Information for the parents of college students

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Helping Your College Student Living at Home

The college years are a time of growing independence for most college students.  When students leave home to go away to college, they learn not only what they are being taught in their classes, but they learn many life skills as well.  College students living away from home learn to manage their time, balance priorities, budget their money, hone their life skills, maintain relationships, and conduct the logistical necessities of their lives.

But what about students who attend college while continuing to live at home?  Will they develop the independence that their classmates living on campus do?  What about the parents of college students living at home? These parents face a unique set of issues. How will they cope with having an emerging adult in residence at home?  How can parents help their at-home college student to gain independence while still maintaining a household in which everyone is comfortable?

Why is your college student choosing to live at home?

Students may choose to live at home during college for many different reasons.  Perhaps one of the most common and obvious reasons is to save money.  Although tuition costs are high, they are only one portion of the cost of attending college. A student who can live at home, and therefore reduce or eliminate room and board costs, can save thousands of dollars.

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August 15, 2017   No Comments

Should My College Student Have a Car on Campus?

Cars.  Many of us spend a great deal of our time in them.  Most teenagers can’t wait until they can get their license and gain some independence; although a study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute indicates that fewer teenagers now have licenses than 25 years ago.  However, some surveys tell us that as many as 70% of college-age students own or have access to cars.

Cars have become a part of the fabric of our lives.  But should they be part of the fabric of your college student’s life?  The answer is – it depends.

You and your student should think carefully about whether your student should have a car on campus. Obviously, if your student is commuting to college whether or not to have a car may not be an issue.  More and more colleges are prohibiting first-year students from bringing cars to school so this may not be a decision your student will face immediately.

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August 7, 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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July 31, 2017   No Comments

Discussing Campus Safety With Your College Student

As college parents, one of our major concerns when our students head off to college is their safety.  We want our students to do well academically, we want them to be healthy, we want them to be happy, but first and foremost, we want them to be safe.

Ideally, a three way partnership will do the most to help keep college students safe.  Parents need to talk to their students about safety, students need to exercise awareness and behave responsibly, and colleges need to take precautions to keep students safe.

Concern for the safety of college students is a growing national concern in light of recent incidents and tragedies on college campuses. One law and one initiative in particular attempt to address this concern.

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July 24, 2017   No Comments

Book Review – Generation Z Goes to College

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.

Generation Z Goes to College (order directly from Amazon) was written with a focus toward higher education professionals, but should be read by parents of these students as well.  As parents, we know our students intimately as individuals, but we don’t often think about the overview of the entire generation to which they belong.  Generation Z Goes to College helps parents see their students in the context of their generation.

Generation Z, as defined in this book, includes those students born between 1995 and 2010.  So these are the students now entering college.

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July 21, 2017   No Comments

College Students and Credit Cards

Credit and debit cards are part of the fabric of life for most Americans these days.  With the rise of online shopping, and the increasing use of automated services, credit cards are more than a convenience.  College students, too, are using credit cards; and many students use those cards wisely as they learn to manage their own finances.

How do students use credit?

Before you begin to think about your own student’s use of credit, it may be helpful to have a picture of how college students in general use their cards.

The 2016 Experian College Graduate Survey found that 58% of college graduates had at least one credit card and approximately 30% of graduates had some credit card debt.  The average balance carried by students was $2,573. The average number of cards held by students was 1.35.

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July 17, 2017   No Comments

Three Things You Should NOT Ask Your College Student to Share With You

Your soon-to-be college student is busy getting ready to head off to college.  You want to make sure that both you and she have all of the information that you both need, and you want to help her prepare.  So you ask her to share some pieces of information with you – so you can help and give advice.

This makes sense and sounds like a good idea.  And sharing some information is important.  But there’s a line between helpful and intrusive.  Here are three pieces of information that may cross the line – for different reasons.

The roommate information form

If your student will be living on campus, she will probably have a roommate.  Colleges work hard to make roommate matches that make sense and have a good chance to work out.  In order to do this, the college will ask your student to fill out a matching profile, lifestyle questionnaire, or roommate profile.  This form will ask about lifestyle preferences that may make a difference in a living situation such as: Are you an early riser or late-to-bed person? Do you study with music or in silence? What type of music do you prefer? Are you generally messy or a neat-freak? Do you smoke?  What are your interests?  Do you prefer to sleep in the dark or with a light on? Window open or closed?

Why sharing this information isn’t a good idea

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July 10, 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.

[Read more →]

June 30, 2017   No Comments

Senior Summer: At the Crossroads of No Longer and Not Yet

The summer after the last year of high school and before the first year of college is an interesting summer – for both parents and students.  There is the anticipation and excitement – coupled with stress, nerves, and the emotions of leaving home and friends behind. For parents, it’s about letting go – and having trust.  Parents need to be especially patient – both with themselves and with their students – as everyone navigates this new territory.

That homeless feeling

One of the characteristics of this summer before college is the feeling of in-between that most high school graduates/not yet college freshmen feel.  They are of both worlds, yet not really of either.  It is a strange, somewhat homeless feeling for many students.

No longer high school

For much of the last year of high school your senior couldn’t wait to be done.  The focus was on getting into college – grades, activities, college visits, applications, acceptance, decision, deposit.  Once college admission is accomplished, many students settle into a few weeks (or months) of senioritis – and finish out the year.

The last part of senior year is, in many ways, one big send-off.  There are senior projects, senior week or senior days, perhaps a senior trip, senior prom, graduation, parties.  But now high school is finished.  Your senior is no longer part of that world.  The junior class may already have had a move-up or step-up day.

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June 12, 2017   No Comments

Helping Your College Student Reduce Roommate Conflict – But Why a Little Conflict May Be a Good Thing

Roommate conflict is unavoidable.  As parents, we hope that our college student will get along perfectly with her college roommate, but it is an unrealistic wish.  Whenever individuals live closely together, some amount of conflict is inevitable.  Actually, a little bit of conflict is not necessarily a bad thing.  Students learn important skills as they learn to handle issues with their roommates.

Even when we realize that some degree of conflict may be inevitable, and may possibly have beneficial effects, it is natural to hope that conflict will be minimal.  There are ways, short of giving in on everything, that students can minimize the issues that arise between roommates.

If this is your student’s first time sharing a room and/or living with a large group of people in close quarters, you can increase your student’s chances of having a good experience by helping her to think through some of the issues that might come up and how she will handle them. A good experience begins by preparing for life with a roommate.  But there are also things your student can do to reduce conflict and handle inevitable conflict when it does occur.

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June 5, 2017   No Comments