Information for the parents of college students
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Posts from — May 2010

Tutoring Can Help Your College Student Succeed: Twelve Reasons to Start Early

College parenting means being concerned about many things when your student heads off to school.  Naturally, one of the major areas of focus is your student’s academic success. You want your student to learn.  You want your student to get good grades.  You want your student to take the appropriate courses to be able to find a good job or get into a good graduate program.

Working with a good advisor will help your student make the course and schedule choices that are appropriate.  Learning in those courses and achieving good grades includes many factors. Some of the most successful students may be those who have mastered three important skills.  They understand the differences between high school work and college level work; they have learned the skill of good time management; and they seek the support or help that they may need early in the game.

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May 31, 2010   2 Comments

When the College Experience Hits a Roadblock: Helping Your College Student Deal with Dissatisfaction

College parenting begins, for many parents, during the application and admission process.  We help keep track of deadlines, we arrange college visits, we support through the SAT exams, we read admissions essays, and we support our students through the acceptance wait and the final decision.  Then we enter the next phase of helping our student get ready to head to college and make the transition.  We know our role changes during the many phases of the college years, but we assume that we’ll settle in and enjoy the ride – even if there are a few bumps along the way.

However, for an increasing number of students, the college experience may come with a certain amount of disappointment, disillusionment and dissatisfaction. Things simply may not be working.   Students may turn to parents once again to help decide what to do next.  For some students, the problem may be in making the adjustment to college life or in being unprepared for the experience.  For others, academics are overwhelming and help is needed. Still other students may question whether they made the “right” choice of college or major.  They may feel that a change will help.

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May 27, 2010   No Comments

Why Your College Student Should Consider an Internship

Students have participated in internships for years.  Apprenticeships or on-the-job training are tried and true methods of mentoring and teaching students or workers a new trade or profession.  In recent years, however, the number of college students participating in internship opportunities continues to grow as more and more schools offer structured programs and more and more employers expect graduates to have real world experience.  As a college parent, it is important that you understand, and help your student to understand, the importance of experiencing an internship while he is in school.

What exactly is an internship?

Not all jobs qualify as internships.  Although internships may take many forms, the purpose of an internship is to provide a meaningful learning experience for the student.  It is possible that the work done during an internship may still be menial, but it should be meaningful in helping the student understand the job, profession, or field.  An internship may take place during the academic year or during the summer.  Some students may even apply for an internship after graduation.

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May 23, 2010   No Comments

Book Review: Sending Your Child to College – The Prepared Parent’s Operational Manual

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.

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  In this review, we’re taking a look at Sending Your Child to College: the Prepared Parent’s Operational Manual by Marie Pinak Carr and her daughters, Katharine Carr, Ann Carr, and Elizabeth Carr.  This book, aptly named a manual, is full of practical information and helpful charts and forms for parents to use as they help their student get ready to head off to college.

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May 19, 2010   No Comments

Is Your Student’s College Dorm Room Too Comfortable?

College dorms are not what they used to be.  In fact, at many colleges and universities, they are no longer referred to as dormitories, but are residence halls.  Dormitory sounds too old fashioned and austere.  Most college residence halls today are anything but austere.

When students and parents take college tours, one of the first things that they ask to see is a typical college room.  Colleges boast about the living arrangements and amenities in their residence halls.  Clearly, living arrangements are important – and they should be.  The college residence hall may serve as your student’s home for four years.  You want your student to be comfortable and happy.  You are paying a lot of money, not only for the education your student will receive, but also for his comfortable living arrangement.

So how, then, could a dorm room be too comfortable?  It’s not the comfort itself that is a problem, it’s the fact that the dorm room may be so comfortable and convenient that your student may not want to, or need to, leave.  College packing lists remind you to be sure to purchase and bring all of the things your student will need – not only the sheets and towels and desk lamp, but the stereo or i-pod speakers, the TV, the microwave, refrigerator and computer.

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May 16, 2010   No Comments

Are College Extracurricular Activities Really “Extra”? Why Your Student Should Participate.

Many high school students participate in numerous extracurricular activities.  For some high school students, these extracurricular activities are what keep them active and interested in school.  Many high school students participate in extracurricular activities because they reflect their true interests.  Some high school students, however, participate in extracurricular activities because they know that college will consider these activities when they review their admission applications.

Once these high school students reach college, they may feel that they no longer “need” to participate in extracurricular activities.  However, participation in activities outside of the classroom may prove to be equally as important as what happens in the classroom.   Most colleges express the mission to develop the whole student, to take a holistic approach to helping the student become a well-rounded, mature individual.  Colleges recognize that much of this process happens outside of the classroom.

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May 13, 2010   No Comments

Why Has My First-Year College Student Been Assigned Summer Reading?

Your soon-to-be college student may have received her first homework assignment well before she showed up on campus.  For many incoming freshman, their first assignment is a bit of summer reading. Your student may be asked to read an assigned book prior to Orientation, or she may be given the assignment at a Summer Orientation and asked to read the book before school begins in September.  At some schools students are given a copy of the book, while at other schools students are asked to purchase their own copy.

If your student was not expecting a summer assignment, he may be surprised – and even annoyed at having to do work over the summer.  As a parent, you may also be wondering why your student needs to get this “head start” before the first semester even begins.  Colleges have many different reasons for assigning summer reading and different approaches for dealing with the book once the students arrive on campus.

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May 9, 2010   1 Comment

How to Help Your College Student Use the Summer Months Wisely

As a college parent, you may be looking forward to the summer months, and your student’s return home from college, with mixed emotions.  You’ve missed your student while she was away, and you are anxious to spend time with her again.  However, you recognize that she’s been on her own for months now, and you’re not sure what to expect.  Parents and students who worked hard to make the off-to-college transition, must now work at a new transition to living together once again.  There will be adjustments for everyone.

In addition to the adjustments that everyone will need to make regarding living together once again, college students may be faced with the question of what to do during these summer months.  Some students may have a job lined up – perhaps the same job that they had before they went away.  Others may still be unsure of what the next few months will bring.

Certainly, most students are looking forward to a well-deserved break from school work and routine.    However, this doesn’t mean that the summer months are not important, and hopefully productive, months for your college student.  After your student has had an opportunity to catch up on some sleep, eat a few home-cooked meals, and do some laundry, it may be time to have a conversation about a plan for the summer.

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May 5, 2010   No Comments