding to the survey this year said their office had been newly established in the past five years.
November 9, 2015 No Comments
That moment on Move-in Day when you say your final goodbye to your college student and get in the car to drive away is a moment that will change your relationship with her forever. This is the moment that many parents fear. This is the reason that we try so hard to hold on tightly that last August. This is the reason that some parents hover and earn the “helicopter parent” title. This is the dreaded moment that can elicit tears.
Sending your student off to college is a milestone. And your relationship with your student will change. But that change may not be what you expect – or fear. As most parents worry about their changing relationship with their student, they think about what they may lose. They may not think about that relationship improving and getting better and even more fulfilling.
How can that be? How can your relationship improve if you aren’t there all of the time? Can this really be true?
November 4, 2015 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 31, 2015 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, Reading List 4, and Reading List 5.
This month we’re looking at a book that isn’t specifically about college parenting, but will be helpful to all parents as you live through those teenage years and prepare for the college years. A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens by Joani Geltman is subtitled Talking to Your Kids About Sexting, Drinking, Drugs, and Other Things That Freak You Out. Parents often do “freak out” as they approach the college years and this book may help them feel a little more comfortable.
Geltman is a psychologist who has both worked with parents for several years, but also taught college students. She looks at teen issues and parenting as a professional counselor, a college instructor, and a parent. We think this triple perspective is part of what makes this book so helpful. Geltman’s style is down-to-earth, no-nonsense, practical and easy to read.
October 26, 2015 No Comments
Much happens for students as they attempt to make the transition from high school to college. It is often a tumultuous time. Some students make this transition relatively smoothly, while others struggle throughout their first year of college. Results of a study of first year students were released in early October and may help parents better understand the nature of the transition and first year students’ experiences.
This past spring, Harris Poll conducted an online survey of 1,502 U.S. college students to better understand their experiences during their first year at college. Very simply, the poll was an attempt to examine the challenges and triumphs that students face during their first year. The study was commissioned by the JED Foundation, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and The Jordan Porco Foundation, and was administered last spring to high school graduates between the ages of 17-20, currently attending their second semester of college.
Essentially, this study attempted to address several areas:
- Determine students’ levels of preparedness for college
- Identify student challenges during transition
- Pinpoint students’ main sources of support
- Uncover the skills, education and information that students need for easier adjustment
Parents of current or future college students can consider some of the findings of this poll in order to think about important conversations with their student. Some issues might be addressed with local schools as well. How can we help our students currently enrolled in college, and how can we better prepare future college students? What role do colleges, high schools and parents play in addressing some of the issues first year students face?
October 19, 2015 No Comments
Your high school student is about to embark on the college admission journey. And of course, as your student embarks on this journey, you will be along for the ride. Congratulations!
You will inevitably hit some bumps along the way, but the journey can be a meaningful one as well. If you’re hoping to minimize the bumps and maximize the rewarding parts, it’s important that you and your student have some discussions before you set out. As with any journey, having an itinerary and a map helps the trip go smoothly, but so does being open to some detours and side trips along the way.
As you and your student get ready to begin the admission process, we’d like to suggest five conversations that will help you both prepare. Don’t try to fit everything in at once, give yourselves time to talk and think, but addressing these topics early in the process with help prepare everyone for what might lie ahead.
October 5, 2015 No Comments
Your student has headed to college. Before she made her choice of college you and she spent lots of time getting to know all about the college. She made her choice and has headed off to her new adventure. It may be a few miles away, or may be a long way from home.
But whether your student’s college is close to home or half way across the country, the school is located in a town or city. And that town or city has become your student’s new home. Hopefully, as your student spends time at her new home-away-from-home, she’ll get to know her surroundings. The college experience is all about expanding horizons, and getting beyond the bounds of the college campus is part of that experience. Your student’s college experiences will be richer the more she broadens them.
Why does the college town matter to parents?
You’re not going to live in your student’s college town, your student is. So why should you have any interest in getting to know it? Largely for two reasons: you can help your student discover some new things – or let her show you what she’s discovered, and – it can be fun!
September 7, 2015 No Comments