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

College Parents Can Help Freshmen Understand the Differences Between High School and College

Both you and your almost college freshman have been looking forward to the start of college for a long time.  Both you and he are excited, emotional, and most likely a bit nervous.  One of the concerns that many students and their parents share is wondering whether the student will be able to succeed in his schoolwork at the college level.  You know that he is capable, he’s done well in high school, he’s anxious to do well, but you still have some concerns.  The world of college is a new arena – with new approaches, new expectations, and new standards.

You can help your college student make a good start in college by helping him to consider some of the differences between high school and college.  College will not simply be “more of the same thing” as high school.  One of the secrets to success in college for some of the best students is that they make the adjustment to the differences.  Here are some of the things that you and your college freshman might think about as she prepares for her first semester.

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July 30, 2009   1 Comment

How College Parents Can Help Their College Student Avoid Sophomore Slump

This is the second of two posts on the phenomenon of sophomore slump, the difficulty that many students experience during their second year of college.  In the first post we examined some of the reasons that students may encounter a slump.  In this post, we look specifically at some things that parents can do to help their students during this time.

Once our college students complete that tumultuous first year of college, they face their sophomore year and the changes that it brings.  As college parents, we can help our sophomore students by realizing that, for many students, the concept of sophomore slump really does exist.  Our sophomore students may need just as much support from home, even though that need may be less obvious.

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July 28, 2009   No Comments

Will My College Student Experience A Sophomore Slump?

This is the first of two posts on the phenomenon of sophomore slump, the difficulty that many students experience during their second year of college.  In this post we will examine some of the reasons that students may encounter a slump.  In our next post, we’ll look specifically at some things that parents can do to help their students during this time.

College administrators and faculty, and college parents, place a lot of emphasis on the transition to college and the first-year experience.  We all know that these new college students, and their parents, will be undergoing a tremendous transition as they enter the world of college.  Colleges run orientation programs, offer special classes and seminars for first-year students, communicate directly with these new students with encouragement and reminders, and often have a “let it go” attitude when new students make mistakes or miss deadlines.

Once our college students complete that tumultuous first year of college, they face their sophomore year and the changes that it brings.  As college parents, we can help our sophomore students by realizing that the concept of sophomore slump really does exist.  Our sophomore students may need just as much support from home, even though that need may be less obvious.

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July 26, 2009   No Comments

Parents Can Stay On Top Of College News

When your student enters college, you enter a new world.  Suddenly, the news of what is happening on college campuses and in college offices seems much more relevant than it did a few short months ago.  While you are most interested in your student, and your student’s specific college, you may find news of other happenings and trends in the college world of interest.

If you’d like to stay abreast of the latest in college news, there’s a newsreader that may be of interest to you.  Check out www.thecampusbuzz.com.  If you subscribe, they’ll send you the latest college related news each day.

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July 25, 2009   No Comments

Why You Should Encourage Your College Student to Use Her College E-Mail

Our college students are members of the internet generation.  They live with social media, and they use the internet for their source of music and entertainment.  However, many of today’s college students do not turn to e-mail as a source of communication.  Most students do have an e-mail account, but many don’t check it often.  If they want to reach their friends, they text, or tweet, or post on Facebook or some other social media site.  In spite of this, most colleges assign students an official e-mail account, and use that account to communicate important information to the student.  Encouraging your student to begin to check her college e-mail account frequently will ensure that she doesn’t miss important information.

Here are some important reminders about why it is important for your student to use her college e-mail account.

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July 23, 2009   No Comments

How Parents Can Help College Students Understand General Education Requirements

Most colleges require students to take a certain number of courses across the disciplines.  These courses, known as General Education Requirements, or sometimes Liberal Arts Requirements, are the courses that students must take, in addition to the courses in their major, to graduate.  General education requirements may vary from school to school.  Some schools are very broad in their requirements, while other schools may be very specific.  Whether the requirements are broad or specific, general education requirements are designed to help students expand their perspectives.

 Many students dislike the idea of having to take courses across the spectrum in college and want to focus solely on their major or the areas in which they are interested.  Students become impatient and dissatisfied with their general education requirements, and many see them as “hoops” they must jump through in order to graduate.  Parents can help students view their general education courses as opportunities rather than barriers.  Conversations with parents can help students understand why the school may require them to explore things outside of their major.

 Here are some of the reasons why colleges require general education or liberal arts courses, as well as some ways that parents can help students think about these courses.

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July 21, 2009   1 Comment

College Parents Can Help Freshmen Overcome First Semester Challenges

As your college student heads off for freshman year, you know that there will be challenges ahead – both for him and for you.  This is a year of transition for everyone.  The challenges facing your student will exist in many areas, and you may feel that you will be unable to help him face his challenges if you are not there with him.  It is true that your student must do the work of college, but you will provide an important and necessary support system for him as he copes with his new life.

Some students will find reasonable challenges in many areas of their new life, and some students will find smooth sailing in several areas and massive challenges in other areas.  In this post, we’ll consider nine major areas in which many college students encounter challenges during their first semester transition to college.  Parents can consider how they can best help their student gain mastery and independence in these areas.

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July 19, 2009   No Comments

Book Review: Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years

There are many good books and resources available for college parents.  Each book takes a slightly different approach to the process of sending your child off to college – and surviving the transition.  We’ve provided a Resources and Tools page for suggestions.  However, in addition to providing titles, we’d like to introduce you to some of the books.  We plan to review one book each month over the next several months.  We hope this will give you some insight into the books, and provide guidance as you choose some titles to read.

In this first review, we’ll look at one of the seminal titles in college parenting: Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger.  This book is a comprehensive, thoughtful, and practical guide for parents of college students or soon-to-be college students.  In fact, it would be most helpful to read this book during a student’s junior year in high school as it covers the college application process as well as the transition to college itself.

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July 16, 2009   No Comments

How Parents Can Help Make College Move-In Day A Success

After all of the months, and years, of preparing, it’s finally here!  As college move-in day approaches, parents recognize the reality of having their student actually head off to college.  Somehow, you know your student will eventually get packed, you will manage to fit everything in the car, and your student will finally end up settled in his room. But the process may seem daunting.

Move-in day will go more smoothly if you have prepared well at home.  You can help your student be organized about packing and preparing for the big move.  However, no matter how well prepared you are, move-in day will be a new experience for all of you.

Your student’s college may send you some information ahead of time, and they will probably do everything they can to help you navigate the day, but here are some suggestions that may help to make the day – and the transition – go more smoothly.

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July 14, 2009   2 Comments

Preparing For Your College Freshman’s Move To College

As you and your college student navigate your way through the summer before heading off to college, you will have many ups and downs.  There is much to be done, and tensions may run high at times.  It is a summer of excitement and emotion.  There are several things that you can do throughout the summer to help to ease the transition to college.  However, as the actual move-in day approaches, there are some specific things that you, as a college parent to be, can do to help the move go smoothly.

  • Be informed. Read all of the material that you have received from the college.  Don’t be caught off guard at the last minute because you’ve forgotten something urgent.  Know college policies.  Can your student bring a microwave or refrigerator?  Are pets allowed?  What is the college alcohol policy?  Can he bring his own bed or mattress?  How much extra furniture is allowed? [Read more →]

July 13, 2009   No Comments