What You Might Not Know About College Parent Involvement

Parents are increasingly involved in the lives of college students. Colleges have noted the trend for several years. As college parents, we’ve earned several less-than-flattering nicknames — everything from helicopter parents (hovering) to snowplow parents (pushing obstacles out of the way) and lawnmower parents (running over anything blocking our student’s path).

But exactly how involved are parents in their college students’ lives? Is the perception accurate? And, although we know that students need to control their own lives, might there be benefits of parental involvement?

Campus ESP (Campus Experience for Students and Parents), a Philadelphia based technology company recently surveyed 1700 parents about their involvement with their students at the college level. The stated mission of Campus ESP is ”to improve student success by strengthening relationships between schools, students, and those who influence them.” Parents are clearly some of the most influential people in their students’ lives (even if it may not always seem that way to parents).

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Readmission to College: The Application Process

This is the second of two posts about the readmission process after academic dismissal. Be sure to read the first post for some suggestions about working with the college during your student’s time away.

Most students who are academically dismissed from college are asked to spend a certain period of time out of the school. That may be a semester, a year, or even longer. If your student has been working closely with the college after his dismissal, he will be clear about the length of time away, and he will have some information about how best to spend that time. The college recognizes that something went wrong for the student when he was enrolled and hopes that some time away will allow the student to address whatever issues interfered with his success.

The decision to return

Once your student feels ready to return to school, the first decision he will need to make is whether he will apply for readmission to his original school or consider transferring to another college or university. This is a very personal decision and should be made in conjunction with his family, and after gathering all of the necessary information from both his original school and any schools to which he is considering applying.

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Readmission to College: Work With the School

If your student has been dismissed from college for poor academic performance (sometimes called Satisfactory Academic Progress), it can be a devastating blow. Both you and your student will need to come to terms with the reality, evaluate what happened, and decide how to move forward. We have several earlier posts that may help you with these stages of the process.

What To Do If Your Student Is Academically Dismissed from College

Academically Dismissed from College? Time for a Reset

Academically Dismissed from College? Ten Steps to Move On

However, once you and your student have evaluated the situation, and perhaps taken some time away from school, your student may be ready to get back on track — either at her former school or at a new school. She may have questions, but she may not be sure where to begin.

Let your student take ownership

It is important that your student, not you, do the work to prepare to return to school, but you may need to give her some guidance about necessary steps. All calls to the school, all e-mails to school offices, all visits to college offices, all application or appeal materials should be completed by your student and not you. The college is looking for responsibility on your student’s part. She should advocate for herself and make her own case. If you step in, you may actually hurt your student’s chances of being readmitted.

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Book Review: The Accordion Family

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. See our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.

The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents, and the Private Toll of Global Competition by Katherine S. Newman is an important look at the trend toward a rising number of multigenerational families. Newman’s findings are based on extensive interviews with 300 people in six countries. Half of those interviewed were parents and half were adult children. Many of the interviewees were from the same families.

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Ten More Student Skills for Parents

This is Part 2 our list of student skills that may be helpful for parents, too. Be sure to read our post about the first ten helpful skills.

We’ve written many posts about important skills for college students. We’ve suggested that, as college parents, we talk about these skills with our students because we know that mastering these skills, or at least working on them, will help our students do well.

However, several of the skills that we’ve suggested for students might also be helpful for parents — or for any of us — to develop. Turning the tables and adopting the skills you discuss with your student might be an interesting experiment.

Might you learn along with your student? Could you adapt some of these skills for your own benefit?

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10 Student Skills That Can Help Parents, Too

We’ve written many posts about important skills for college students. We’ve suggested that you discuss these skills with your student and that you do whatever you can to help your student develop many of these important skills. This is an important way that parents can help their students without ”helicoptering” inappropriately.

We’ve also written several posts about your role as a college parent and many of the skills that you need in order to do your college parenting job well. We hope that these posts help you as you settle into your role as college parent.

In many cases, the skills that college students need and the skills that parents need are certainly different. However, several of the skills that we’ve suggested for students might also be helpful for parents — or for any of us — to develop. Turning the tables and adopting the skills you discuss with your student might be an interesting experiment.

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Going With the Flow: Why College Students’ Ability to Adapt Matters

While many of us are willing to take risks and move out of our comfort zone, the truth is that most of us don’t enjoy change — unless we are the person initiating it. Some people seem to respond positively to change, using the changes in our lives as opportunities for growth, but as human beings we thrive on routine and predictability. College students are no different.

A few weeks into the semester, many first year students begin to settle into a routine and develop habits as the novelty of their new lives wears off. This is a good thing and gives many students the peace of mind of being able to rely on some constancy in their lives. But this is also a good time for students to examine their routines to determine whether they are serving them well. Students who understand — and embrace — the qualities of flexibility and adaptability may be in a better position to grow and make the most of their experiences.

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