Information for the parents of college students
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College Parent News and Views

The more that college parents know and understand about the college experience, the less we worry and the better we will be able to help our students to succeed and thrive throughout their college career.  However, there is an overwhelming amount of information out there on the web.   We’d like to help you find some of the information that might be most interesting and useful to you as a college parent.

In News and Views we share recent college related news and sources we’ve found as we do our research.  We hope that this feature will help to introduce you to new ideas and to help you keep up with some of the current issues that may affect your college student – and you.

We invite you to read some of the articles suggested below – and to let us know what you think of some of the ideas included here.

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December 31, 2015   No Comments

The College Parent Central Year in Review – 2015

When you do something once, it is interesting.  When you do something twice, it suddenly becomes a tradition.  We’re now in the third year of sharing a look back at College Parent Central’s year.  Clearly a tradition. Reflection is always a good exercise.

It’s that time of year when we can’t quite decide whether to look backwards at the year that is just ending or to look ahead at the year about to begin.  We really need to do a little bit of both.  Looking back gives us some perspective to look ahead, and think about our goals and plans for the new year based on where we’ve come.

So before we look ahead, make plans, make resolutions we probably won’t keep, or set goals for 2016, we’d like to take a moment to look back at some of our articles for 2015.  These are the articles that, to us, speak most about the essence of the college parent role and/or speak to those ideas and issues that most affect the way we relate to our college sons and daughters.

This year we’ve decided to give some of our articles awards.  (If we don’t, who else will?)  See whether you agree with our choices.

We invite you to take a few minutes to review these articles, and to think about how you view your role as college parent.  How have you grown into the role over the past year?  Where might you and your college student go next year?

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December 28, 2015   No Comments

There is Life After Academic Dismissal! An Inspiring Story for the Holidays

As we approach what, for many of us, is the holiday season, we want to share an inspiring success story with you.  The story comes from one of our readers.

We often receive comments on posts or e-mails from both parents and students.  Many of these messages come at a time of difficulty – often around probation or dismissal or other crises.  It is often a time of struggle and uncertainty.  As often as we can, we offer a few words of encouragement or advice, and most of the time we never know what happens.

Here is a portion of one such comment, received in  the summer of 2013 on our post What to Do If Your Student is Academically Dismissed.

“Vicki,

First of all, I really appreciate your responses!  I have learned a lot just by reading them.  I do have a similar issue with being Academically Dismissed.  I was attending school and majoring in Gerontology.  I attained my Associate in Arts degree prior.  I did very well my first 2 semesters, but then some personal tragedies began to unravel my life. . . . Unfortunately, due to my living situation being turned upside down and also my car breaking down and having to buy a new one, school was not feasible.  I stopped attending class because I had to go to work.  I was a mere 20 credits away from my degree. 

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December 21, 2015   1 Comment

14 Ways to Make Winter Break a “Get Ahead” Time for Your College Student

Winter Break is almost here. You had a taste of having your student home from college over Thanksgiving Break, but that was just an appetizer.  The full course is coming over Winter Break, which might be as long as a month or more. Hopefully, everything went well over Thanksgiving Break, but there may have been some adjustments and compromises along the way.

Thinking ahead to Winter Break, and doing some planning, means you and your student can work together to make it not only a pleasant, but a productive break as well.  Here are fourteen suggestions for ways that your student can use at least a portion of Winter Break to do more than just catch up on sleep and friends (but be sure to leave plenty of time for that as well).  Of course, he can’t do everything on this list, but help your student decide what will give him the most benefit.

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December 7, 2015   No Comments

College Parent News and Views

The more that college parents know and understand about the college experience, the less we worry and the better we will be able to help our students to succeed and thrive throughout their college career.  However, there is an overwhelming amount of information out there on the web.   We’d like to help you find some of the information that might be most interesting and useful to you as a college parent.

In News and Views we share recent college related news and sources we’ve found as we do our research.  We hope that this feature will help to introduce you to new ideas and to help you keep up with some of the current issues that may affect your college student – and you.

We invite you to read some of the articles suggested below – and to let us know what you think of some of the ideas included here.

[Read more →]

November 30, 2015   No Comments

Holiday Gifts for Your College Student – 2015

It’s that time of year again.  Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday.  We’re thinking about family and friends and we’re thinking about gifts.  If you have a college student, or an about-to-be college student, you may be searching for some ideas for useful or fun gifts.

Sometimes, finding just the right gift for your college student may be difficult.  You haven’t seen him in a while and you are less involved in his day-to-day life.  What does he need?  What can he use?

You know your student best, and can tap into his interests and needs, but we’d like to offer some suggestions that may stimulate your imagination.  We’re including some new ideas here, as well as some classic favorites from our lists from previous years.  Check out these ideas, and then let your own creativity take over!

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November 23, 2015   1 Comment

Book Review: Put College to Work

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.

Parents should read Kat Clowes’ book Put College to Work, but more importantly, they should give a copy to their college students.  Subtitled, How to Use College to the Fullest to Discover Your Strengths and Find a Job You Love Before You Graduate, this book offers practical advice to students in a tone and manner they will read.  The book is clearly written for students, and the author’s chatty, readable style will appeal to these readers.

Clowes begins her book with the timeline of her own life.  She explains clearly to students that she made mistakes, or missed opportunities, and she’s here to help them avoid those same mistakes.  The realism of her story is compelling.  She’s obviously found success – and fulfillment – but it took her a long time to get there.

Put College to Work is divided into four sections, which build upon each other.  The book begins by helping students learn about themselves – Put Yourself to Work.  Students learn the importance of knowing who they are before they can begin to forge their path.  Section two, titled Succeed in School, helps students make the most of their time and experiences in college.  Section three, Succeed After College, gets to the nitty gritty of using the resources of college, such as the career center, internships, conferences, and alumni networks, to move into the world of work.  The final section, Having a Particular Set of Skills, helps students think specifically about how to make the most of job fairs, networking, resumes and cover letters, interviews and social media profiles.

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November 19, 2015   No Comments

Don’t Talk to Your Student This Thanksgiving!

Well, at least not right away.

You’ve anxiously awaited Thanksgiving Break to have your student home from college.  You expect that this first real break home will require some adjustments on everyone’s part, but you can’t wait for the chance to talk to your student.

How, then, could we possibly suggest that you not talk to your student?

What we’d like to suggest is that you take more time this break to listen to your student instead of talking.  Try to sit back a little and see what unfolds.  Read your student’s mood. (He’s going to be exhausted, so he may just want to sleep at first.) You might throw in a few questions, but not many.  And keep any questions open-ended and light. Don’t ask about every detail of life at college. (This is going to be hard.) Don’t press for information about grades and classes. (This may be even harder.)

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November 16, 2015   No Comments

Colleges Recognize Parents As An Important Part of Student Success

Students head to college, not their parents; and students are, obviously, the main focus of the colleges they attend.  But even when your student goes to college, you are still part of the total picture of your student’s experiences, and colleges are recognizing your importance more and more.  In spite of all of the negative press about “helicopter parents” or “snowplow parents,” your appropriate involvement is important.

As an indication of the importance of parents to the college experience, many schools now have a staff member, or perhaps an entire office, dedicated to working with parents.  Recently, college personnel who work with parents and families at their institutions met in Savannah, GA to compare notes and share ideas at the fourth annual conference of AHEPPP – the Association of Higher Education Parent Program Professionals.  More than 160 colleges and universities are represented in the organization.  Parents, you matter to your students’ institutions!

If you haven’t discovered the Parent Office at your student’s institution, you might want to investigate whether there is one.  This office may communicate regularly with parents, or may be responsible for running events such as Orientation or Parents/Family Weekend.   According to a survey conducted biennially by the University of Minnesota since 2003, 23% of those responding to the survey this year said their office had been newly established in the past five years.

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November 9, 2015   No Comments

Sending Your Student to College Might Improve Your Relationship

That moment on Move-in Day when you say your final goodbye to your college student and get in the car to drive away is a moment that will change your relationship with her forever. This is the moment that many parents fear. This is the reason that we try so hard to hold on tightly that last August. This is the reason that some parents hover and earn the “helicopter parent” title. This is the dreaded moment that can elicit tears.

Sending your student off to college is a milestone. And your relationship with your student will change. But that change may not be what you expect – or fear. As most parents worry about their changing relationship with their student, they think about what they may lose. They may not think about that relationship improving and getting better and even more fulfilling.

How can that be? How can your relationship improve if you aren’t there all of the time? Can this really be true?

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November 4, 2015   No Comments