Posts from — April 2010
College parenting is difficult. Anyone who has a student headed to college, in college, or recently out of college has realized just how difficult the college parenting job can be. One of the most difficult things about this phase of parenting is feeling helpless at times as you watch your student struggle with something. One of the times when we often see this happening is during that stressful end-of semester period. Parents may see and hear their student experiencing what appears to be a meltdown in response to the pressure and stress that occurs at the end of the semester.
We’ve written an earlier post about helping your student through that end-of-semester push. Although we may often feel helpless, parents can be helpful and supportive in several ways. In this post, we’d like to examine the end-of-semester stress a bit more closely. It may be helpful for us, as parents, to be reminded of exactly what students are feeling and experiencing at this point in the college year.
What causes student stress?
The stress that students feel as the end of the semester nears is very real and is often overwhelming. And this stress is felt by both the best students and struggling students alike. Students often realize that there is more left to do than they realized. They recognize that they may have procrastinated on some projects more than they thought. They worry about deadlines, final papers, projects, presentations, and final exams.
April 29, 2010 1 Comment
Colleges and college parents have at least one thing in common – they want college students to succeed. For some students, that success may depend on accommodations to help them accomplish their goals. If you think that your college student may need some alterations to his living or learning environment to be successful, then it is important that you understand the framework in which colleges operate concerning accommodations. You may feel that you are already familiar with regulations if you have dealt with accommodations throughout your child’s academic career, but it is possible that there are variations on the college level.
Some students, and their parents, are familiar with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which may have governed how their elementary or high school handled their needs. However, this act does not apply beyond secondary education. At the college level, two laws affect legal rights and requirements. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 applies to every public and private institution except those affiliated with religious organizations. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 applies to any entity that accepts federal financial assistance for any program or service. Both laws were enacted to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
April 25, 2010 1 Comment
Almost every college or university has an office dedicated to helping students find a career in which they are interested and to getting a job after college. Whether the office is called the Career Center, Career Services Office, Career Placement Office, or some other variation of the title, the function is similar everywhere. The variety of services offered by these offices is usually wide-ranging. Unfortunately, many students think of the Career Office as a place they should visit during that last semester of senior year as graduation looms and they realize that they won’t be returning to school in the fall. Students who learn early that the Career Office can help them, and who visit often at various stages of their college experience, are able to take full advantage of what this department has to offer.
What do Career Offices do?
Most Career Offices offer a variety of services for students. Some of these services are specifically designed to help students early in their college experiences as they work to decide on their interests, strengths, and abilities and to choose a major.
April 22, 2010 No Comments
For many college students and their parents, the finish line is in sight. Commencement is just around the corner. Students have worked hard to reach this final moment. Parents have been patient (most of the time), have supported, have worried, have encouraged (or downright scolded), have paid tuition again and again, and have possibly had moments when they wondered if this time would ever come.
But the season of Commencement is finally here, with all of the ceremony and pomp and circumstance that accompany it. Most college students have experienced a high school graduation, which may or may not have been as formal as college Commencement. Some students, and their parents, may be wondering what to expect, and what the experience will be like.
The format of commencement may vary according to the nature of the school, the size of the class, the weather, the location, or the particular traditions of the institution. However, many factors may be similar no matter where the ceremony occurs. Commencement is seen as the capstone experience of the student’s academic career. It is a dignified, formal occasion and marks the formal action of conferring and receiving academic degrees. Degrees are conferred on the candidates by the presiding officer (usually the college president) after they have been recommended or presented by another official (often a dean or provost).
April 18, 2010 No Comments
As a society, we want to label each generation. We’ve labeled generations as Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Millennial. Some have labeled the current generation as Generation Apathetic. Whether or not you think these labels apply globally, many of today’s current college students are apathetic about their college experiences. They see college as a phase through which they must move or an archaic pre-requisite for getting a job. They see college as a “spectator sport” which should require little of them. They approach college with a consumer mentality or market thinking – they see education as a product which their (or your) tuition dollars are purchasing. They are interested in a fast, cheap, degree.
These are some tough accusations.
Of course, there are many students who do not fit into any of the above categories. They are engaged, active, and truly vested in their education. They want to get the most that they can from their education, and they want to contribute to the world. Unfortunately, however, there are more students who suffer from apathy than we may realize. As a parent, you might consider whether your student fits into this category at all – and whether you can help him adjust his thinking.
April 15, 2010 1 Comment
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 our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.
Richard Light’s book, Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds is slightly different from many of the other books we recommend for college parent reading. This book was not written specifically for college parents, but is of value and interest to parents, students, and college faculty and administrators alike. It is this universal appeal that is perhaps one of the most unique and valuable aspects of this book.
Making the Most of College does not specifically help parents with the college transition process or with dealing specifically with their college student. What this book does do is give parents valuable insight into the world of college and into the minds of college students.
April 11, 2010 No Comments
Congratulations! Your college student has worked hard, you’ve stood by and supported him, and he’s almost made it to the finish line. Commencement is around the corner. But what if he’s almost there, but not quite? Does that mean that participating in graduation ceremonies is out of the question? Or that he’ll need to wait another year? The answer is – that depends. It depends on what your student still has left to do, and it depends on the college or university policy.
Each college establishes its own policy regarding who may participate in commencement ceremonies. Some institutions will allow students to participate if they are within a very few credits of completion, and other schools will not allow students to participate until they have completed all requirements. In some cases, it may depend on how soon the next ceremony may be. Schools that have only one graduation ceremony a year, rather than an additional summer or winter ceremony, may be more willing to allow a student to participate if he is close to finishing. Most likely, a student would need to be within three to six credits of completing his degree.
April 8, 2010 No Comments
College Parent Central celebrated its first birthday on April 1, 2010. We’ve reached a milestone. Launching on April Fool’s Day in 2009 seemed somehow appropriate since we were not sure what to expect. We’re pleased to know that, in the past year, so many people have found the information here at College Parent Central helpful.
We believed a year ago, and we continue to believe even more firmly today, that parents have an important place in the college experience of their sons and daughters, but that many parents may need to learn how to be most helpful. We believe that the more that parents understand about the college experience the more supportive they can be.
April 4, 2010 3 Comments