What to Say to Your College Student Who Is in Trouble, Dismissed, or on Probation

We’ve written some earlier articles about what to do when your college student is on Academic Probation or is even Academically Dismissed from college.  These are disturbing or sometimes even devastating situations, and knowing what to do next is important.  But equally urgent, and sometimes even more important, may be considering what you say to your student if he finds himself in one of these difficult situations.

Of course, knowing exactly what to say to your student has to do with who your student is, what your relationship with your student is, and why he is in this situation. Chances are good, however, that you will struggle for the right thing to say, the right words.  You may be angry, disappointed, shocked, sad, or just plain overwhelmed.  Being honest with your student may be the simplest and best start.

Remember that your student may also be struggling with what to say to you.  She may have known this was coming, or it may have taken her by surprise.  She may have shared her fears or concerns with you earlier, or she may have been afraid to tell you this was coming.  Remembering that this is happening to all of you, as a family, may help everyone.  Taking time to let the news sink in before sitting down to discuss next steps may be helpful as well.

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Eight Campus Resources Your College Student Should Know

Many students heading off to college are thrilled by the prospect of their new-found independence.  Although they may be nervous about heading away from home, they are excited about being on their own.  However, with this new independence comes the pressure to succeed on their own as well.  One important message that parents can give their student heading off to campus is the understanding that asking for help from appropriate sources does not mean that the student is no longer independent, and it does not mean failure.

Many college students hesitate or delay asking for help for many different reasons.  Some may feel the need to prove themselves – either to themselves or to family and friends.  Some students feel that needing help admits failure.  Some do not recognize that they need help.  Some do not know how to advocate for themselves or to go about asking for the help that they need.  Still others, however, may not be aware of the all of the help and support that is usually available on campus.

As college parents, you can help.  One of the first things that parents can do is to help students recognize when they need help.  This may mean asking the right questions and probing if you sense that something might be wrong.  The second thing parents must do, however, is to help students understand that, while parents are important for emotional support, they may not be the best source of specific help for college issues.   Your job, as a college parent, may simply be (although it is often never simple) to direct your student to find the appropriate sources of help on campus.

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Book Review: The Happiest Kid on Campus: A Parent’s Guide to the Very Best College Experience (for You and Your Child)

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 out our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.

The Happiest Kid on Campus: A Parent’s Guide to the Very Best College Experience (for You and Your Child) is 600 pages chock full of useful information for parents about to send their student off to college.  Don’t be fooled by the author’s lighthearted tone (fun to read).  Parents will find a wealth of wisdom contained in this book that will help you and your student prepare for what is about to come.  The book is chatty and entertaining – and has a practical and useful index to help you in those college “emergencies.”

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It’s Not Too Late for Your Student to Apply to College

May 1st has come and gone.  Admissions letters have been received – to cheers or disappointment, financial aid offers have been weighed, decisions have been faced, deposits have been made.  For many students, the college admissions process is over.  It’s time now to transition from being a college applicant to being a college freshman.  It’s time to settle in for the ride.

But what if your student isn’t ready to settle in?  What if he’s just discovered a new college that he hadn’t considered before?  What if last fall, when everyone else was applying to college, he didn’t think he wanted to go, but now he’s finally ready for the college experience?  Is it too late?  Is it all over until next year?

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