Information for the parents of college students

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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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September 29, 2014   No Comments

Sweet Dreams! Is Your College Student Getting Enough of Them?

News flash! College students don’t get enough sleep!

Well, actually, this may not be a news flash for anyone. Americans overall are getting less sleep, and many of us recognize that we need more than we are getting. But college students are the group most deprived of the sleep that they need. One study reported that only 11% of college students reported good quality sleep, and college students today get approximately two hours less sleep a night than students in the 1980’s.

Sleep is vital to our well-being, and not getting enough can affect students’ health, moods, safety, and GPA. Many students, who may be in charge of their sleep habits for the first time in their lives (Mom isn’t telling them it’s time for bed), underestimate their need for sleep and may not realize the extent of the harmful effects of lack of sleep. As they try to balance classes, jobs, new independence and social lives, students often develop unhealthy patterns and habits.

As a college parent, you ultimately have no control over how much sleep your college student gets, and that’s appropriate. Part of the college experience is learning how to regulate your life. But just as you might talk to your student about his time management or financial budget, have a conversation with your student about his sleep habits. This may be especially important if your student feels chronically tired, irritable, sleeps excessively on the weekends, or is struggling academically. Don’t nag your student, but help him understand the importance of sleep, and help him think about how to get more.

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September 25, 2014   No Comments

Book Review: Beyond Tuition – Career Coaching Your College Kid

Finding a job and a career after college is a concern for nearly every college student and every college parent. Beyond Tuition: Career Coaching Your College Kid by Sharon Gilbert, is a book designed to help alleviate parents’ fears by helping them understand the career development process.

The career development process, and career development offices, have changed in recent years. Students no longer visit the “placement office” for the first time late in their senior year to perhaps polish up a resume and read the job board. Students are now encouraged to begin working with Career Offices early in their time in college. Gilbert’s book helps parents understand the importance of these early connections, and the more that parents understand, the more that they can guide their students.

Gilbert acknowledges that parent support is integral to a student’s success and works to equip parents to guide their child throughout the process.

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September 22, 2014   No Comments

Your College Student’s Health: Important Paperwork That Can Make a Difference

There are a lot of things to think about as your student heads off to college. You’ve got financial aid and tuition payments to arrange, a dorm room to furnish, travel arrangements to make, forms to complete, and, of course, you’re trying to fit everything into the car! You think about, and sometimes worry about, lots of things as your student transitions to her new life. Your student’s health may or may not be high on that list.

One thing that will help to ease both your mind, and perhaps that of your student as well, is to make sure that you have both completed all of the paperwork that will matter in the event that your student is sick or injured while away at school. There are several important documents that you will both need to be thinking about – and it’s never too late. If your student is already at school and you’ve missed some of these items, discuss them with her the next time that you talk.

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September 8, 2014   No Comments

Are You College Parent, Social Media Savy? Beyond Admissions and Beyond Hovering

We live in the age of social media. According to some studies done by the Pew research organization, 73% of online adults use a social networking site of some kind and 42% use multiple sites. Every platform available, especially Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram has shown increases in uses in the last year. We consume, we share, we connect.

Colleges know the importance of our online lives and use the web heavily in their admissions process. They reach out to both students and parents through avenues from websites to social media platforms to chat rooms. According to research conducted by Noel Levitz, the higher education consulting firm, some 45% of parents have looked at college websites on their mobile devices. Colleges have established profiles and pages and feeds and boards on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn. More than 200 colleges have LinkedIn profiles and many others have statistics listed. Clearly, both students and parents are using social media as one method of finding the right college.

But perhaps your student has now not only found a college, but headed off to college. Are you ready to turn off social media? Probably not. Of course, you can continue to use social media platforms to keep track of what your student is doing. Much has been written about parents and their teens/young adults and use of social media. Should you friend your student on Facebook, follow his Twitter feed, connect on LinkedIn, and follow his Instagram account? That is a very personal decision and one which you and your student should discuss. It may be comforting to you and comfortable to your student, or it may feel intrusive, discomforting and TMI (too much information). Have that conversation with your student.

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September 4, 2014   No Comments

Parents: Is Your Student Off to College? Here’s Some Homework for You

You’ve survived the college admissions process. You’ve survived Senior Summer. You’ve survived Move-in Day. You’ve survived the ride home after leaving your student at school. Now you’ve arrived home to the empty (or at least emptier) nest. It’s just a little bit quieter, just a little bit less messy, just a little bit – well, emptier. And suddenly you’re not sure what you should be doing.

The year before college is a busy year. There are the college fairs, the college visits, the college applications – and essays and recommendations and, of course, financial aid forms. There may be second visits, interviews, accepted student events to attend. And then there’s senior year – special events, class trips, proms, award ceremonies, graduation – with all of its surrounding festivities. And then the summer of orientations, shopping – and more shopping – and packing, and getting every last detail ready. Of course, it is your student who is going away to college, but the whole family can be swept up in the whirlwind of the year.

And then you come home from dropping your student off at school and you’re not sure what to do. That empty nest fairly echoes. So much of the last year has been focused on your student – and now she’s off on her own and the swirl of activity has ceased. One of the reasons that we, as college parents, are sometimes more involved that we “should” be is that it is habit. It’s what we’ve done for years – and especially this past year. And it feels as though we should be doing something.

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September 1, 2014   No 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.

[Read more →]

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August 28, 2014   No Comments

You Can Influence Your College Student’s Classroom Success

Success in college means many things to many people. For some, it means a 4.0 GPA, for others it means landing the perfect job at graduation or being accepted to graduate school, for still others it may mean opportunities such as studying abroad and completing internships, and for still others, success may mean having a good time or finding a husband or wife.

However broadly you and your student define college success, it almost always includes at least some amount of success in the classroom. In spite of the importance of networking, social life, athletics, leadership, broad experiences, friendships, or job opportunities, the college experience centers around the classroom. And success in the classroom is important.

As a college parent, you hope for academic success, but there is little you can do to influence it. Your student’s success will depend on many factors, but they are, and should be, generally out of your control. In your role as sideline coach, you can cheer your student on – and occasionally give some advice – but the task of learning how to learn belongs to your student.

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August 25, 2014   No Comments

New Student Convocation May Launch Your College Student’s Year

What is college convocation? You’ve dropped your new freshman off at college and he says that he will be attending convocation. For anyone unfamiliar with college traditions this may be a strange term and you wonder what is going on. Fall convocation for new students, or for all returning students, is a common experience at many colleges and universities.

According to most dictionaries, the most technical meaning of convocation is a large formal meeting of people. The term used to refer to gatherings of bishops and other religious clerics, but now has been broadened to refer to meetings of members of a college or university to observe some sort of celebratory ceremony. Convocation is often associated with the beginnings and endings of the school year or of a student’s college career.

Some colleges include convocation along with a commencement ceremony to mark the ending of a student’s college education as well. At some schools, degrees or diplomas may be handed out at convocation. Many schools now include an opening convocation at the beginning of the school year as a ceremony to welcome new students or to welcome students back for a new year.

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August 21, 2014   No Comments

In Case of Emergency – Is Your College Student Prepared?

We all hope we will never need it – or know anyone who will ever need it. But like any good insurance, having an Early Warning or Early Alert system in place is an essential – legally mandated – element of every college campus. It is a sign of our times, and it is at least some assurance that the school has a plan in place for an emergency.

Almost all colleges now have some form of Emergency Alert or Warning system which is a mass notification system allowing the college to reach students, faculty, staff, and sometimes family members in case of a campus wide emergency. This emergency might range from an active shooter on campus to a weather emergency. An amendment to the Cleary Act, following the shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, now mandates that all schools create an emergency notification system.

An alert system is generally part of a larger campus emergency response plan. In case of emergency, students, faculty and staff members might receive messages on computers, home or office phones, or cell phones. Messages might come in the form of e-mail, voice messages, or text messages. Messages would give basic instructions about what to do – perhaps to evacuate a building or area or to shelter in place. Messages are generally disseminated as soon as there is sufficient information available to provide constructive information to all who need it. [Read more →]

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August 18, 2014   No Comments