Information for the parents of college students

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How Accurate Is Your Picture of College Life?

You’re sending your student off to college for four (or maybe more) years. You worry because he is going to be on his own, and maybe you struggle (just a little) with your feelings about the empty nest.  And you wonder what life will be like for your student at school.

Parents who have experienced college life themselves, may think they know a little about what to expect. (But they often forget their experiences may be twenty years or more old. Things have changed.)  Other parents, who may not have attended college themselves, do not have their own experiences to guide their expectations.

So how do we know anything about college life? For many of us, our source is what we see and hear in the media – news stories, films, TV, and advertising.  College students – and college faculty and officials – will quickly tell you that that image is often, very often, less than accurate.  One study of first year college students found that 77% of students surveyed felt that the media over-exaggerates the excitement of college.

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January 16, 2017   No Comments

Help Your Student Make Good Study Habits Stick

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

Jim Ryuh

January.  It’s the time of year for resolutions, new habits, and optimism that this year will be better than the last.  Thank goodness we all have an opportunity once each year for a reset.

For most students, the New Year not only provides the usual possibilities, it is often the start of a new semester as well.  This means a fresh start.  Even the best students often have plans to make this new semester even better than the last.

But unfortunately, we all know that most New Year’s resolutions often fall by the wayside a few months, weeks, days, or maybe even hours into the year.  We all have trouble making them stick, and students are no different.

An article on Headspace, an online meditation website, discussed ways to make meditation stick for those who were giving it a try.  Although we think meditation can be wonderful for students (and their parents,) this article is about how students can use the same principles that the Headspace article discussed to help them make new study habits stick.

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January 9, 2017   No Comments

New Year’s Resolutions for Parents of High School Seniors and College Students

As the old year rolls over into the new, it is often a time of looking backward and looking forward.  For many parents of high school seniors and college students, the focus may be more forward than backward.  It’s an exciting – and sometimes anxious time.

A few years ago, we offered some suggestions to keep in mind as you formulate your resolutions for the New Year.  We’d like to share them again here and then help you get started by offering five resolutions for high school senior parents and five resolutions for those of you who are college parents.

We’re sure you’ll add a few of your own, but we hope these may help to spur your imagination.

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January 2, 2017   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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December 31, 2016   No Comments

Reflecting on 2016 – College Parent Update

When you do something once, it is interesting.  When you do something twice, it suddenly becomes a tradition.  We’re now in our fourth year of sharing a look back at College Parent Central’s year.  Clearly a tradition.

Reflection is always a good exercise.  Looking back gives us some perspective to look ahead and think about our goals and plans for the new year based on where we’ve come.

So before we look ahead, make plans, make resolutions we probably won’t keep, or set goals for 2017, we’d like to take a moment to look back at 2016.  What does the past year reveal about the essence of the college parent role and those ideas and issues that most affect the way we relate to our college sons and daughters?

We invite you to take a few minutes to reflect with us, and to think about how you view your role as college parent.  How have you grown into the role over the past year?  Where might you and your college student go next year?

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December 26, 2016   No Comments

Parents: Top Ten Books to Read – Or to Gift

Parenting is hard work.  Those of us who have been parents for a while know how difficult it can be.  And as parents, we sometimes seek advice from the “experts,” whether those experts are our friends, our own parents, our medical providers, or sometimes those who make it their business to work with and study parents.

We all need a little advice – and a little perspective.

Here’s a list of our top ten picks of good reads for parents as they think about their teenage, college age, or young adult.  But the key is that it helps to start thinking and building the foundation early.  Some of the experts tell us that our parenting style when our children are very young can influence how they function and cope as young adults.

We’ve reviewed all of these books and we think they can provide parents with guidance – or at least plenty of food for thought.  If you’re already a college parent, it’s not too late!  But if you have younger children, use these to get a head start.  If you know someone with younger children, consider one (or more) of these as gifts to give them a head start.

Read our reviews.  Pick one or two or three.  Read them. Share them. Form a book club. Start conversations.

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December 12, 2016   No Comments

Are You Ready for the LONG Winter Break?

Right now, most college students are just hanging on through the final days or weeks of the semester.  They’re facing final papers, final projects, review sessions, and of course, final exams.  But at the end of it all will be Winter Break – a time to finally sleep, and eat, and sleep, and catch up with friends, and sleep.  Parents, are you ready for the next two or three or five or even six weeks?

Most parents and families are anxiously looking forward to having their college student home again.  But many parents may also be a bit nervous about what to expect.  If this is the first time that your student will be home for more than a few days since you dropped him off on move-in day, you may be more than a little nervous about what to expect.

Some of the keys to a great break for everyone are to anticipate what to expect, be prepared, and communicate with your student.  College Parent Central has several articles about how to make the most of this Winter Break, and we’ll share them below.  Take a few minutes to read them and to think about what you can do to be sure that you have a good break.  We’d also like to offer a few highlights to get you started.

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December 6, 2016   2 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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November 30, 2016   No Comments

‘Tis the Season – Holiday Gifts for Your College Student – 2016

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.

You know your student best, and can tap into interests and needs, but we’d like to offer some suggestions that may stimulate your imagination. We have some new suggestions for 2016, but we’ve offered some suggestions in the past.  Don’t stop with this post! Check out our earlier posts for additional suggestions – most are timeless and still good ideas.

Check out our ideas, and then let your own creativity take over!

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November 28, 2016   No Comments

College Officials Gather to Discuss College Parents

Yes, parents, colleges are talking about you.  In this age of constant communication between students and their parents, this age of increased parental involvement in many aspects of their students’ lives, and this age of growing concern over student success and persistence in college, institutions are continuing their quest to find ways to reach out to and engage the parents of college students.

This may sound strange as we hear so much about helicopter parents and snowplow parents.  Aren’t institutions trying to discourage parents, to get them to “let go?”  The answer is, “no.”  Colleges want parents to connect to the institution and to engage with the school – and with their students – in appropriate ways.  And they are realizing that parents may need help discovering how to do that.

This month, the Association of Higher Education Parent Program Professionals (AHEPPP) held its fifth annual conference in Boulder, Colorado.  Nearly 200 college personnel gathered to discuss the parent programming at their institutions.  Many of the individuals at the conference have as their sole job description working with the parents of students at their institutions.  So, parents, don’t think for a moment that your student’s institution doesn’t care about you – beyond your tuition dollars.

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November 21, 2016   No Comments