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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College Parent Portal: Not Necessarily An Open Door for Everyone

Many elementary, middle and high schools today use a Parent Portal to help parents stay abreast of their student’s progress and activities.  Parents are encouraged to stay involved and to check the Portal every day.  Portals often provide information about school activities, attendance information, homework assignments, and student grades.  Parents can also use the portal to communicate with their student’s teachers, guidance counselors and even the school principal.

Is there a problem?

Schools use Parent Portal pages because they work.  They help maintain the connection and communication between students, school and parents. Parents are told, and studies have shown, that students with involved parents do better in school.

Many colleges now have parent portal pages as well. So what’s the problem?

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Book Review — Success and Sanity on the College Campus: A Guide for Parents

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.

This month we’re reviewing Success and Sanity on the College Campus: A Guide for Parents by Diana Trevouledes and Ingrid Grieger.  This is an important book for parents with students who are headed to or already in college.  Success and Sanity is a comprehensive book, covering many of the topics that we have covered on College Parent Central, and they are crucial topics for college parents.

Chapter 1 of the book helps parents understand ”the basic framework for distinguishing between those situations that students should be encouraged to manage on their own and those that require parental intervention.”  This distinction between parental support and helicopter parenting is the basis for the successful parent/student relationship.  We think it is important that the book begins on this basic level so parents can understand their role before moving on.

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The Degree map: Your College Student’s Path to Graduation

Sometimes we like to take the scenic route to our destination, and sometimes we want the most direct route possible.  It’s important to know the difference.

When your student begins their college career, the hope is that they will graduate in four years.  Colleges are increasingly recognizing that students need important information in order to know and understand their path to graduation.  Degree maps are one way to help students track their path and their progress toward that final diploma.

What is a degree map?

A degree map is a semester by semester list of courses which a student needs to take in order to graduate on time. Sometimes called a major map, it suggests courses to complete each semester in order to be ”on track” to graduation by taking the right courses in the right order.  Degree maps are intended to be student friendly and dynamic, changing as student situations change.  If your student changes major, for instance, their degree map would obviously change as well.

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Does Your Student Qualify for a Free Visit to College?

The words ”free” and ”college” don’t often appear in the same sentence, but this time they just might.  Many families don’t realize that a number of colleges may offer financial help to students to make an admission visit possible.  Not all colleges offer the option and not all students will qualify, but the option is worth investigating.

Each college that offers a visit reimbursement program or option handles it differently and may give it a different name, but typical programs may be referred to as fly-in programs, travel grants, travel scholarships, or funded campus visits.  Colleges most likely, but not exclusively, to offer such programs may be more selective liberal arts colleges, although some research universities (such as Dartmouth or Yale) offer programs for students interested in particular majors.  They have names that include descriptions such as Fly-in Weekend, Diversity Overnight Program, Weekend Immersion, Diversity Achievement Program, or include words such as Access, Discover and Explore.

Who is eligible?

Fly-in programs and travel grants are available largely to high school seniors who would find the cost of a visit prohibitive and to students who are underrepresented on the campus such as first generation students, students of diverse backgrounds, minority students and/or low income students.

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