Might Early College High School Be Right for Your Student?

For some students, spending the high school years just waiting to get to college doesn’t happen – and for good reason.  These students are spending their high school years doing the work of college.  They are enrolled in an Early College High School.

Early College High School is not the same thing as Dual Enrollment.  In a dual enrollment program, students attend a traditional high school and take one or two college classes at the same time.  In an Early College High School, some strictly high school classes are replaced by college classes – for all students in the school.  So Early College High School is an institutional, rather than an individual, program.  The program provides an opportunity for students to receive a high school diploma at the same time that they receive college credit, or even an associates degree – tuition free.

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20 Gift Ideas for Your High School Graduate

Your high school student is graduating!  Congratulations!  It’s been a long road to get to this point.  Your student was faced with important decisions about which college to attend.  And now you are facing important decisions as well – what to give your student for graduation.

This is a milestone and you want to mark the moment with an appropriate graduation gift.  Your graduation gift may be large or small, practical or sentimental, but one source of ideas may be some of the things that your student can use if she is headed to college.

Here are some suggestions to help you begin thinking about what you’d like to do for your graduate.  Use these possibilities to start your own imagination working about what your graduate might like or need.

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Turning the Page on the College Decision Dilemma

For many high school seniors (and their parents) the last few months have been torture: all of the questions about where to apply to college, all of the college visits, all of the applications and essays and forms, the wait for the acceptance or rejection letters, and then finally the dilemma about the decision.

But May 1 has come and gone.  Decision Day is over.  Your student has made a decision, paid the deposit, and now a strange new phase begins – for both of you.

For high school seniors, the final few weeks of school may be a blur.  It’s time to make sure they don’t let their guard down and jeopardize the grades on which their acceptance is contingent.  And it’s an emotional time – full of the highs of celebrating the end of high school and lows of leaving their friends as they all move on.

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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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College Parent Central Has Just Turned Seven!

We don’t very often engage in self-congratulation, but we’re taking a moment to wish ourselves a Happy Anniversary!  Seven years ago, on April 1, 2009, the College Parent Central website was launched with the hope that we could help parents make the transition to a new style of parenting as their sons and daughters became college students.

Seven years ago we believed, as we continue to believe now, that parents need information and guidance in order to best support their college student to succeed. We hoped to be able to provide some of the guidance that would help parents be able to navigate their new role. We’ve been more than pleased throughout the last seven years to hear from many parents who have found our information helpful.

Our purpose

Although the focus of some of our posts continues to change over the years as we continue to grow, the basic principles which drove us at the beginning continue to anchor us now.

  • We believe that parents can be important partners in their child’s education from pre-school through college.
  • We believe that most parents want to be involved in their child’s college experience.
  • We believe that parents do have a place in their child’s college experience.
  • We believe that many parents don’t know how to be involved in their child’s college experience.
  • We believe that many parents don’t understand today’s college experience. (Those of us who attended college ourselves need to learn how the college experience has changed in the twenty-first century.)

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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.

Read more


The Decision to Volunteer – What to Do?

This is the second of two posts about the benefits of volunteering for college students.  In our first post, we suggested some advantages of volunteer work for your student.  In this post, we offer some suggestions about helping your student decide where and how to volunteer.

Your college student has decided to find some time in her college schedule to volunteer somewhere.  Good for her.  There are many benefits of volunteer work.

College students who choose to spend time in volunteer activities may do so for many reasons.  Some students find or believe in a particular cause and want to do all that they can to further that effort.  Other students may want to give of their time, but they are not sure what they want to do, or they are not sure what options exist.

Some colleges have an office or a designated person whose responsibility is to help students find and manage meaningful volunteer or community service opportunities.  If your student’s school has such a resource, this may be the best place for her to begin.  She may also talk to faculty members or other students (particularly upper class students) about opportunities.

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Why Your College Student Should Spend Time Volunteering

Many high school students spend time volunteering or participating in community service activities as part of their high school graduation requirements.  Those who are not required to participate by their school often participate in community service activities in order to bolster their college applications.

Volunteering, or participating in activities to help others, is always a good thing, whatever the motivation.  However, one possible outcome of this requirement is that many students, once they get to college, feel they no longer “need” to volunteer since the school no longer requires participation and their college applications are done.  Like participation in extracurricular activities, some students see these activities as a means to an end (college admission) and may not realize many of the other benefits.

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Why Staging a Sit-In Should Be Part of Your Student’s Campus Visits

Campus visits are an essential part of the college admission and decision process.  Nothing can replace the experience of visiting a campus to experience the feeling and to help determine whether the school is a good fit for your student.  Most campus visits are similar – a presentation by admission staff, maybe a student panel, possibly an interview,  and a campus tour.  That will give your student an overall feeling for a school, but may not give the total picture.

It may be important for your student to dig a little deeper in order to get a real feel for a school.  Grabbing a snack or a meal in the dining area may help, talking to some current students (not just admission tour guides) may help, just sitting in the Student Center or on a bench on campus may help.  But during the course of your student’s college career, they may spend close to 2000 hours in class.  One important tool for judging the feel of a college is sitting in on one, or more, classes.

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Partnering With Your Student’s High School for College Success

College success.  It matters to all of us.  Colleges want students to succeed so they will stay in school and graduate.  High schools want students to succeed in college as a demonstration of their high school preparation.  And parents, well, of course we want to see our children succeed and graduate.

But although we all want the same thing for students, we don’t necessarily know how to all work together to make it happen.  Too often, we pull in separate directions, send mixed messages, or even directly oppose each other.  How then, can parents work together with their child’s high school to lay the foundation for college success?

Understand what students need

In 2014, Achieve, Inc., a nonprofit educational reform organization released compelling results of a national study of over 1,300 high school graduates.  We’ve shared some of the results of that study, Rising to the Challenge: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work? in earlier posts.

Graduates, reflecting on their high school experiences after graduation wish they had known more during high school.  So how can we help students understand the value of certain experiences while they are in high school rather than only after high school? One approach to doing this is for parents and high schools to work more closely together to partner for their students’ success.

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