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

Helping Your College Student Select a Meal Plan

If your college student will be living on campus, one of the decisions she may need to make is choosing a meal plan.  The policies and options for meal plans vary from school to school.  They are often mandatory for resident students and may be offered as an option for commuters.  They usually involve a prepaid account from which your student draws for meals.  She will probably have a meal card (which may be her college ID card) which she will swipe each time she purchases a meal.

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May 29, 2009   No Comments

Summer Preparations For Your College Student’s Transition to Freshman Year.

The SAT’s are done, the college visits are done, the applications submitted, the acceptances received, the deposit paid.  Your student is headed off to college in the fall.  It’s a wonderful – and a stressful – time for everyone.  The time between high school graduation in the spring and arrival at college in the fall goes by quickly and yet may seem at times interminable.  There is a lot going on.

There are some things that you, and your college student, can do during the summer to make the transition to college go much more smoothly in the fall.  This is the beginning of your new role as a college parent – that of a coach or mentor.  Summer is a great time to try out the new role.

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May 28, 2009   4 Comments

College Students and Credit Cards – Part 2

Numbers can tell us a lot, and it is important that we consider the sometimes surprising numbers regarding college student use of credit cards.  In our previous post, we looked at some of the current statistics regarding student credit card use.  In this post, we consider not only the numbers, but also what parents might do to help their college students to understand and work with their credit cards.

 It is clear when we look at some of the numbers surrounding college student credit card use that credit cards are an important part of college student life.  Students often have multiple cards and they use those cards to pay for everything from tuition, to textbooks, to food and clothing.  Many students carry a balance – which may be because of lack of understanding or from irresponsibility – but which also may be out of necessity.  Student credit card use mirrors what we are learning about American society’s use of credit cards.

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May 27, 2009   No Comments

College Students and Credit Cards – Part 1

This is the first of a two-part series regarding college students and their use of credit cards.  This post attempts to give an overview of student credit card use by presenting some statistics taken from Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends of Undergraduate Student Credit Card Use released in April 2009.  In our next post, we’ll discuss how parents can help students think about their use of credit.

 Most college students use credit cards. Credit has become a part of the fabric of college life.  Many college students use credit cards out of necessity, and many college students use credit cards wisely, but college student debt is mounting.  Many parents of college students who are over 18 may not know whether their student has a credit card, or multiple credit cards, or whether their student is carrying a balance.

The following are some statistics which may give college parents pause to do some thinking about their student’s use of credit. These statistics were released in a recent study by Sallie Mae conducted in the spring of 2008, regarding college students and credit cards.  You may find some of these facts surprising.

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May 26, 2009   No Comments

Ten Things To Do If You Need To Call Your Child’s College

As a college parent you’ve listened to all of the advice and you’re working hard to help your college student gain independence and responsibility.  You encourage her to handle her own problems and talk to the appropriate contact people at the college when she has questions or problems.  But something has come up and you feel that it is absolutely necessary for you to step in and talk to someone at the school.  What do you do now?

Here are ten things to consider that will make your phone call effective.

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May 22, 2009   2 Comments

Your Role As a College Parent: Sideline Coach – Part 3

This is the third part in a three part series about acting as a coach to your college student. . In our first  post we considered the shift in our role as our student heads off to college.  In the second post, we heard some advice from some of the world’s outstanding coaches, and considered how it applies to college parenting. In this post, we consider some specific tips for coaching your student through the college years.

 If you’ve read the first two posts in this series, you may be ready by now to embrace your role as a coach to your college student.  Good for you.  But you may wonder just how you will do that.  How do you coach from afar?  What do you need to do to coach him on to success?

 We’d like to offer five coaching suggestions for parents of college students.

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May 21, 2009   No Comments

Your Role As a College Parent: Part 2 – Coaching Inspiration

This is the second part in a three part series about acting as a coach to your college student. In our previous post we considered the shift in our role as our student heads off to college.  In this post, we’ll listen to some advice from some of the world’s outstanding coaches, and consider how it applies to college parenting.

 Many of the world’s greatest athletes credit their success to the influence of their coaches.  They recognize that, while they may have certain abilities, they need the teaching, insight, and training that a quality coach can provide.  This post is intended to inspire you in your new role as coach.  You may have thought of yourself in this role before, as your child went through high school; you may have been, or currently are, an athletic coach –  or this may be a new image for you.  Either way, let’s explore some of the wisdom of the world’s greatest coaches and consider what it means to be a great coach.

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May 20, 2009   No Comments

Your Role As a College Parent: Sideline Coach – Part 1

This is the first part in a three part series about acting in a new role as a coach for your college student.

 As your child heads off to college you are probably experiencing many emotions.  That is not only natural, it is a good thing.  It means that you recognize the enormity of the step that your child is taking as he enters that first year of college.  Remember how it felt when he headed to kindergarten, or got behind the wheel of the car for the first time?  In many ways, this new phase is similar.

 It is important to remember that this is a new stage, not only for your child, but for you as well.  As the parent of a college freshman, your role is changing in significant ways.  We know that this is an important time of transition for our college student, but we’re often so busy focusing on our son or daughter that we forget that this is a transition for us as well. 

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May 19, 2009   No Comments

Should My College Student Have a Car on Campus?

Cars.  Many of us spend a great deal of our time in them.  Our teenagers can’t wait until they can get their license and gain some independence.  Some surveys tell us that as many as 70% of college-age students own or have access to cars.  Cars have certainly 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 it is important for your student to have a car on campus.  Of course, it is possible that this may not be a decision that you will have to make during the first year.  More and more colleges are prohibiting first-year students from bringing cars to school.  Obviously, if your student is commuting to college then whether or not to have a car may not be an issue.  But many college families will need to give thought to the issue of whether or not to take a car to campus.

There are several reasons why many schools are telling their first-year students to leave their cars at home.

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May 18, 2009   7 Comments

What Is a College Articulation Agreement?

If your child is beginning college at a community college or other two year institution, you may hear college officials talk about having an Articulation Agreement with one or more four year institutions.  An Articulation Agreement is an officially approved agreement between two institutions, which allows a student to apply credits earned in specific programs at one institution toward advanced standing, entry or transfer into a specific program at the other institution.

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May 15, 2009   No Comments