So You’re a New College Parent . . .

Congratulations!  You’ve survived the college admissions process and the acceptance letters have begun to arrive.  You are excited for your student, but you may be beginning to be a bit nervous.  Now that your son or daughter is almost a college student, you’re almost a college parent!  You may have been involved in helping your student through the admissions process – but now you wonder what you should be doing and exactly what your new role will be.

If you’re a new college parent, and you’re here at College Parent Central, you’ve found the right place to get started.  Parents of college students are often told to “let go”, but we believe it’s all about knowing how your role changes and finding the ways that you can be productively involved to help your student throughout his college career.

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What is College Block Scheduling?

Each college creates a course schedule to serve its needs.  Whatever the individual college’s schedule looks like, your student’s college schedule will certainly look very different from his high school schedule.  Students spend much less time in class in college and are expected to spend much more time outside of class reading and preparing.  The general rule of thumb is for students to spend two hours outside of class for each hour spent in class.  Students often spend 2 – 4 hours per week, per course, in class.

Most colleges and universities have a mix of class meeting times.  Some classes might meet for shorter periods of time three times per week, others might meet twice per week, and still others might meet for a longer period once per week.  Students often mix and match a combination of classes.

There is, however, one radically different approach used by approximately a dozen or so colleges in the United States called “Block Scheduling” or “One Course At A Time (OCAAT) Scheduling.”  It is a unique approach.

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What Does College “Open Admission” Mean?

College admission is a major concern for many high school students and their parents.  The entire admission process may feel overwhelming, time consuming, and expensive.  As part of the exploration process, you may come across schools that list their admission policy as “Open Admission,” “Open Enrollment,” or “Inclusive Admission.”  What exactly does this mean?

Open Admission generally means that the admission process is unselective and non-competitive; the only criteria for admission is that the student have a high school diploma or GED certificate.  Most colleges with Open Admission are community colleges or colleges which grant Associate degrees.  There are a few, but not many, four year colleges with this type of admission policy.

Open Enrollment or Open Admission policies were instituted during the 1960’s and 1970’s to reduce barriers to higher education for some groups of students, including those from lower income or underprivileged backgrounds.  The policy of increasing accessibility was intended to provide a college education to all who desire it.  It allows students with a wide range of potential to attend college.

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What’s In a Name? The Value of Name-calling

We all grew up being taught that name-calling is bad.  We probably taught our children the same thing.  We’re not suggesting that we change our basic principles.  Name-calling, labeling, is almost always based on a generalization and stereotype and we need to value and respect people as individuals – and so should our children.

However, some of the labels that are sometimes given to groups of people often have a grain of truth in them.  While we don’t necessarily want to totally accept and believe them, or perpetuate them, holding the mirror up and questioning whether there is truth in them may be helpful.

Consider some of the labels below that have been given to us as parents, and to our generation of children – the current college student generation.  While we admit that some are extreme, the label comes from somewhere.  Understanding the label and confronting it may be the first step toward addressing an issue – and defining a new identity for us and for our students.

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