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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Boomerang Kids: When Graduation Means a Move Back Home

They’ve been called many things – the Millennial Generation, Generation Y, Echo Boomers, Digital Natives, Tightrope Generation, Generation Next, Generation Me.  Now they are earning the title of the Boomerang Generation.  If you have a recent college graduate, or a college student due to graduate in the next few years, chances are that you should be getting that bedroom or basement ready to welcome your student home again.

It may be reassuring to some parents with students moving back home, and to those students as well, to know that they are not alone.  One survey suggests that 85% of college seniors expect to move back home, at least for a time, and a 2016 UBS survey found that 63% of millennials actually do move home after graduation.

Although career prospects have improved, as more young adults graduate with high college debt, face rising rents and stricter mortgage standards, they are apparently postponing marriage and starting families and choosing instead to live at home – at least for a while.    According to a Pew Research Company analysis of recent census data, approximately 32% of 18-34 years olds live in their parents’ homes.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the United States has the highest percentage of young adults living at home since 1940.

So it is clear that for many graduates moving back home not only makes sense, but may be their only option.  Some may stay for a short while and others may settle in for the long haul.

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What Matters for Your Student’s Career?

We want our students to have good careers when they graduate.  We’ve worked hard to get them through their early years of school and to send them to college.  We are ready for them to launch.  But are they prepared?

For the most part, the answer is yes.  Students who take their college work seriously, who take advantage of opportunities and of resources available, graduate ready for their career.  The schools that our students attend, from kindergarten through high school and then college, work to give students the education that they need.  However, students and parents alike may be surprised to learn that some of the skills that benefit students the most in their careers are not learned in the classroom.

Parents can have a lasting influence on how their students learn the key skills that will help them succeed. Some recent studies have shed light on the importance of some of these “softer” skills. We think it’s important for parents to see this information so that they recognize the value of their influence.

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Your College Senior: Preparing to Finish College

There’s a lot of focus on the transition for students from high school to college.  We know that students heading off to college face a whole new world.  But sometimes we underplay – or completely forget – that as students prepare to graduate from college, they are also entering a time of tremendous transition – and the whole new world of employment or graduate school.

As parents, we’ve worked throughout our student’s college career to loosen our grip, at least a little, and to recognize and celebrate our child’s growing independence and responsibility.  We know that the college senior year transition is our student’s transition to handle.  Hopefully, they will keep us informed of their progress along the way, but our role is (or at least should be) much less.  However, it helps to know what’s ahead and to be prepared.  Perhaps we can still do at least a little bit of nudging in the right direction.

We’ve collected a list of our posts that should be most helpful to parents of rising seniors.  Take a little time to read some of them and think about how you might help your student make the most of this final year – and prepare for the transition ahead.

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Whose Responsibility Is It to Find Your College Graduate a Job?

You send your child to college.  He chooses a major.  He takes the appropriate classes.  He graduates.  And then . . . ?

Many students, and their parents, may assume that after college, after all of that tuition, after preparing the resume and sending the cover letters, the perfect job will materialize.  Sometimes it does.  But more often, there’s a lot of work that goes into finding – and landing – that job.

The question of how much responsibility the college or university has for helping your student secure a job is currently a controversial topic.  Should the college focus on academically educating the student and leave it up to the student to find a job, or should the college be preparing the student for and helping the student secure a job?

Read moreWhose Responsibility Is It to Find Your College Graduate a Job?


College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 6): Participating in Extracurricular Activities

This is the sixth and final post in a series of articles about experiences in college that can affect graduates’ engagement and well-being after college. Be sure to read the first five in the series as well: Part 1 – Getting Excited, Part 2 – Feeling Cared For, Part 3 – Having a Mentor, Part 4 – Long Term Project, and Part 5 – Having an Internship.

A recent poll of nearly 30,000 college graduates conducted jointly by Purdue University and Gallup, Inc. looked at the relationship between college experiences and college graduates’ lives post-graduation. The study examined workplace engagement and graduates’ sense of well-being as well as factors influencing students’ life while in college.

According to the results of this study, six factors emerged as important influences on graduates’ engagement and well-being. Over a six week period, our series, College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation has examined each of these factors and how students can take control of their college experiences to make sure that they participate in the activities in college which will help them in the future. We hope parents will share these ideas with their college students to help them work to pursue these important experiences.

Read moreCollege Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 6): Participating in Extracurricular Activities


College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 5): An Internship or Job

This is the fifth in a series of articles about experiences in college that can affect graduates’ engagement and well-being after college. Be sure to read the first four posts in the series as well: Part 1 – Getting Excited, Part 2 – Feeling Cared For, Part 3 – Having a Mentor, and Part 4 – Long Term Project.

A recent poll of nearly 30,000 college graduates conducted jointly by Purdue University and Gallup, Inc. looked at the relationship between college experiences and college graduates’ lives post-graduation. The study examined workplace engagement and graduates’ sense of well-being as well as factors influencing students’ life while in college.

According to the results of this study, six factors emerged as important influences on graduates’ engagement and well-being. Over a six week period, our series, College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation will examine each of these factors and how students can take control of their college experiences to make sure that they participate in the activities in college which will help them in the future. We hope parents will share these ideas with their college students to help them work to pursue these important experiences.

Read moreCollege Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 5): An Internship or Job


College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 4): Working on a Longer Project

This is the fourth in a series of articles about experiences in college that can affect graduates’ engagement and well-being after college. Read the first three in the series here, here, and here.

A recent poll of nearly 30,000 college graduates conducted jointly by Purdue University and Gallup, Inc. looked at the relationship between college experiences and college graduates’ lives post-graduation. The study examined workplace engagement and graduates’ sense of well-being as well as factors influencing students’ life while in college.

According to the results of this study, six factors emerged as important influences on graduates’ engagement and well-being. Over a six week period, our series, College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation will examine each of these factors and how students can take control of their college experiences to make sure that they participate in the activities in college which will help them in the future. We hope parents will share these ideas with their college students to help them work to pursue these important experiences.

I worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete.

Thirty-two percent of graduates responding to this question strongly agreed. That means that nearly one third of college students worked on a long-term project – but nearly two-thirds did not. That means that a large majority of students have not had the experience of seeing through a longer project before they enter their career. Since many projects in the workplace are longer term projects, these students may be missing a key piece of preparation for workplace demands. And more importantly for this study, the majority of graduates have not engaged in one of the activities which will help them thrive beyond college.

Read moreCollege Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 4): Working on a Longer Project


College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 3): Making the Most of a Mentor

This is the third in a series of articles about experiences in college that can affect graduates’ engagement and well-being after college. Read the first in the series here, and the second here.

A recent poll of nearly 30,000 college graduates conducted jointly by Purdue University and Gallup, Inc. looked at the relationship between college experiences and college graduates’ lives post-graduation. The study examined workplace engagement and graduates’ sense of well-being as well as factors influencing students’ life while in college.

According to the results of this study, six factors emerged as important influences on graduates’ engagement and well-being. Over the next six weeks, our series, College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation will examine each of these factors and how students can take control of their college experiences to make sure that they participate in the activities in college which will help them in the future. We hope parents will share these ideas with their college students to help them work to pursue these important experiences.

Read moreCollege Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 3): Making the Most of a Mentor


College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 2): Having Someone Care

This is the second in a series of articles about experiences in college that can affect graduates’ engagement and well-being after college. Read the first in the series here.

A recent poll of nearly 30,000 college graduates conducted jointly by Purdue University and Gallup, Inc. looked at the relationship between college experiences and college graduates’ lives post-graduation. The study examined workplace engagement and graduates’ sense of well-being as well as factors influencing students’ life while in college.

According to the results of this study, six factors emerged as important influences on graduates’ engagement and well-being. Over the next six weeks, our series, College Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation will examine each of these factors and how students can take control of their college experiences to make sure that they participate in the activities in college which will help them in the future. We hope parents will share these ideas with their college students to help them work to pursue these important experiences.

My professors at college cared about me as a person.

Less than a third of graduates in this study, 27%, strongly agreed with the above statement. Obviously, this means that the large majority of students who attend college do not feel that they make a strong enough connection with their faculty members for the professor to care about them as a person.

Read moreCollege Experiences That Lead to Well-Being After Graduation (Part 2): Having Someone Care