Information for the parents of college students

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Reflecting on Six Years: College Parent Central’s Anniversary

Each year, as April rolls around, College Parent Central celebrates an anniversary.  We are always pleased, and sometimes a little amazed, that we’re still here a year later.  This year we celebrate our sixth anniversary.  When we first launched on April Fool’s Day in 2009, we weren’t sure what to expect.  We recognized that college parents needed information and support, and we hoped that we could help provide some of that guidance.  Six years later, parents continue to let us know that they appreciate the information that we provide.

Thank you to those who have supported us and shared our information with others!

Our journey and evolution

Over the years, we have seen some important things remain constant and other things evolve.  It’s been an interesting journey.

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April 9, 2015   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.

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March 30, 2015   No Comments

College Student Hopes and Worries

As high school students work through the college admissions process and then anxiously await those all-important admission letters, they – and their parents – are filled with hope, and also worry.  It is the nature of the process.

Since 2003 The Princeton Review has conducted an annual survey investigating those hopes and dreams.  This year, the survey was available from August 2014 to March 2015 and was completed by slightly more than 12,000 students and parents.  80% of the respondents were students and 20% were parents.  The results of this survey provide a window into some of the dreams and application viewpoints of these students and parents.  Many parents may find it reassuring that they are not alone in their feelings.

The admissions process and finances

73% of those responding reported “application stress;” This represents 17% more than those indicating stress in the first year of the survey in 2003.  The greatest source of stress for most students was the testing – taking admissions exams.  The second greatest source was the application process itself – completing admissions and financial aid applications.

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March 26, 2015   No Comments

Book Review: The Portable Guidance Counselor

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 2Reading List 3, and Reading List 4.

The Portable Guidance Counselor: Answers to the 284 Most Important Questions About Getting Into College is edited by the staff of the Princeton Review.  It is a comprehensive review of some of the most important questions that high school students ask, and the answers that guidance counselors give.  It can be a helpful resource for students – especially those students who may have guidance counselors who are overwhelmed and may have less time and attention to share with students.

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March 23, 2015   No Comments

How Is My Student Doing? Sharing Your College Student’s Passwords

When your student heads off to college, you worry.  Some parents worry a lot, often for good reasons.  But all parents, even those confident of their student’s abilities and responsibility, worry at least a little.  We worry about their safety, we worry about their happiness, and we worry about their success.  It is part of the nature of being a parent

We worried when our student was in high school, too, but most of us had our student under our roof.  We knew at least some of what was going on in his life.  In addition, many high schools now have portals or websites where administrators and teachers post announcements, reminders of deadlines, homework assignments, and grades.  As parents, we had access to such sites.  We felt included. We were on top of things.  We were in the loop.

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March 16, 2015   No Comments

What Do Parents Want from Colleges? Where Do You Fit In?

Students have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to choosing a college.  There are many factors to weigh – and then after the logical decisions have been weighed, there is the issue of finding the right “fit.”  But most students do not make the college decision entirely alone.  They turn to their families for advice.

As a parent, you probably have some clear ideas about what you want for your student as she makes the college choice.  Although the decision should ultimately be hers, you will weigh in and share your feelings and opinions.  Of course, your student may, or may not, listen.

A recent poll conducted by Noodle Education surveyed nearly 1000 middle class parents about what they consider important in choosing a college.  Two-thirds of the parents surveyed had college bound high school students and one-third had students currently in college or less than one year out of college.

Consider the findings of this poll and think about what your responses might be.  What do you consider important?  Then consider asking your student.  Do your responses match?  If not, this might be a great opening to a conversation – not to change your student’s mind, but to explore her thinking – and learn more about her.

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March 2, 2015   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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February 28, 2015   No Comments

Has Your Student Found the College with the Best Fit?

According to a new survey conducted by Noodle Education, one of the issues parents are most concerned about is that their college student find a college that is the right “fit.”  72.5% of parents ranked this as highly important to them.

Students, too, want to find a college that is the right fit.  Guidance counselors encourage students to look for the college that is the right fit.  Colleges claim to be the right fit for your student.

So what exactly does it mean to say that a college is the right “fit” for a student, and how can a student find that fit?

“Fit”

The quality of fit in a college is a complex concept.  It is often difficult to define or describe, but students often know it when they find it.

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February 26, 2015   No Comments

What Do We Know About College Freshmen?

The answer to the question of what we know about college freshmen is both “not much” and “a lot.”

If you have a college freshman, you may often feel as though you don’t know much about him.  If he is living away from home, you may feel particularly out of touch with his day-to-day life.  And even if he shares some information with you, you may sometimes feel as though you just don’t understand him.  As frustrating as this can be at times, this is typical, normal, and probably appropriate.

On the other hand, however, many institutions, organizations, and individuals continue to do research about first year college students and we continue to learn more each year.  While this information is general, of course, and compiles averages rather than talking about your individual student, it is helpful for parents to understand some of the norms for first year college students.

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February 16, 2015   No Comments

How Hard Is College?

Does your soon-to-be college student worry about how hard college is going to be?  Probably.  Do you worry about how hard college will be for your student – and whether she’ll be able to do well?  Probably.  Can you find the answer?  Probably not.

Many, if not most, college students – or almost-college-students – and their parents worry about how hard college will be.  Students may not voice their concerns out loud, but they are there.  Will school be hard?  Will I be able to do the work?  Will I understand the material and what is being asked of me?  They may ask their advisors, faculty members, other students – “Is this class hard?”

The answers may not be very satisfying.  It depends.  Hard is relative.  It may be as hard as you make it.

What do students mean by “hard?”

Hard, of course, can mean many things – and different things to different people.  It may mean difficult, challenging, complex, time consuming, a lot of work.  It may mean arduous, demanding, exacting, strenuous, exhausting, grueling, painful, distressing, brutal, complicated, intense.

A lot of scary words.

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February 12, 2015   No Comments