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 moreCollege Parent News and Views


College Parent Portal: Not Necessarily An Open Door for Everyone

Many elementary, middle and high schools today use a Parent Portal of some sort 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.  Many colleges now have parent portal pages as well. So what’s the problem?

Read moreCollege Parent Portal: Not Necessarily An Open Door for Everyone


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.

Read moreBook Review – Success and Sanity on the College Campus: A Guide for Parents


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 her college career, the hope is that she 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, her degree map would obviously change as well.

Read moreThe Degree map: Your College Student’s Path to Graduation


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.

Read moreDoes Your Student Qualify for a Free Visit to College?


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 moreCollege Parent News and Views


Parents, Help Students Manage That Nasty Time Between Application and College Admission

The college applications have all been submitted.  Check.  It is the end of a long road leading to this point.  For students, and their parents, there may be a let-down.  As relieved as you are to have this process finished, you and your student have been so focused on the college application process for so long that you’re not sure what to do now.

Can you really be expected to just stop everything and wait for the admission letters to arrive?

This is a good opportunity for you to model some behavior and attitudes for your student as you both shift from the high gear of getting applications ready to waiting for responses.  Here are three behaviors that parents can model for students during this time.

Read moreParents, Help Students Manage That Nasty Time Between Application and College Admission


Book Review: Straight A’s Are Not Enough

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 considering a book that is intended for your student, but we recommend it for parents to review first and then to pass on.  Parents should read Straight A’s Are Not Enough first because as parents, we, too, need to be reminded that getting an education is about more than grades.  We can’t expect our students to focus on education rather than grades if we don’t value the broader education as well.

But be sure to pass this book on to your student.  The book is intended to help students study better, and smarter, to be able to move beyond simply grades to a true education.  One of the strengths of this book is that, as the author discusses true learning, she fills the book with strategies that are bound to raise any student’s grades in the process.  Chapter after chapter is filled with exercises, review questions, techniques and strategies for better studying – what the author terms the ‘intentional approach’. The book has over 100 strategies for students to employ that cover everything from approaches to learning to notetaking to rediscovering the excitement of reading and mental processing.

Read moreBook Review: Straight A’s Are Not Enough


Ready for Class Day One?

Whether your college student is beginning the first day of her first class in college or just beginning a new semester, she needs to be ready to succeed right from the start. One of the beautiful things about the college system is that students get a brand new start at least twice a year in a semester system (even more if the school has a trimester or quarterly system).  Students begin a new semester with new courses and new instructors.  A fresh start for everyone.

So your student has a fresh start and new classes.  She needs to show up and begin, right?  Well, maybe.  There’s a difference between students who just show up the first day (and we know just showing up for class is important) and those who show up just a little more prepared and ready to succeed right out of the gate.

What can your student do to make sure she’s one of those students with that beginning edge?  Here are a few suggestions that can make the difference.

Read moreReady for Class Day One?


A New Year Means . . . New Resolutions, Of Course: Nine Activities for You and Your College Student

It’s that time of year.  Reflections and looking back at the year that is ending, and Hopeful Beginnings as we look ahead and plan for the year to come.  Sometimes resolutions seem silly – we probably won’t keep them anyway.  But making a few New Year’s resolutions means thinking about the year to come – and what we’d like it (or us) to be like.

So as we begin 2016, we’d like to offer some suggestions for your college parenting year.  Take a few minutes to read our suggestions from previous years at the end of this post as well.  Our hope is to give you lots to think about – and then you choose what makes sense to you, or even better, make up your own.

This year, we’d like to suggest nine activities to undertake with your college student (or soon-to-be college student.)  We do a lot of talking here at College Parent Central about communicating with your student. But communicating can sometimes more easily occur while you are doing something together.  And doing something together often brings surprising discoveries (not to mention lots of fun) as you work or play together.

Read moreA New Year Means . . . New Resolutions, Of Course: Nine Activities for You and Your College Student


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