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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Ten Ways to Reach Out Through Your College Student’s Campus Mailbox

The number of ways in which we can communicate with our college students continues to increase almost daily.  You may use one method almost exclusively, or you may use several methods to keep in touch.  These days, most of our connections seem to be electronic.  We may communicate via cell phone, text, e-mail, Facebook, Skype, Google hangouts, Google chats, Facetime or any number of other methods.  It’s important to stay in touch (although it’s easy to overdo it).

In the rush of the newest electronic forms of communication, one often overlooked and forgotten form of connection is good, old fashioned, snail mail.  Even with the advent of technology as a means of connection, most college students are still assigned a physical mailbox on campus.  The ritual of checking the mailbox is still a common one for most students.  No matter what means of communication you use most often, consider using this mailbox to reach out to your student.

Yes, other forms of communication are faster and easier than snail mail, but there is nothing like the feeling of opening the mailbox and finding something there.  No e-mail or text compares to a personally handwritten note or card.  And Facetime conversations can’t be posted on dorm room bulletin boards.

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Book Review: Freshman Year of Life

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 offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone.  Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

Freshman Year of Life: Essays that Tell the Truth About Work, Home, and Life After College is an easy-to-read volume of essays that students about to graduate from college or recently graduated from college will find helpful.  The fact that each essay is presented by a different author means that readers hear many voices.  Students will like the brevity and personal nature of the essays.  The stories feel real.

Many books have been written for students as they transition to the college years, but less is available for students who are about to enter the world beyond college.  Equating the first year(s) out of school to freshman year of college is a wonderful analogy.  How to navigate careers, bosses, friendships and real world skills, is information young adults need – and they need to hear from others who have also struggled to figure it all out.

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Is Your New College Student a Victim of “Impostor Syndrome?”

Poet Maya Angelou once said, “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, – uh-oh, they’re going to find out now.  I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.”

It is not unusual for successful people to doubt the legitimacy of their success. Many college students are no different.  Your student worries that she doesn’t belong at the college, she’s a fraud, the college made a mistake by admitting her.  She’s a victim of “Impostor Syndrome.”

One psychologist found that as many as 70% of people admit to feeling, at some point in their lives, that they are inadequate and don’t deserve their success.  So if the feeling rings true for your student, she’s in good company.  If your student secretly worries about her abilities, it may help her to know that she’s not alone.

What does your student feel?

It is important to realize that, even though you know that your student’s admission was deserved and you know that your student will do well, the fear and concern that your student feels is real. Logic may tell her that she deserves to be where she is and that she is just as qualified as her classmates, but the belief that it is all a mistake is not based on logic.

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Helping Your College Student Living at Home

The college years are a time of growing independence for most college students.  When students leave home to go away to college, they learn not only what they are being taught in their classes, but they learn many life skills as well.  College students living away from home learn to manage their time, balance priorities, budget their money, hone their life skills, maintain relationships, and conduct the logistical necessities of their lives.

But what about students who attend college while continuing to live at home?  Will they develop the independence that their classmates living on campus do?  What about the parents of college students living at home? These parents face a unique set of issues. How will they cope with having an emerging adult in residence at home?  How can parents help their at-home college student to gain independence while still maintaining a household in which everyone is comfortable?

Why is your college student choosing to live at home?

Students may choose to live at home during college for many different reasons.  Perhaps one of the most common and obvious reasons is to save money.  Although tuition costs are high, they are only one portion of the cost of attending college. A student who can live at home, and therefore reduce or eliminate room and board costs, can save thousands of dollars.

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Should My College Student Have a Car on Campus?

Cars.  Many of us spend a great deal of our time in them.  Most teenagers can’t wait until they can get their license and gain some independence; although a study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute indicates that fewer teenagers now have licenses than 25 years ago.  However, some surveys tell us that as many as 70% of college-age students own or have access to cars.

Cars have become a part of the fabric of our lives.  But should they be part of the fabric of your college student’s life?  The answer is – it depends.

You and your student should think carefully about whether your student should have a car on campus. Obviously, if your student is commuting to college whether or not to have a car may not be an issue.  More and more colleges are prohibiting first-year students from bringing cars to school so this may not be a decision your student will face immediately.

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