It seems as though the entire world has turned upside down. As the coronavirus rages worldwide, most colleges are sending students home to complete their coursework online. College-at-home comes with significant challenges for both students and their parents. This special episode contains essential suggestions for helping students learn to adjust to their new online learning environment.
In our first guest interview, Lynn and Vicki chat with Dr. Silas Pearman, First Year Coordinator at Curry College. Si discusses various types of first year programming and how students can benefit from classes that help them transition. Topics include questions parents and students should ask during the admission process to find the best fitting first year program, specific challenges first year students typically face, and strategies to help parents prepare their students for the transition. Si shares advice to parents on how to support their college student throughout their first year. Parents are urged to do their homework to evaluate options and find schools with intentional programming for first year students.
It seems as though the entire world has gone upside down right now. Life is surreal and not a little bit terrifying. The Coronavirus dominates the news, most events have been cancelled, we’re all staying closer to home, some of us are working from home, schools are closing, and we all wonder what’s next.
If you have a college student, there’s a good chance that they are home, or headed home, possibly for the remainder of the school year. Many colleges are moving their courses online and it’s going to be a whole new world for many college students – and for their families.
We’re all going to be readjusting for the next few days. Everything feels awkward and out of place right now and it may take some time before your student finds their “new normal.” Stay flexible and go with the flow. Be available for your student, who may want to talk – or may not. Unlike Break, your student isn’t on vacation this time, they’ve just shifted where and how they’ll need to do college – at least for a little while.
Academic Advising may be a new concept for many parents and students. Both students and their parents are obviously familiar with high school guidance counselors and may not realize that most college advising systems are significantly different from those in high school. A student who is not aware of the ways these systems differ can be at a distinct disadvantage.
Talking to your student about the differences they should expect can help them to make the most of this new relationship and take advantage of all that the advising system has to offer.
What is college advising and why is it important for students to understand how it works?
College is going to be different from high school. Any student can tell you that. But many students don’t know how college is going to differ from high school. The more that your student understands what to expect, the better your student will be able to work within this new system. One big difference is likely to be how they are academically guided and advised.
What if you think your student may not be ready for college? What if your student feels they just need a break? In this podcast, Lynn and Vicki look at college admission deferral, high school postgrad programs and other gap year options. If you are thinking of a gap year you’ll need to consider the advantages and disadvantages, how to investigate options, and what to expect. This is an excellent opportunity for conversations about readiness, motivation, and specific goals for a possible year out.
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.
The college admissions process is complex, stressful, and often overwhelming. Both students and their parents spend a lot of time and energy thinking, planning, testing, applying, waiting, and then making important decisions. Could it get any more difficult? In some ways, the answer is yes.
Changes to the admission process
In November 2019, the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NCAC), removed three provisions from their Code of Ethics and Professional Practices (CEPP). NACAC, an association of more than 15,000 admission professionals from most colleges and universities in the U.S., chose to make these changes in response to an investigation by the Department of Justice.
The organization chose to strike the following provisions from their Code of Ethics and Professional Practices:
- “Colleges must not offer incentives exclusive to students applying or admitted under an early decision application plan.”
- “Once students have committed themselves to a college, other colleges must respect that choice and cease recruiting them.”
- “Colleges must not solicit transfer applications from a previous year’s applicant or prospect pool unless the students have themselves initiated a transfer inquiry or the college has verified prior to contacting the students that they are either enrolled at a college that allows transfer recruitment from other colleges or are not currently enrolled in a college.”
Essentially, these changes mean that 1) colleges can continue to recruit students after they have made their college choice by the May 1 National College Decision Day. In the past, once students made their commitment, other colleges ceased recruiting them. They may now continue to pursue them – perhaps with offers of increased aid. 2) It also means that students may be offered incentives to apply with binding Early Decision, and 3) that once a student begins college in the fall, they may continue to receive communication from other colleges to which they had applied encouraging them to consider transferring.
Senior year of high school can feel overwhelming. But this can be an excellent time to help your student work on the skills that can lead to success in college – and in life. In this podcast, Vicki and Lynn talk about your student’s path toward independence. Topics include the college application process, time management, and specific life skills that students need to make the transition to college. From getting themselves up in the morning, maintaining their own calendar, to doing laundry and managing their finances, this podcast explores how you can use senior year as a training lab for life at college.
No, we’re not advocating that students drop out of college. Staying in college is a good thing and graduating from college is even better. But, unfortunately, a lot of students aren’t able to finish college as planned. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the national six-year graduation rate is about 60%. That means that 4 of 10 students who start college may drop out before graduating.
Why do students leave?
There are many reasons that students leave college. There may be one overriding factor or there may be multiple factors. According to most surveys, the primary reason for leaving is financial. College tuition costs continue to rise and many students, and their families, find that they simply cannot continue to put together the necessary funds or continue to amass huge college loans.
Another reason for leaving is closely related to financial issues. According to one study, financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 54% of students who attend college work full time. Many of these students find that they cannot continue to balance a full time job and full time student load, and so they drop out.
Students may also leave college for reasons beyond financial. Some students find they are not prepared academically for college level work. Some cite lack of support or social difficulties such as fitting in, finding friends, or getting caught up in a culture of drinking or drugs. Some encounter mental health issues or lack the maturity to be able to function independently. And some students may simply be unmotivated: perhaps they never wanted to attend college or they are uninspired by their major or field of study.
Whatever the reason, if your student begins to talk about dropping out of college, it can be scary. You’re not sure what to do or where to go from here.
Understanding the key differences between high school and college directly impacts how we “parent” our students as we help them prepare to make the big transition. No one gives us a roadmap of exactly how to do this. It is helpful for parents to understand how their role changes when their student heads to college as well as the important skills that students need to succeed. In this podcast Vicki and Lynn examine changing roles for everyone, explain FERPA rules and regulations, and look at specific differences in time management and expectations in college.