Information for the parents of college students

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Don’t Let Your College Student Become a Target

Con artists have been around forever.  Scams have caught unwary victims before, and they will again. But it seems that one of the newest targets for these unsavory characters is college students, and often their parents as well.  Make sure you stay alert and talk to your student about being careful as well.

College students may be prime targets of scammers for several reasons.  They are busy and distracted, many don’t have much financial or tax experience, most don’t have extensive credit histories yet and/or don’t check them, and they spend much of their lives online.

What’s the latest threat?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, one of the most recent scams involves students receiving a phone call from someone impersonating an IRS official and demanding payment of a “federal student tax.”  The IRS wants to make it clear that there is no such tax.  But the caller claims that the student owes the tax and that he will call the local police to arrest the student if it is not paid.  If the student hangs up, there may be follow-up calls. Often, the caller has just enough information about the student, gleaned from public sources such as directory information, to make the call sound more legitimate.

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September 26, 2016   No Comments

Your College Freshman’s Worldview – The Beloit Mindset

As parents of traditional college age children, we know that our children live in a different world than we did.  Intellectually, we know that the world changes – ever faster – and that our children have grown up with many different experiences.  Sometimes, however, we forget – or just plain don’t realize – how different that world truly is.

Each year Beloit College releases The Beloit College Mindset List. Since the list was first published in 1998, in addition to providing college professors a chuckle, it has also proved to be an eye-opening look at “the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college” that year.  The list was originated by Beloit professor Tom McBride and Public Affairs Director Ron Nief as a reminder to faculty members that many references used in class might be outdated, but it has become a much more comprehensive look at the worldview of current college students.

We include here, for your consideration, amusement and possible consternation, a few of the items that are true for current college students. These are taken from the last two Mindset lists. So if your student was born in 1997 or 1998, consider some of the following.  (You may view the entire lists, by year, at www.beloit.edu/mindset.)

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September 19, 2016   No Comments

Does It Matter Who Is Teaching Your College Student?

Chances are good that your college student is being taught by, has been taught by, or will be taught by at least one, and probably several adjunct instructors.  Whether your student attends a local community college, a small liberal arts college, or a large public or private research university, adjunct instructors are the “new normal” in the world of higher education.

The work of adjunct instructors, part-time instructors, part-time lecturers, contingent instructors, or whatever other title is used, is an important and hotly debated topic in higher education today.  According to the Department of Education, over 70% of college instructors are adjunct professors (approximately 800,000 in the United States.)  This is up from 35% in 1975. Current issues of debate around the use of adjunct professors include working conditions, pay equity, student success, and the right to unionize.

The use of adjuncts in higher education is an important topic, and we urge parents and students to read some of the many articles available to understand the issues and to weigh in on the discussion.  Our concern in this article is how your student can get the most out of the classes that he will inevitably take with adjunct professors.

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September 5, 2016   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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August 31, 2016   No Comments

Friends Along the Way: Your College Student’s Search for Friends

Parents everywhere have just dropped their students off at college for the first time.  It’s an emotional time.  Excitement is high, anxiety is high, and for many, there are mixed emotions about their student leaving home. As parents return home and try to settle into the new normal of not having their child at home, their child is busy making the transition to their new world away from home.  An essential part of that transition is making new friends.

For many students, much of their anxiety heading off to college has to do with whether or not they will find friends and “fit in.”  Friends can make all of the difference. Most colleges recognize this need and work hard to plan programming during the first few weeks of the semester to bring students together and encourage community building.  They know that students with a strong friend network are generally happier, do better, and are more likely to remain in school.

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August 29, 2016   No Comments

14 Suggestions of What to Do If (Not Necessarily When) Your Student Is Homesick

As parents sending our students off to college we’ve been told to expect that our student will be homesick. (We’ve written a post saying essentially the same thing – and it has some good advice). We’ve been told it’s inevitable. That it might happen right away or that it might take a while, but it will happen.  According to UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, close to 65% of college students will experience homesickness.  So it’s good to be prepared.

Is it really homesickness?

What is almost certain is that most students will experience some unhappiness, stress, and anxiety at some point.  It is a natural reaction to being out of your element and in unfamiliar territory. It’s what happens before you become, as Harlan Cohen terms it in his book The Naked Roommate, “comfortable with the uncomfortable.”  But are our students really homesick?

It depends on how you define homesick.  Are these students really missing home?  Are they really missing us? They hardly talked to us all summer. They’ve worked hard for years to get to this place. Just a few short weeks ago – or maybe days – they couldn’t wait to leave.  They couldn’t wait to be out on their own. Is it really home and parents that they are missing?

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August 23, 2016   No Comments

Book Review: Your Online College Course Survival Guide: How to Make the Grade and Learn in the Virtual Classroom

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. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

This month we’re reviewing a book that parents should recommend or gift to their student who may be taking an online course.  As more colleges offer online courses, more students are taking them, but many students find themselves unprepared for a very different type of learning environment.  Online learning can be a great thing, or a stumbling block – and much of the difference has to do with how prepared the student is.

Your Online Course Survival Guide: How to Make the Grade and Learn in the Virtual Classroom by Jacqueline Myers is a wonderful tool for students who are experiencing their first online course – or who have been less than successful in an online course in the past.  As the author states early in her book, “students who succeed in online classes come prepared to work independently, stay organized and focus on self-motivation.” Not every student begins with these traits, but this book can help many students gain and hone these skills.

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August 18, 2016   No Comments

Is Your Student Prepared for the Best Possible Start in College?

For many new college students, the first semester of college presents a challenge – and not just inside the classroom.  The transition to college is exciting; but it can be stressful and difficult for many students. Most students start out committed to doing well in college, but they sometimes lose focus on how to move toward their goal.

We’ve written an earlier post about the many challenges that students face during this important first semester of college.  Please take a few minutes to read about and anticipate some of these challenges.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your student had a coach to make this journey through the first semester along with your student?

At College Parent Central, we are committed to not only helping you, as a college parent, navigate the college experience and support your student, but also to helping your student as well.  We continue to share information with parents, but sometimes, students may need guidance from someone other than a parent.

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August 15, 2016   No Comments

Six Steps to Help You and Your College Student Proactively Address Your Worries

In our last post we shared some of the information gathered in the latest parental survey conducted by the College Parents of America organization.  Among the statistics gathered as part of this survey, nearly 24% of parents expressed concern that their student will be successful in college and will complete their degree on time.  That’s a lot of parents with concerns.

Some parents are concerned about their student’s academic preparation (6%) and others (18%) express concern that other factors may impede their student’s progress.  Some of these parental concerns may be more well-founded than others, but whatever fears or concerns parents may have, worrying about your child’s success means that sending your student off to college may be especially difficult.

It is a helpless feeling to worry about something that you can’t control or confront.  Of course, there will always be some concerns, but we’d like to offer some suggestions that may help parents and their students face some of the concerns that may be clouding the college send-off.  These suggestions aren’t intended to minimize parental concerns, and they won’t eliminate real issues, but they may help parents and student identify and discuss the issues that exist.

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August 9, 2016   No Comments

College Parents in 2016: Where Do You Fit?

In June 2016, College Parents of America, a membership organization designed to assist college parents, conducted their latest survey of college parents.  College Parents of America gathered information from 510 parents through their subscribers and other internet channels.  According to the CPA website, the new survey showed that “college parents are an important source of support for increasing student success and college completion.”  We couldn’t agree more.

Parent involvement

This survey clearly demonstrates that parents are, or at least hope to be, involved in their student’s college life.  More than two thirds of parents responding said they plan to participate in family events such as move-in, orientation, or family weekend. Thirty-six percent said they communicate or plan to communicate with their student at least daily.  Although the college parents responding to this survey may be a somewhat self-selecting group, parents, on the whole, want to be involved.  Approximately 40% of parents responding said that their student attends college more than 4 hours away from home, so involvement for these parents may be different.

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August 4, 2016   No Comments