Colleges Working to Help Students Transition During the First Year

As a college parent, you worry about your student’s transition to college life.  Perhaps you talk to your student about things he can do to help make the shift to being a college student and being away.  You hope that all will go well and you hope that the college personnel who work with your student will help your him with the transition.

Most college personnel who work with first year and transfer students are very aware of the impact and importance of the transition to a new environment and way of life.  As a parent, you should be reassured that there are designated people at most colleges charged with the responsibility of helping your student succeed during her first year.

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Staying Safe and Healthy in College — A Roundup of Helpful Posts

Perhaps one of the most basic things we think about when we send our student away to college is her health and safety.  Yes, we want our student to succeed academically, make friends, be engaged, and prepare for a career; but first and foremost, we want to know that our student will be safe and be able to stay healthy — both physically and mentally.  But it is not always easy to do this when we are miles away and may not see our student for weeks.

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How Is Your College Student’s Work/School Balance? Four Factors You and Your Student Should Consider

This article was updated in January 2022.

The increasing cost of college suggests that it may be necessary for more full-time students to work — and that more students who work are working more.  College students may feel that they need to work more, and parents may wonder whether or not their college student should get a job while in college. But before you and your student make any decisions about whether or not to work while at school, and how much to work, have some conversations about the realities, the benefits, and the challenges of working while attending college full time.

One of the first things to consider is whether or not the perception is accurate that more students are working more.  According to a study by the Bureau of Economic Research, the average weekly hours spent working by full time undergraduates decreased in the early 2000’s .  This may seem odd during these days of higher and higher tuition costs.  According to this study, between the 1970’s and the year 2000, the number of hours spent working at paid employment by full time college students rose steadily then leveled off between 2000 and 2008 at about 11 hours per week.  From 2009 to 2013, the number decreased to about 8 hours per week and has now risen again. (These averages include students who do not work at all, so the number of hours worked by students who do work are actually somewhat higher.)

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Getting to Know Your Emerging Adult College Student

Kids today.  Sometimes we love them.  Sometimes we hate them.  Most of the time we feel we don’t understand them.  If you are the parent of a college student, you may wonder at times whether this person is still an adolescent or whether he is an adult.  Your opinion may change from day to day or even hour to hour.  You are not alone.  Your student is likely entering, or solidly settled into, a phase of life now labeled Emerging Adulthood.  The more you understand about this newly identified stage of life, the more you may feel that you begin to understand your college-age and post-college student.

Emerging Adulthood, as a distinct developmental phase, is most widely known through the work of psychologist Jeffrey Jensen Arnett.  Arnett’s book, Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens through the Twenties, was first published in 2004 and has received much attention.  We recommend it to college parents.  According to Dr. Arnett, ”kids” today aren’t the ”kids” that we were.  Parents need to work to understand how different today’s students are.

According to Dr. Arnett, Emerging Adulthood begins at about the age of 18 and often continues until the age of 25 or 27.  This is much later than many of us might think.  So as your student begins college, she may also be entering this developmental phase. As she graduates from college (and perhaps boomerangs back home) she is in the midst of this stage. She may remain in this stage for several more years.  It is not simply an extended adolescence, but a distinct time of less parental control and more independent exploration.

Consider the following five characteristics of this age and think about your student.  You may be surprised at how accurate the description is.

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College Parents’ Role in the Job or Internship Hunt

In these difficult economic times, most college parents are anxious about their students finding an appropriate internship or first job.  As parents, we want to do all that we can to help support our student through the search process.  Often, there may be a fine line between providing support and guidance and stepping too far across that line to inappropriate involvement.

Parents today are increasingly involved in all aspects of their children’s lives from birth through adulthood.  As a generation, we are earning the title of ”helicopter parent” and schools, colleges and employers are all recognizing that our involvement has great influence on our children and young adults. CERI, the Collegiate Employment Research Institute sponsored by Michigan State University recently surveyed 725 employers regarding parental involvement with job applicants and employees.  Their findings hold up a mirror to us as parents of college students and recent graduates.  Unfortunately, the majority of employers see parents as a negative ”interference.”

Approximately 23% of employers see parents involved in the job search sometimes or very often.  When involved, parental involvement breaks down in the following ways:

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