Information for the parents of college students

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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

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 30, 2016   No Comments

Should My Student Take Advantage of Test Optional College Admission Policies?

An increasing number of colleges in the United States are becoming what they term “test optional.”  Still other schools may be “test flexible” or even “test blind.”  These terms are not exactly the same thing, and it is important that your student know the difference and consider carefully what each might mean for him.

What do test optional, test flexible, and test blind mean?

According to Fairtest.org, a non-profit organization which maintains a database of schools, more than 850 four-year colleges in the United States are “test optional.”  This means that the student may decide whether or not to send test scores as part of his admission packet. If he decides to send scores, he may decide which scores to send.  Schools which are “test flexible,” ask students to submit test scores, but the student may decide whether to send scores from the SAT, ACT, AP exam, International Baccalaureate, or SAT subject tests.  Other schools use a “test blind” policy and choose not to consider test scores even if students send them.

Schools opting for the emerging trend of the test optional approach include a wide range of sizes, mission, and selectivity, but many tend to be liberal arts colleges with a more holistic approach to admission.  More than 1/3 of liberal arts colleges have adopted this approach.  Many of the schools who have adopted test optional policies have done so out of a concern about an over-reliance on standardized testing and/or to increase the diversity of their applicant base.  According to Fairtest.org, “test scores do not equal merit.”  Many schools feel that high school performance is a better indicator of college success than standardized test scores.

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July 19, 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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June 30, 2016   No Comments

Why Your Student Should Have a Personal Departure Plan from College

The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have it right.  Be Prepared.  In so many situations, it’s important to have a plan that you hope you’ll never need.  Arming your student with a plan for how to proceed in an emergency means less anxiety for both your student and you.  Hopefully, it’s a plan your student will never need, but he knows he’s prepared – just in case.  Take time to talk with your student about his plan, work on it together, and make sure that you both know the details – just in case.

Evacuation plans

There are two general types of situations in which your student might need to leave campus quickly.  The first situation entails an instance when the campus might need to be evacuated by all students.  This might be a situation such as a weather emergency, an environmental threat, or other factor which affects all personnel at the college.

In the event of a general evacuation, the most important thing is for your student to carefully follow the instructions given by the institution.  Almost all schools now have carefully considered plans for evacuating their campus in an emergency.  Your student should look at the website or other material given to him by the college to make sure he knows what he is expected to do and how he will receive information.

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June 6, 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.
[Read more →]

May 30, 2016   No Comments