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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Should My Student Participate in an Overnight Admission Visit?

Making a decision about the right college is a difficult and stressful task for many high school students.  You and your student have been gathering information about the schools on your student’s ”short list.”  You’ve looked at the college website, checked ratings, talked to friends and high school counselors, looked at the catalog and informational material, and probably visited campus — perhaps more than once.

One additional way to gather some different information is for your student to spend an overnight on campus.  This is an excellent way for your student to get a closer look at student life on campus as well as to have an opportunity to experience college life and to ask students some of the questions that may not come up during a formal campus tour.

Many colleges offer campus overnight visits, either individually or as part of a larger program.  . At some schools, your student may need to be accepted first, but others may offer visits to those who plan to apply. If the Admission office hasn’t offered the opportunity, your student should ask whether the option is available.

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Parents and College Admission: Know What to Ask to Make the Most of Your Campus Visit

One of the most important steps in the college admissions process is the campus visit.  Your student should see and get a feeling for a campus before making a final decision about whether a school is right for them.  Although the decision ultimately belongs to your student, as a parent, you also need to feel comfortable about the school.  Asking questions during the admission visit is a great way to gather some of the information that you need to feel comfortable.  However, just as with so many other considerations in the college process, parents walk a find line between being helpful and becoming intrusive.

Remember that the admission process really does belong to your student.  It is important that you be involved, and provide support, but it is crucial that you remind yourself that this is not your process.  While it is important that you go along on a campus visit if possible, your student is the person who will make the final decision.  What seems like the absolutely ideal school or environment to you may just not feel right to your student.  There is a chemistry that happens when a certain campus just plain ”feels right.”

However, even though you may be peripheral to this visit, there are some important ways in which you can be involved.

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Why Your Transfer Student May Be in Shock

There is a phenomenon called Transfer Shock.  If you have a transfer student, they may be experiencing this tendency for students who transfer from one school to another to experience a temporary dip in their GPA during their transitional first or second semesters.

If you have a transfer student who did reasonably well in their original school and are now facing this transitional grade dip, they may be alarmed.  Your student may wonder whether they should have transferred after all — or whether they transferred to the right school.  It may help if you can reassure your student that this struggle, this dip in GPA, is normal; and that most transfer students recover their grades within a semester or two.

If you have a student who is considering a transfer next semester or next year, warn them ahead of time. Your student may be able to avoid it, but more importantly, if transfer shock does occur, your student may worry less because they’ll know that others may be experiencing the same thing.

Why does transfer shock happen?

Some students may underestimate the difficulty of transitioning to a new school.  They’ve already made the adjustment to being in college, and they feel that a new school won’t be all that different.  However, once at the new school, students realize that there are new ways of doing things, new expectations, new traditions, and new policies.  Students may also encounter more difficult upper level coursework than they had at their previous institution.  Some students may also be taken by surprise at the social disorientation that they feel in a new environment and the effort that it takes to make new social connections and friends.

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Support for Students with Learning Differences in College: Do Your Homework!

This is the second article by College Parent Central contributor Dr. Lynn Abrahams.  Lynn specializes in college transition and success for students with learning differences.

Over the past ten years more and more programs have been created to help prepare and support college students with learning differences. In fact, there are now so many models out there that it has become crucial to do your homework before making the decision about the best post-secondary environment for your student. As a learning disabilities specialist over the past 30 years, I have seen families pay a tremendous amount of money for programs that may not be the right fit, because they did not fully understand what was or was not being offered.

Here are a few issues to keep in mind:

 Support in High School

Look at how much support your student is getting in high school. Shifting the amount and type of support when entering a new college environment is not usually a good idea.

  • Is your student in a substantially separate classroom?
  • Is your student fully mainstreamed in all high school classes?
  • Is your student in college preparatory classes?
  • How much time does your student get for support in a resource room?
  • How much time does your student work with other therapists, such as speech and language, occupational therapy, English language learner support, or counseling?

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