College Student Hopes and Worries

As high school students work through the college admissions process and then anxiously await those all-important admission letters, they — and their parents — are filled with hope, and also worry.  It is the nature of the process.

Since 2003 The Princeton Review has conducted an annual survey investigating those hopes and dreams.  This year, the survey was available from August 2014 to March 2015 and was completed by slightly more than 12,000 students and parents.  80% of the respondents were students and 20% were parents.  The results of this survey provide a window into some of the dreams and application viewpoints of these students and parents.  Many parents may find it reassuring that they are not alone in their feelings.

The admissions process and finances

73% of those responding reported ”application stress;” This represents 17% more than those indicating stress in the first year of the survey in 2003.  The greatest source of stress for most students was the testing — taking admissions exams.  The second greatest source was the application process itself — completing admissions and financial aid applications.

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Book Review: The Portable Guidance Counselor

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 Portable Guidance Counselor: Answers to the 284 Most Important Questions About Getting Into College is edited by the staff of the Princeton Review.  It is a comprehensive review of some of the most important questions that high school students ask, and the answers that guidance counselors give.  It can be a helpful resource for students — especially those students who may have guidance counselors who are overwhelmed and may have less time and attention to share with students.

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How Is My Student Doing? Sharing Your College Student’s Passwords

When your student heads off to college, you worry.  Some parents worry a lot, often for good reasons.  But all parents, even those confident of their student’s abilities and responsibility, worry at least a little.  We worry about their safety, we worry about their happiness, and we worry about their success.  It is part of the nature of being a parent

We worried when our student was in high school, too, but most of us had our student under our roof.  We knew at least some of what was going on in their life.  In addition, many high schools now have portals or websites where administrators and teachers post announcements, reminders of deadlines, homework assignments, and grades.  As parents, we had access to such sites.  We felt included. We were on top of things.  We were in the loop.

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What Do Parents Want from Colleges? Where Do You Fit In?

Students have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to choosing a college.  There are many factors to weigh — and then after the logical decisions have been weighed, there is the issue of finding the right ”fit.”  But most students do not make the college decision entirely alone.  They turn to their families for advice.

As a parent, you probably have some clear ideas about what you want for your student as she makes the college choice.  Although the decision should ultimately be hers, you will weigh in and share your feelings and opinions.  Of course, your student may, or may not, listen.

A recent poll conducted by Noodle Education surveyed nearly 1000 middle class parents about what they consider important in choosing a college.  Two-thirds of the parents surveyed had college bound high school students and one-third had students currently in college or less than one year out of college.

Consider the findings of this poll and think about what your responses might be.  What do you consider important?  Then consider asking your student.  Do your responses match?  If not, this might be a great opening to a conversation — not to change your student’s mind, but to explore her thinking — and learn more about her.

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