Information for the parents of college students
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Posts from — April 2009

Why Summer Orientation Is Important for Your College Freshman

If your student’s college provides a summer orientation session for incoming students, your student should definitely plan to attend.  At many colleges summer orientation is mandatory, and for good reason.  Although your student has probably visited the campus during the selection process, perhaps multiple times, this may be your student’s first introduction to the college as an official student.  He will look at the school differently, he will be treated differently, and both he and the school may have different expectations than when he visited as an applicant.

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April 30, 2009   No Comments

Undecided Students: How Can You Help? – Part 2

This is the second of two posts that consider students who enter college without declaring a major. In the first post, we considered reasons why your college student might feel undecided at the beginning of college. In this post we look at some ways in which you might help your student explore some options.

Once you’ve begun to think about why your student might be undecided about a major, you will recognize that the work of coming to a decision about a potential major will need to be done by your student.  But you may wonder whether there is anything that you can do to help and support him in the process.  The answer is yes!

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April 29, 2009   No Comments

Undecided Students: Who Are They? – Part 1

This is the first of two posts which consider students who enter college without declaring a major.

Many students enter college undecided about their major.  Many students who enter college as undecided students worry that they are undecided.  Many students who enter college declaring a major are really undecided.

Some students may be unwilling, unable, or unready to make a choice of an area of study at the point when they enter college.  If she can see this as an opportunity, rather than a problem, your student will keep many doors open as she explores and gathers information during her first year.

As the parent of a college student you can help your student as he moves toward making what he may feel is one of the most important decisions in his life.  It may help if you try to understand why your student may be undecided and reassure him that beginning his college career as an undecided (or undeclared) major may be just fine.  (If it is the policy of your student’s school that he must declare a major when he enters, then you might remind him, even as he begins, that he will find that he may change his mind as he learns more about both his intended major and himself.)

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April 28, 2009   No Comments

College Lingo for College Parents: Talk the Talk! – Part 4

We’ve written three earlier posts about some of the college vocabulary it might be helpful for you to know. Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3.   Here is a fourth installment.

Every profession, activity, or area of interest has its own jargon or set of specialized vocabulary.  College is no different.  College administrators, faculty members and students develop a set of short-hand terms that can be confusing to those not familiar with them.  As a college parent, you may be surprised at how quickly your college student will pick up the appropriate lingo.

If your college student slips into “college-speak” and you don’t understand what she is talking about – ask!  She may express impatience, but she’ll probably explain.  However, if you want to be able to at least begin to talk-the-talk, here are five more terms to get you started.  Please remember that there may be some variation in the use of these terms at various institutions.

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April 27, 2009   1 Comment

Parenting Your College Transfer Student: Supporting Your New Transfer Student

This is the third in a series of posts about the process of transferring to a new college.  Our first two posts considered the decision to transfer and the process of transferring.  This post looks at settling in to the new institution.

 A transfer to a new college is a fresh start.  Much like entering college as a new, first-year student, this fresh start can be both exciting and intimidating.  As a college parent, you can help your student make this adjustment smoothly.

Be supportive of your student as he goes through a transition period.  Help him be prepared for a time of adjustment.  Yes, he is familiar with college life, but his new college may be very different from his old institution.  He may feel out of place at first.  He will have an “in between” status for a while.  He is not a brand new freshman, but he is new and unfamiliar with things.  This will pass, but he needs to be prepared to give it some time.  He can’t assume that things will be done in the same way as they were in his old school.  Encourage him to ask questions often.

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April 24, 2009   1 Comment

Parenting Your College Transfer Student: Navigating the Transfer Process

In our last post, we considered some ways in which you might help your college student think about a transfer to another college.  Here, we consider how to help your student through the actual transfer process itself.  Our next post will examine ways in which you can support your new transfer student.

 Once your college student has made a decision to transfer to another college, there are some important tasks to be done.

Gather lots of information about potential colleges and/or programs.

 Your student may know exactly where he wants to transfer, or he may be looking for the appropriate school.  The more information he can gather, the more smoothly the process will go.  One advantage that your student now has is the knowledge he has gained through the time he has spent at his current school.  As he thinks about the reasons for transferring, he will think of questions he wants to be sure that he asks at the new school.  What are his priorities?  What wasn’t working (if anything) at the current school?  Encourage him to take time to look carefully at the new institution.  Study the website.  Visit the school.  Stay overnight on campus if possible.  Talk to current students.  Meet with admissions or advising personnel at the new school. Ask lots of questions.

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April 23, 2009   6 Comments

Parenting Your College Transfer Student: The Decision to Transfer

Roughly 2.5 million college students every year transfer to a different school.  Statistics from the United States Department of Education suggest that close to 60% of college students will attend more than one school before they graduate.  While many students find just the right college and stay there for four years, these statistics suggest that there is a good chance that your college student may consider a transfer to another college at some point during his college career.

While the overall transfer rate in the United States may be going up, if your child decides to transfer, the process is a major event for him.  Even though others may be going through the same process, it does not lessen the impact of the decision for your individual student.  Obviously, for some students who attend 2 year institutions, the decision may not be whether to transfer, but rather where to transfer. For other students, the decision is more difficult because a transfer may be an option.  Your student will need to go through a process of deciding whether or not a transfer is the right answer for him.  If he does decide to make a change, he will need to deal with the actual process of transferring, and finally he’ll need to make the transfer work once it happens.  This post considers some of the reasons that college students consider transferring to another institution and how you can help with the process.

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April 22, 2009   2 Comments

College Students Choose Interesting Approach to Global Warming

From time to time, an interesting idea or story may come along that gives us, as parents, insight into our students.  An interesting item in the Boston Globe recently reported on some college students’ approach to saving our environment.

 The University of Rhode Island recently hired an energy services company to conduct an experiment regarding students’ behavior around some wasteful energy habits.  The school chose three habits common on campus: leaving computers on when they weren’t being used, keeping heat or air conditioners on when no one was in the room, and taking excessively long showers. 

 The university then set out to conduct a semester long program to see if they could change student behavior in these areas. They asked students to pledge to reduce energy consumption and then they posted reminders in dorms. They concluded that, in the area of environmental conservation, college students may be teachable!

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April 21, 2009   2 Comments

College Lingo for College Parents: Talk the Talk! – Part 3

We’ve written two earlier posts about some of the college vocabulary it might be helpful for you to know. Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.   Here is a third installment.

Every profession, activity, or area of interest has its own jargon or set of specialized vocabulary.  College is no different.  College administrators, faculty members and students develop a set of short-hand terms that can be confusing to those not familiar with them.  As a college parent, you may be surprised at how quickly your college student will pick up the appropriate lingo.

If your college student slips into “college-speak” and you don’t understand what she is talking about – ask!  She may express impatience, but she’ll probably explain.  However, if you want to be able to at least begin to talk-the-talk, here are five more terms to get you started.  Please remember that there may be some variation in the use of these terms at various institutions.

[Read more →]

April 20, 2009   No Comments

College Parent Orientation: A Key Beginning

Most colleges hold orientation sessions for incoming students – whether a day long event or an overnight during the summer, or an event held a few days before the semester starts in the fall.  However, many colleges now also offer orientations for the parents of those college students.  This may be a day long event or even an overnight event.  If your child’s college conducts an orientation for parents, you should definitely take advantage of it if possible.

Holding a special orientation for parents is recognition on the part of many colleges of the importance of your continued role in your student’s education.  Colleges hold these orientation sessions to help you learn more about how you can most productively help your student, and to help you learn more about the place where your son or daughter will be spending so much time.

Reasons why you should attend Parent Orientation

There are several important reasons to attend the Parent Orientation session offered by your child’s school.

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April 17, 2009   No Comments