College Parent Central has just turned three! College Parent Central launched on April 1, 2009 — somehow April Fool’s Day seemed appropriate for a venture whose future was unknown. Three years later, we continue to believe more firmly than ever that college parents are an important part of student success.
After three years of writing about college parenting, talking to college parents, working with college students, and working and speaking with professional colleagues, we are humbled by how much there is to know, but we feel even more strongly that we have a place in helping parents. We are grateful to those people who have shared their stories and wisdom and helped us as we continue to reach out to parents who find our information helpful.
We began College Parent Central three years ago with five basic principles. Three years later, these basic beliefs still hold true for us.
- We believe that parents can be important partners in their child’s education from pre-school through college.
- We believe that most parents want to be involved in their child’s college experience.
- We believe that parents do have a place in their child’s college experience.
- We believe that many parents don’t know how to be involved in their child’s college experience.
- We believe that many parents don’t understand today’s college experience. (Those of us who attended college ourselves need to learn how the college experience has changed in the twenty-first century.)
Over the past year, we’ve begun to add a sixth basic principle. We believe that parents can, and must, do more to prepare their child for a successful college experience. The college parent role begins earlier than September of freshman year.
Although our basic beliefs have not changed over the past three years, our understanding of and respect for the complexity of college parenting has continued to grow. We hope that some of the insights and understanding that we have gained will continue to help us evolve into new areas of interest. It is impossible to itemize our educational exploration, but highlights must include the some of the following:
- We believe even more firmly than we did three years ago that good communication between parents and their college students is the key to success. Good communication is not easy, but it is a skill that can be improved. You will find this as a continuing theme in many of our articles.
- We’re fascinated and we find compelling the work that is being done to understand this generation of students as emerging adults and millennials. Some of the work of Dr. Jeffrey Arnett and his colleagues has given us insight into the eighteen to twenty-seven year olds who make up today’s college students.
- We believe more strongly than ever that colleges need to reach out to and work with parents to help them help their students. We’d like to see more of an attitude shift from managing parents to partnering with parents. Parental involvement during the college years continues to grow. If colleges can help parents learn how to be most productively involved, everyone will gain.
- We see more clearly than ever the evolving role of parents throughout their student’s four (or five!) year college career. Parental support is essential throughout the transition to college, but is equally important, although different, throughout the remaining years
- We see the years of college parenting lengthening. It begins before students enter college and continues as this boomerang generation graduates and searches for meaningful work. The boundaries are becoming less and less defined.
During the past three years, we have:
- Published nearly 350 articles.
- Had nearly 350,000 visits to our website.
- Attended the inaugural conference of the Association of Higher Education Parent Program Professionals. This marks an important recognition of the growing field of interest in college parenting.
- Continued our partnership with College Parents of America to provide content for their website.
- Been privileged to be interviewed for a program on college parents on Wisconsin Public Radio.
- Presented sessions at several institutes and conferences to share information about college parenting, including NACADA and the Annual Conference on the First Year Experience.
- Have joined the Twitter world. Follow us – @CollParCentral.
- Been fortunate to meet with and learn from countless parents through our workshops.
Most popular articles
Looking at the most popular articles over a three year period helps us to understand what information and support college parents want most. If we had to generalize, we’d say they point to three main themes: parents worry when their student is in trouble, parents want to celebrate those important successes, and parents wonder how best to set students up for success. Here are our top six articles over three years in order of views.
- What To Do If Your Student Is Academically Dismissed from College
- Should My College Student Consider Withdrawing from a Class?
- 25 Gift Ideas for Your College Student
- Should My College Student Consider Retaking a Class?
- Should My College Student Have a Car on Campus?
- What To Expect From Your College Student’s First Semester Grades
We hope that parents will continue to find College Parent Central helpful and a place where they feel validated in the importance of their role in helping their student succeed. As we said when we began, ”We hope that you will find information, support, and a celebration of the amazing experience of having a child in college.” This is an incredible journey.
We remain excited about college parenting and committed to its importance. We look forward to continuing to work with parents through our website and workshops. We hope to be able to reach more of you through a monthly newsletter soon. We are excited about helping you work for your student’s success through our expanded FirstTerm! and FreshStart! student newsletters. We are open to future directions we haven’t yet discovered.
Please leave us a comment and let us know about your thoughts. Are there topics you’d like to see us explore? Posts you’ve found particularly helpful? Ideas which especially speak to you or with which you disagree? Let us know what you’re thinking!