Your College Student’s Health: Important Paperwork That Can Make a Difference

There are a lot of things to think about as your student heads off to college. You’ve got financial aid and tuition payments to arrange, a dorm room to furnish, travel arrangements to make, forms to complete, and, of course, you’re trying to fit everything into the car! You think about, and sometimes worry about, lots of things as your student transitions to their new life. Your student’s health may or may not be high on that list.

One thing that will help to ease your mind, and perhaps that of your student as well, is to make sure that you have both completed all of the paperwork that will matter in the event that your student is sick or injured while away at school. There are several important documents that you will both need to be thinking about – and it’s never too late. If your student is already at school and you’ve missed some of these items, discuss them with your student the next time that you talk.

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Are You College Parent, Social Media Savvy? Beyond Admissions and Beyond Hovering

We live in the age of social media. According to some studies done by the Pew research organization, 73% of online adults use a social networking site of some kind and 42% use multiple sites. Every platform available, especially Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram has shown increases in uses in the last year. We consume, we share, we connect.

Colleges know the importance of our online lives and use the web heavily in their admissions process. They reach out to both students and parents through avenues from websites to social media platforms to chat rooms. According to research conducted by Noel Levitz, the higher education consulting firm, some 45% of parents have looked at college websites on their mobile devices. Colleges have established profiles and pages and feeds and boards on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn. More than 200 colleges have LinkedIn profiles and many others have statistics listed. Clearly, both students and parents are using social media as one method of finding the right college.

But perhaps your student has now not only found a college, but headed off to college. Are you ready to turn off social media? Probably not. Of course, you can continue to use social media platforms to keep track of what your student is doing. Much has been written about parents and their teens/young adults and use of social media. Should you friend your student on Facebook, follow his Twitter feed, connect on LinkedIn, and follow his Instagram account? That is a very personal decision and one which you and your student should discuss. It may be comforting to you and comfortable to your student, or it may feel intrusive, discomforting and TMI (too much information). Have that conversation with your student.

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Parents, Is Your Student Off to College? Here’s Some Homework for You

You’ve survived the college admissions process. You’ve survived Senior Summer. You’ve survived Move-in Day. You’ve survived the ride home after leaving your student at school. Now you’ve arrived home to the empty (or at least emptier) nest. It’s just a little bit quieter, just a little bit less messy, just a little bit – well, emptier. And suddenly you’re not sure what you should be doing.

The year before college is a busy year. There are the college fairs, the college visits, the college applications – and essays and recommendations and, of course, financial aid forms. There may be second visits, interviews, accepted student events to attend. And then there’s senior year – special events, class trips, proms, award ceremonies, graduation – with all of its surrounding festivities. And then the summer of orientations, shopping – and more shopping – and packing, and getting every last detail ready. Of course, it is your student who is going away to college, but the whole family can be swept up in the whirlwind of the year.

And then you come home from dropping your student off at school and you’re not sure what to do. That empty nest fairly echoes. So much of the last year has been focused on your student – and now she’s off on her own and the swirl of activity has ceased. One of the reasons that we, as college parents, are sometimes more involved that we “should” be is that it is habit. It’s what we’ve done for years – and especially this past year. And it feels as though we should be doing something.

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You Can Influence Your College Student’s Classroom Success

Success in college means many things to many people. For some, it means a 4.0 GPA, for others it means landing the perfect job at graduation or being accepted to graduate school, for still others it may mean opportunities such as studying abroad and completing internships, and for still others, success may mean having a good time or finding a husband or wife.

However broadly you and your student define college success, it almost always includes at least some amount of success in the classroom. In spite of the importance of networking, social life, athletics, leadership, broad experiences, friendships, or job opportunities, the college experience centers around the classroom. And success in the classroom is important.

As a college parent, you hope for academic success, but there is little you can do to influence it. Your student’s success will depend on many factors, but they are, and should be, generally out of your control. In your role as sideline coach, you can cheer your student on – and occasionally give some advice – but the task of learning how to learn belongs to your student.

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New Student Convocation May Launch Your College Student’s Year

What is college convocation? You’ve dropped your new freshman off at college and they say that they will be attending convocation. For anyone unfamiliar with college traditions this may be a strange term and you wonder what is going on. Fall convocation for new students, or for all returning students, is a common experience at many colleges and universities.

According to most dictionaries, the most technical meaning of convocation is a large formal meeting of people. The term used to refer to gatherings of bishops and other religious clerics, but now has been broadened to refer to meetings of members of a college or university to observe some sort of celebratory ceremony. Convocation is often associated with the beginnings and endings of the school year or of a student’s college career.

Some colleges include convocation along with a commencement ceremony to mark the ending of a student’s college education as well. At some schools, degrees or diplomas may be handed out at convocation. Many schools now include an opening convocation at the beginning of the school year as a ceremony to welcome new students or to welcome students back for a new year.

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In Case of Emergency – Is Your College Student Prepared?

We all hope we will never need it – or know anyone who will ever need it. But like any good insurance, having an Early Warning or Early Alert system in place is an essential – legally mandated – element of every college campus. It is a sign of our times, and it is at least some assurance that the school has a plan in place for an emergency.

Almost all colleges now have some form of Emergency Alert or Warning system which is a mass notification system allowing the college to reach students, faculty, staff, and sometimes family members in case of a campus wide emergency. This emergency might range from an active shooter on campus to a weather emergency. An amendment to the Cleary Act, following the shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, now mandates that all schools create an emergency notification system.

An alert system is generally part of a larger campus emergency response plan. In case of emergency, students, faculty and staff members might receive messages on computers, home or office phones, or cell phones. Messages might come in the form of e-mail, voice messages, or text messages. Messages would give basic instructions about what to do – perhaps to evacuate a building or area or to shelter in place. Messages are generally disseminated as soon as there is sufficient information available to provide constructive information to all who need it.

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College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 6): Participating in Extracurricular Activities

This is the sixth and final post in a series of articles about experiences in college that can affect graduates’ engagement and well-being after college. Be sure to read the first five in the series as well: Part 1 – Getting Excited, Part 2 – Feeling Cared For, Part 3 – Having a Mentor, Part 4 – Long Term Project, and Part 5 – Having an Internship.

A recent poll of nearly 30,000 college graduates conducted jointly by Purdue University and Gallup, Inc. looked at the relationship between college experiences and college graduates’ lives post-graduation. The study examined workplace engagement and graduates’ sense of well-being as well as factors influencing students’ life while in college.

According to the results of this study, six factors emerged as important influences on graduates’ engagement and well-being. Over a six week period, our series, College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation has examined each of these factors and how students can take control of their college experiences to make sure that they participate in the activities in college which will help them in the future. We hope parents will share these ideas with their college students to help them work to pursue these important experiences.

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College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 5): An Internship or Job

This is the fifth in a series of articles about experiences in college that can affect graduates’ engagement and well-being after college. Be sure to read the first four posts in the series as well: Part 1 – Getting Excited, Part 2 – Feeling Cared For, Part 3 – Having a Mentor, and Part 4 – Long Term Project.

A recent poll of nearly 30,000 college graduates conducted jointly by Purdue University and Gallup, Inc. looked at the relationship between college experiences and college graduates’ lives post-graduation. The study examined workplace engagement and graduates’ sense of well-being as well as factors influencing students’ life while in college.

According to the results of this study, six factors emerged as important influences on graduates’ engagement and well-being. Over a six week period, our series, College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation will examine each of these factors and how students can take control of their college experiences to make sure that they participate in the activities in college which will help them in the future. We hope parents will share these ideas with their college students to help them work to pursue these important experiences.

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College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 4): Working on a Longer Project

This is the fourth in a series of articles about experiences in college that can affect graduates’ engagement and well-being after college. Read the first three in the series here, here, and here.

A recent poll of nearly 30,000 college graduates conducted jointly by Purdue University and Gallup, Inc. looked at the relationship between college experiences and college graduates’ lives post-graduation. The study examined workplace engagement and graduates’ sense of well-being as well as factors influencing students’ life while in college.

According to the results of this study, six factors emerged as important influences on graduates’ engagement and well-being. Over a six week period, our series, College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation will examine each of these factors and how students can take control of their college experiences to make sure that they participate in the activities in college which will help them in the future. We hope parents will share these ideas with their college students to help them work to pursue these important experiences.

I worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete.

Thirty-two percent of graduates responding to this question strongly agreed. That means that nearly one third of college students worked on a long-term project – but nearly two-thirds did not. That means that a large majority of students have not had the experience of seeing through a longer project before they enter their career. Since many projects in the workplace are longer term projects, these students may be missing a key piece of preparation for workplace demands. And more importantly for this study, the majority of graduates have not engaged in one of the activities which will help them thrive beyond college.

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Is An Online Class Right for Your College Student?

Online classes are becoming more and more prevalent in every corner of higher education. Some colleges offer entire programs online and have no “bricks and mortar” campus. Well established traditional colleges and universities are offering more options for online courses or programs. There is a good chance that at some point in your student’s college career he will have the opportunity to take an online class. The question is, should he?

There are many appeals to online classes. Convenience may be one of the strongest of these appeals. Students can complete their entire class without having to go to a classroom or sit through a lecture, and very often, students can complete the work at their own pace and at whatever time of the day or night is convenient.

However, online classes may not be for everyone. If your student has the option of taking an online class, and is considering registering for one, here are a few questions you might ask him to consider before he makes his decision.

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