Posts from — February 2010
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 created lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Check out our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.
In this review, we’ll take a look at I’ll Miss You Too: An Off-to-College Guide for Parents and Students
by Margo E. Bane Woodacre and Steffany Bane. This mother-daughter pair has teamed up to write a book that is useful for both parents and their students. It is a good book to read together – and hopefully have it prompt some conversations.
The most unique feature about this book is its personal nature. Neither author is a college expert, but both have lived the college experience – as parent and student. Both mother and daughter describe how each saw, felt, and learned from the various experiences of the college transition period. The two points of view represent both sides of the transition. The book starts with the senior year of high school and continues through the senior year in college, focusing a chapter on each phase along the way. Stories in the book draw on the personal journeys of both mother and daughter, as well as a few experiences shared by other families and college counselors. [Read more →]
February 25, 2010 No Comments
The Olympic Games are a marvel. Once every few years we are able to watch the best in the world doing what they do. They put everything on the line, give everything that they have – and they do it publicly. When they succeed, there is nothing like the thrill of that moment. When they do not, to say that they are disappointed is completely inadequate.
As parents, most of us love nothing better than to see our children succeed at whatever they attempt. Sometimes, however, they will not. It is easy to celebrate with your child when he is successful. It is heart wrenching to support your child through her disappointment. As parents, we can make the difference in how our students face and deal with their disappointment. Our children have dealt with disappointments all of their lives, but as they face college acceptances or rejections, and some of the potential disappointments facing them in college, the stakes seem somehow higher. They will get in to their choice of college – or not. They may receive adequate financial aid (perhaps merit aid) – or not. They may get into the classes they want, or the major they want – or not. They may make the team, or the play, or the assistantship – or not. [Read more →]
February 23, 2010 No Comments
If the college acceptance letters have just begun to come in, congratulations! You are now officially a college parent. You are excited for your student, and possibly a bit overwhelmed for yourself. You’re not sure what you should be thinking about, or doing, or how to help your student prepare for the next phase.
Here at College Parent Central we believe that the more information you have, the better you will be able to support your college student as he navigates his new experiences. But the problem with lots of information is that it can feel overwhelming. Here are a few posts that we think might be a good starting point. You’ll want to read more specific information later, but if you’re a new college parent, these posts should help you think about your new role and help you get started on your journey. Congratulations!
February 18, 2010 1 Comment
High school seniors wait anxiously for that all important college acceptance letter. Parents of those high school seniors wait just as anxiously for that all important financial aid letter. Everyone agrees that college is expensive these days, and most of us need financial help to be able to afford it. The financial aid letter which your student receives from his college may include several different types of aid. Although understanding the finer points of these different types of aid and loans may at times seem like a full time job, it is important to have a general understanding of the different types of help your student’s school may offer.
How do schools determine aid?
Most schools use the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form to determine your financial need. The FAFSA is filled out and filed with the federal government and the information is sent to the schools that you request. The FAFSA is available in January of each year and can be completed on-line. The federal government is working to make the FAFSA a bit simpler each year.
February 16, 2010 No Comments
This is the second of two posts about parent participation in admissions visits to colleges. The college visit is an important part of the college admissions process, but parents may not be sure how best to participate in and maximize that visit. Our first post suggested some things parents should think about as they prepare for and make the college visit. This post offers some specific suggestions for getting both parents and students started thinking about productive questions to ask during a visit.
Some possible questions regarding student concerns:
Here are some suggestions of questions your student might want to ask – or you might want to ask if your student won’t. (Remember, there are no right or wrong answers – just information to be gathered.)
February 11, 2010 No Comments
This is the first of two posts about parent participation in admissions visits to colleges. The college visit is an important part of the college admissions process, but parents may not be sure how best to participate in and maximize that visit. This first post suggests some things parents should think about as they prepare for and make the college visit. Our next post offers some specific suggestions to get both parents and students started thinking about productive questions to ask during a visit.
One of the most important steps in the college admissions process is the campus visit. Your student will need to see and get a feeling for a campus before making a final decision about whether a school is right for him. Although the decision ultimately belongs to the student, as a parent, you also need to feel comfortable about the school. Asking questions during the admissions visit is a great way to gather some of the information that you need to feel comfortable. However, as with so many other considerations in the college process, parents walk a find line between being helpful and becoming intrusive.
Remember that the admissions process really does belong to your student. It is important that you have a certain level of involvement, and provide a great deal of support, but it is crucial that you keep reminding yourself that it is not your process. This is equally true of the campus visit. While it is important that you go along if possible, your student is the person who needs to make the final decision. What seems like the absolutely ideal environment to you may just not feel right to your student. There is a reality to the chemistry that happens when a certain campus just plain “feels right”. However, even though you may be peripheral to this visit, there are some important ways in which you can be involved.
February 9, 2010 2 Comments
As a college parent, you probably have very little influence over the amount of time your college student spends studying. That is appropriate, as you begin to allow your student to gain independence and control over his choices and decisions. However, you might help your student understand the importance of investing enough time in his work in order to do well. As a parent, you may be able to help your student think through the realities of how he spends his time. Then, of course, it will be your job to step back and let him find his way.
The college experience is about more than just coursework. College is a time to meet new people, experience new things, and work at gaining independence. But college is also about classes, exams, studying, working with professors, and, hopefully, gaining a wealth of useful knowledge and new ways of thinking. In order for students to succeed, they need to put in the time. Unfortunately, many students either do not understand the amount of time necessary to do well in college, or they do not prioritize the amount of time they need to spend studying.
What is expected?
The general rule of thumb regarding college studying is, and has been for a long time, that for each class, students should spend approximately 2-3 of study time for each hour that they spend in class. Many students carry a course load of 15 credits, or approximately 15 hours of class time each week. Doing some simple math indicates that your student should be spending roughly 30 hours of study time and 15 hours in class. This 45 hours is the equivalent of a full time job – the reason that your student is called a full time student. For many students, this number is a surprise.
February 4, 2010 6 Comments
The college application process consumes much of a high school student’s junior and senior years. Your student has been focused on the application process through SAT prep time, tests, possible AP courses, college visits, deciding where to apply, filling out applications, writing admissions essays, requesting recommendation letters, applying for scholarships. It’s been overwhelming and all-consuming. As a parent, you’ve been more or less involved in the process – perhaps keeping track of important dates, planning and driving to college visits, helping with decisions and applications, and dealing with financial matters.
But now it is mid senior year. The applications have been sent. The FAFSA and other financial applications have been filed. Unless your student was one of the lucky students who was admitted through early action or early decision, there is nothing left for you, and your student, to do but wait. It’s a difficult time. You’ve both been so busy and focused for so long that it is difficult – perhaps almost impossible – to stop doing.
February 2, 2010 No Comments
Your college student is settling in to the second semester of the year. Whether your student is in her first year of school or further along in her college career, the second semester has its own rhythms. Most students are already settled in their rooms or apartments, clubs and activities may be in full swing. However, courses are probably new and there is a feeling of a fresh start. As the semester progresses, students begin to look toward next year – more settling in, possible study abroad or internship, perhaps graduation.
Here are a few posts that may be particularly helpful at this point in the college year. We hope you find them helpful.
February 1, 2010 No Comments