Information for the parents of college students
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Posts from — January 2012

12 Topics Parents Should Cover to Help College Students Gain Financial Literacy

Paying for a college education requires a lot of financial planning.  Most parents begin thinking about how to finance college many years before a student is ready to embark on a college career.  Your college student may or may not be involved in this planning.   But whether or not your college student is involved in the bigger financial issues such as tuition and other college expenses, it is important that your student become financially literate in order to survive financially during and beyond the college years.

A growing national problem

Financial literacy involves the ability to read, manage, and communicate about personal finances and to have the skills and knowledge to make competent financial choices about banking, credit, insurance, taxes and investments.  How does your student stack up?  Most high school graduates don’t do very well.  High school student spending may create an unrealistic lifestyle.  Iowa State University tested high school seniors’ understanding of money management.  The average score was a 57% – a dramatically failing grade.

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January 26, 2012   No Comments

Is Your Student Heading to College for the Right Reasons?

High school seniors have been doing their research on potential colleges, taking the appropriate high school classes, participating in plenty of extracurricular activities, making college visits, writing college essays, completing college applications, and finally awaiting the college verdict via acceptance or rejection letters.  Whew!

The college admissions process becomes a way of life for many high school juniors and seniors.  But amid the rush to get into just the right college, has your student taken time think about why she wants to go to college?

A college education is expensive.  No one would argue otherwise.  Depending on the college, the expense may feel manageable or overwhelming.  A college education for the right reasons is an investment in the future.  Heading to college for the wrong reasons may potentially be a monumental waste of money.

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January 23, 2012   No Comments

The Smartest Word Your College Student Can Use – Part 3

This is the third of three posts about college students asking for help.  In our first post we considered why students sometimes have difficulty asking for help. Our second post looked at who students might turn to for help. In this post we’ll consider how students can most effectively seek the help they need.

Many high school students planning to go to college spend a lot of their time reviewing vocabulary words for their SAT College Board exam.  They learn big words, important words, roots of words, and definitions.  But if your college student is going to succeed in college, there may be one important word that he needs that never shows up on his entrance exam.  It may be the most important word that he can use in college.  What is that word?  “Help.”

Your student is very likely to need help at some point in his college career.  Hopefully, you’ve helped him understand that it is important to seek the help that he needs and encouraged him get past possible barriers to seeking that help.  Your student has worked to learn what is available to him on campus and thought about the most appropriate source of help for his problem.  Now your student needs to think about how to most effectively ask for that help.

Asking for help is often very difficult for students.  For many of the reasons that we discussed in our first post, students are reluctant to seek help.  However, even if your student understands that he needs to ask, actually approaching professors or college staff members may be intimidating.  This can be especially true if your student has missed some classes, or has any other reason to be concerned about what the professor or staff member may think of him.  Having a plan for the appointment may help your student to anticipate what might happen and to feel he has more control over the encounter.

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January 19, 2012   No Comments

The Smartest Word Your College Student Can Use – Part 2

This is the second of three posts about college students asking for help.  In our first post we considered why students sometimes have difficulty asking for help. In this post we’ll look at who students might turn to for help and in Part 3 we’ll consider how students can most effectively seek the help they need.

Many high school students planning to go to college spend a lot of their time reviewing vocabulary words for their SAT College Board exam.  They learn big words, important words, roots of words, and definitions.  But if your college student is going to succeed in college, there may be one important word that he needs that never shows up on his entrance exam.  It may be the most important word that he can use in college.  What is that word?  “Help.”

One of the first steps in encouraging your college student to ask for help when he needs it is helping him understand some of the factors that may be holding him back from seeking what he needs.  Once he works his way past those barriers, however, it is important that he know what help is available to him.  We’ve written earlier posts about helping your student find support on campus.  It is important that your student know when he needs to ask for help and know where to find that help on campus.

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January 16, 2012   No Comments

The Smartest Word Your College Student Can Use – Part 1

This is the first of three posts about college students asking for help.  In this post we’ll consider why students sometimes have difficulty asking for help, in Part 2 we’ll look at who students might turn to for help and in Part 3 we’ll consider how students can most effectively seek help.

Many high school students planning to go to college spend a lot of their time reviewing vocabulary words for their SAT College Board exam.  They learn big words, important words, roots of words, and definitions.  But if your college student is going to succeed in college, there may be one important word that he needs that never shows up on his entrance exam.  It may be the most important word that he can use in college.  What is that word?  “Help.”

As a parent, helping your child understand early in her educational career that asking for help is important may be one of the best lessons that you can teach. This lesson might start in elementary school – or even at home earlier than that.  As a college parent, it is important that you reinforce that message.  As one college professor has stated, “Asking for help is the new smart! Help your college student understand the importance and necessity of asking for help and advocating for herself.

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January 12, 2012   2 Comments

Helping Your College Student Use Winter Break to Get a Head Start for Spring Semester

Winter break is an important time for college students to recharge their batteries, earn some extra cash, take an extra course, catch up with friends and family, and perhaps just enjoy some down-time.  Your college student will probably be glad, at least for a while, to have a break from college and from thinking about classes and responsibilities.

However, while most students are on break during at least part of the month of January, most college offices are open and working.  January might be an ideal time for your student to take care of any items that need to be addressed with college offices before other students are back on campus.  For some departments, the time while students are off campus is quieter.  Your student can avoid the beginning-of-semester rush and perhaps get more attention than he will once all of the students have returned. [Read more →]

January 9, 2012   No Comments

Help Your Student Create a Plan for a Successful Second Semester of College

Your college student has completed his first semester of college.  Congratulations!  Hopefully, it was a good semester, but there’s a chance it might not have been.  A rocky first semester is not unusual for many first year students.  But whether or not the semester was as successful as you and your student had hoped, having the first semester under your belt is a milestone on the college path.

As your student prepares for his second semester of college, this is a good time for you both to take stock, think about the past semester, and to create a plan for the fresh start that a new semester brings.

Returning to college for the second semester may loom large for some students.  Beginning college for the first semester is stressful, but exciting.  Everything is new, students look forward to their independence, opportunities to make new friends, and the new experiences that a new environment will bring.  Returning for the second semester may mean that your student needs to make some changes, break some habits, sharpen some skills, or get out of a possible rut.  This time, your student knows what’s ahead and knows some of the challenges he may face.

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January 5, 2012   2 Comments