Helping Your College Student Cope with Stress

College students experience a lot of stress.  As parents, some of us are acutely aware of our student’s stress levels, and to others of us it may be less obvious.  Of course, not every student experiences stress, and some students actually thrive on a certain amount of it; but many college students find that increased pressure or anxiety are part of the experience of college.

Consider some of the following information gathered about student stress as you think about your own student’s potential stress levels.  Discuss some of these findings with your student to help him realize that he, and/or his friends, may not be alone if they are experiencing anxiety.

College students experience a lot of stress – but it’s not all bad

The Associated Press and MTV conducted a survey of college students in 2009 to consider college student stress.  They surveyed over 2,200 students at 40 randomly chosen colleges throughout the United States.  Although the survey is several years old, the results have not changed much, or may be even more concerning in recent years.  Some of the findings of this College Stress and Mental Health poll are included below.

  • 85% of students feel stressed on a daily basis
  • 60% of students at some time have felt stress to the point of not being able to get work done
  • 70% of students have never considered talking to a counselor about their stress
  • 84% of students reach out to friends to help them with their stress
  • 67% of students reach out to parents for help with stress

The good news is that in spite of these statistics regarding stress levels, 74% of students reported feeling very or somewhat happy.  Clearly, not all stress is bad.

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Book Review: Your Freshman Is Off 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 recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. See the Recommended Reading section of our Resources page for more suggestions.

There is a lot to like about Laurie Hazard and Stephanie Carter’s Your Baby Freshman Is Off to College. Written for parents as a month-by-month guide to the first year of college, the book clearly reflects the expertise and experience of the authors’ day-to-day interactions with first-year college students.

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Making the Shift from High School to College When Your Student Has Learning Differences

This is the first article by new College Parent Central contributor Lynn Abrahams.  Lynn specializes in college transition and success for students with learning differences.

When I think of the transition from parenting high school students to parenting college students, I am reminded of the Sunday when I first began to teach my son how to drive. The instant we arrived at the huge, vacant parking lot, the momentous shift occurred.  He clamored into the driver’s seat and I moved over to the passenger’s seat. All of a sudden, I knew that he had control of the car and I did not. I was terrified.

When your child first goes to college, you are no longer the conductor of his journey. You are a passenger – one with a very important role, to be sure, but no longer occupying the driver’s seat.

If your child has a diagnosis of learning differences, that shift may feel particularly challenging.

During high school, you needed to be involved in order to make sure your student got the services and accommodations they needed. The message in high school was, “be involved”. In high school, parents have access to student records and participate in the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) process.  In contrast, as soon as your child goes to college you may be hearing the opposite message.  In college, parents do not have access to student records, without a written consent from the student. In college, there are no IEP’s and it is up to the student to self-disclose to the Office for Disability Services. The message can feel like, “back off”.

Read moreMaking the Shift from High School to College When Your Student Has Learning Differences


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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Do You Recognize Us?

Welcome to the NEW College Parent Central!  After almost nine years, the College Parent Central website was due for a facelift.  We’ve been working hard behind the scenes for months, and we’re proud to finally introduce our new look to the world!

What’s new?

What you’ll notice on the new site is more breathing room, easier reading, and more visuals (sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.) You’ll also notice new ways of navigating around the site – tabs at the top and some refreshed categories.  If you’re looking at our site on a phone or tablet, you’ll also find the new College Parent Central more mobile friendly.

If you’re investigating College Parent Central for the first time, we hope you’ll find it easier to find what you need – whether your identity is that of a future college parent, a new college parent, or a parent with a student who is struggling. We hope you’ll browse the articles on the site through the categories, but you’ll also find more information and guidance on the Portal pages for each parent identity.

We’ve also expanded our Resources section to help you find additional information and ways to support your student.

What hasn’t changed?

What hasn’t changed is College Parent Central’s commitment to bringing you the best information we can to help you understand your role as a college parent and to help you support your high school or college student to succeed.

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‘Tis the Season! 18 Holiday Gifts for Your College Student – 2017

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 2017, but we’ve offered some suggestions in the past.  Don’t stop with this post! Check out our category  Gifts, Books, and Reviews for nearly 75 additional suggestions.

Check out our ideas, and then let your own creativity take over!  If you have additional suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments!

Read more‘Tis the Season! 18 Holiday Gifts for Your College Student – 2017


When Your Student Can’t Get Home for Thanksgiving

It’s almost Thanksgiving Break. Students all across the country are preparing to head home for some rest, home cooked meals, and a bit of family time. Parents all across the country are anticipating, bracing themselves, and reading the many articles about what to expect when their student comes home for this important first visit.

But there are some students, and their families, for whom this Thanksgiving will be different. Perhaps your student is attending school too far away to get home for this relatively short break. Perhaps your student can’t afford the costs of travel. Perhaps your student has a job or other commitments that will keep him on campus for this holiday or is an athlete who needs to remain to play an important game.

It may be a difficult time for all of you.

What can parents do?

If your student is one of the many students who won’t be heading home this Thanksgiving, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:

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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.

Read moreCollege Parent News and Views


Making Your Parents’ Weekend Visit a Success

Parents’ Weekend may be your first opportunity to visit your freshman at his college.  Your first visit to your student’s new home away from home can feel like a momentous occasion.  You have an opportunity to be hosted at college by your student now that he has settled in.  It is an important step for your college student and for you.

Most, but not all, colleges offer a Parents’ Weekend or Family Weekend – most often scheduled in the fall.  Family members (often including grandparents and siblings) are invited to come to campus to visit for the weekend, or for a long weekend.  The college plans activities for family members, students actually clean their rooms, at some schools families may visit classes, and families and their students spend important time getting reacquainted.

Why Family Weekend matters

If Family Weekend is scheduled for late September or early October, it may feel as though your student just left for college.  For some families, it seems as though it has been forever since they’ve seen their student, and for other families it may seem very soon to be visiting. Colleges often schedule Family Weekend at this point while the weather is still nice, and well before students become involved in midterm exams and the very busy holiday and end of semester seasons.

Read moreMaking Your Parents’ Weekend Visit a Success


Book Review – What To Do When You’re New

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.

What to Do When You’re New: How to Be Comfortable, Confident, and Successful in New Situations is a book for parents and students alike.  We initially decided to review this book as something for parents to pass along to their students – as they begin college or move on to career.  However, we quickly discovered this is a useful book for parents as well.

As the author points out, we are all newcomers as various times in various settings.  Dr. Rollag’s information and tips will be helpful to everyone.  We suggest you give a copy to your student, and keep a copy for yourself as well.  Read it together and talk about it.

According to the author, “the secret to newcomer success is no secret at all.  It mostly comes down to our willingness and ability to do five key things: 1) Introduce ourselves to strangers, 2) Learn and remember names, 3) Ask questions, 4) Seek out and start new relationships, 5) Perform new things in front of others.”  After an early overview, the Dr. Rollag proceeds in Part 2 to devote a chapter to each of these skills.

Read moreBook Review – What To Do When You’re New