It’s Time to Love Your Second Choice College

As a parent, you want your child to be happy.  It began when they were infants, and it hasn’t changed.  And for some students about to head to college, happiness may mean learning to love their second choice college.  They may need your help understanding how to do that

The facts are there.  According to a recent study conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, fewer than 57% of students in the United States are attending their first choice college.  That means that your student may wind up attending their second (or third or fourth) choice of college.  It is interesting to note, however, that over 75% of students were admitted to their first choice of school.  This means that your student (or you as a family) may make the choice to attend a school other than your student’s initial first choice.

Some research is also suggesting, however, that where your student attends school is going to matter less than their attitude and actions once they get there.

What can I do to help my student make the adjustment?

The first thing that you can do is to honor your student’s disappointment.

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Book Review: Building Resilience in Children and Teens

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 and beyond.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Check out our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.

In this review, we’ll take a look at Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings by Kenneth R. Ginsburg and Martha M. Jablow.

At first glance, at least looking at the title of the book, it appears as though by the time your student is headed to college it may be too late to read this book.  But first impressions may be wrong.  Although we would recommend this book to parents when their children are young, the teenage years, and even the college years, are not too late for helping your student build resilience.

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How to Help Your High School Student Work Now to Avoid College Remedial Courses

Is your student college ready?  The answer may not be what you think.  If your student has done reasonably well in high school and has high school diploma in hand, you may assume that your student is now ready for college.  Unfortunately, in most cases this may not be true.

According to a recent study conducted by the National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education, an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization, ”Every year in the United States, nearly 60% of first-year college students discover that, despite being fully eligible to attend college, they are not ready for postsecondary studies. After enrolling, these students learn that they must take remedial courses in English or mathematics, which do not earn college credits.”  Even those students enrolled in a college preparatory curriculum may not be as ready as they should be.

According to another report, released by Achieve, Inc., students who require remedial courses in college graduate at half of the rate of their college ready peers.  Many students who do graduate need extra time to complete their degree.

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Game Changers for Your Student’s College Success

In our last post, we shared some of the information gathered by Complete College America about college completion rates.  In their report The Four-Year Myth CCA shared some sobering information about the length of time that most students in this country need to complete their degrees.  We think it is important for parents to understand the environment in which their students are entering higher education.

As college parents, we also want to do all that we can to ensure, or at least increase the chances, that our student will be one of the growing minority of students who will complete their degree ”on-time.”  So we wonder what we, and what our students, can do to maximize their success.

What are Complete College America’s Game Changers?

Complete College America is an organization designed to work with higher education from the state point of view.  Their recommendations are intended for institutions and for the states.  Parents can begin by understanding what states and schools can and should be doing.  But then parents and their students can think about how they might implement some of these Game Changers personally.

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What is “On Time” Graduation? Four Years is Becoming a Myth

You send your student off to college and assume that four years later he will graduate with a degree.  You plan on four years — and you work hard to budget for four years.  And then you realize that it may take your student longer than four years to graduate.  Why is your student the exception — not graduating on time?

It turns out that your student who may need five — or even six — years to graduate is not the exception, but the norm.  A recent report, Four —Year Myth, released by the organization Complete College America points to this new direction in higher education.  The information is sobering, and important for college parents to understand.

Whose report is this?

Complete College America is a national nonprofit organization established in 2009 with the mission of working with the states to ”significantly increase the number of Americans with college degrees and to close the attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.”

According to this organization, between 1970 and 2009, undergraduate enrollment in the U.S. more than doubled, while the completion rate has remained unchanged.  Clearly, more students are gaining access to college, but not completing their degrees.

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Deferred? Waitlisted? Help Your Student Take Action

The college admissions process is a roller coaster for everyone.  Students spend months, or years, preparing — taking the right classes, taking tests, visiting schools, filling out applications, writing essays, securing recommendations.  It’s exhausting and everyone is anxious for the process to conclude.

Many students send their applications for Early Action or Early Decision and hope to have an answer by December.  Other students apply through rolling admission or regular admission and hope to know their fate by early spring.

But two specific situations can thrust your student into limbo.  If your student has applied to school through Early Action or Early Decision and is deferred, she will need to wait to have her application reviewed with the regular pool of applicants in the spring.  If your student applies for regular admission and is wait listed, she will need to wait, sometimes well into the summer, to hear whether there will be a place for her — and this will depend on the response rate from those who have been offered a place through regular admission.

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Resolutions for 2015 for College Parents (and Almost College Parents)

Each year at College Parent Central we focus on some resolutions for the New Year.  We know it’s often hard (if not impossible) to keep our resolutions, but focusing on some goals for the new year is a good exercise.  It helps us think about where we’ve been and where we’re going.

If you’re a college parent (or almost a college parent), focusing on where you’re going in the next few years may be a combination of the unknown, the scary, the exciting, and just simply the adventure.  We hope that you and your student find joy and meaning in that adventure.

We’ve offered some resolutions over the past few years and we think they are still worth considering (especially if you’re new to this college parent world).  Check out our earlier New Year resolutions at the end of this post.

For 2015, we’d like to offer 8 resolutions for parents – whether you are college parents now or still high school parents just beginning the college journey.  Like so many resolutions, these may be tough, but we hope you’ll come back to the list throughout the year and see how you’re doing.

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