Reading List: When Your College Student Graduates

Congratulations!  Your college student is about to graduate, or perhaps has graduated from college.  He is ready to take on the world!  But, as we all know, that doesn’t mean that your job is done.  You’ve done your work as a college parent, but now a different, and in some ways even more delicate form of parenting begins.  Your student may have a job and be out on his own.  He may have moved on to graduate school.  He may be returning to your nest for a while.  Current research and theory suggest that students who graduate from college are part of that group now being identified as “emerging adults” – certainly not children or adolescents, but yet not quite adults yet.  As a parent of an emerging adult, you now have a new role.

This post includes a list of nine books which may be of interest to parents of college graduates.  The list is not exhaustive, there are certainly even more resources available, but this list should give parents a good start on material to support them through this interesting time.  All of the books have different styles and approaches, so it is important to find the books which resonate for you.

Read moreReading List: When Your College Student Graduates


What Do Employers Want From Your College Student? A Liberal Education

There are many opinions proposed, many surveys taken, much research done regarding what employers want and expect from college graduates.  The answers may vary over the years, and may vary depending on profession or field of study.  Some skills may be very specific and others more broad.

College students often do not consider the actual skills that employers want.  Students may be thinking in terms of all-college requirements, requirements in their major, and possibly a minor, and what they need to do to graduate.  They often miss the connections between what they are doing in college and what they will need to do once they graduate – especially regarding those courses outside of their major.

As a college parent, you may want to talk with your student about what he is learning.  Ask him about the skills he is gaining in his classes.  Ask him about internships and real world application of his learning. Help him explore connections between his learning and his goals.  Help him explore the meaning of a Liberal Education. The more that your student, and you, understand and consider the meaning of his college education, the more easily he will be able to apply his learning to his life.

Read moreWhat Do Employers Want From Your College Student? A Liberal Education


How Does Your College Student Feel About His First Job?

Of course, the best answer to the question of how your college student feels about his first job is to ask him.  Every student is different.  Every student has different goals and ambitions, different strategies, different needs.  Hopefully, as your student has maneuvered his way through his college career, you’ve had opportunities to talk about his dreams and ambitions, and about the realities he will face when he hits the job market.

In spite of all of the individual differences, however, there are trends today in college graduates’ attitudes and approaches toward their first post-college job.  If you haven’t already had some conversations with your college student about his career thinking, some of the following information may be a good beginning point for discussion.  This information comes from the 2010 annual survey of college students conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).  Between February and April of 2010, NACE surveyed more than 12,000 graduating seniors at over 400 colleges throughout the United States.  Here are some of the things that they found.

Read moreHow Does Your College Student Feel About His First Job?


Fall Preparations for Your College Senior’s Transition Out of School

It probably seems like only yesterday that you and your college student were worrying about Freshman Orientation, Move-in Day, understanding the world of college, and getting started in the right direction.  Now your college student is approaching the end of his college career.  Hopefully, you’ve watched him grow and blossom throughout his college years, and he’s now managing more on his own.  However, you likely still worry at times, and wonder how he will fare in his new transition to come.

Although for many seniors graduation still seems a long way off, there are some important things that your student can and should do in the fall to prepare for a successful finale in the spring.  It may be helpful for you to have some conversations with your senior now to help her get on track.  Here are some things that you might suggest to your student.

Read moreFall Preparations for Your College Senior’s Transition Out of School


Why Your College Student Should Consider an Internship

Students have participated in internships for years.  Apprenticeships or on-the-job training are tried and true methods of mentoring and teaching students or workers a new trade or profession.  In recent years, however, the number of college students participating in internship opportunities continues to grow as more and more schools offer structured programs and more and more employers expect graduates to have real world experience.  As a college parent, it is important that you understand, and help your student to understand, the importance of experiencing an internship while he is in school.

What exactly is an internship?

Not all jobs qualify as internships.  Although internships may take many forms, the purpose of an internship is to provide a meaningful learning experience for the student.  It is possible that the work done during an internship may still be menial, but it should be meaningful in helping the student understand the job, profession, or field.  An internship may take place during the academic year or during the summer.  Some students may even apply for an internship after graduation.

Read moreWhy Your College Student Should Consider an Internship


How the College Career Office Can Help Your College Student: Yes, Even Your College Freshman!

Almost every college or university has an office dedicated to helping students find a career in which they are interested and to getting a job after college.  Whether the office is called the Career Center, Career Services Office, Career Placement Office, or some other variation of the title, the function is similar everywhere.  The variety of services offered by these offices is usually wide-ranging.  Unfortunately, many students think of the Career Office as a place they should visit during that last semester of senior year as graduation looms and they realize that they won’t be returning to school in the fall.  Students who learn early that the Career Office can help them, and who visit often at various stages of their college experience, are able to take full advantage of what this department has to offer.

What do Career Offices do?

Most Career Offices offer a variety of services for students.  Some of these services are specifically designed to help students early in their college experiences as they work to decide on their interests, strengths, and abilities and to choose a major.

Read moreHow the College Career Office Can Help Your College Student: Yes, Even Your College Freshman!


How – and Why – to Help Your College Student Create a Budget

College is expensive.  Both parents and students know that they are investing a lot of money in a college education.  Some families have pieced together significant scholarships, grants and loans in order to pay for a college education.  This post is not about those bigger financial issues that make a college education possible.  It is about helping your student create and live by a daily budget for his living expenses.  Whether your student must pay for his own expenses, or whether you partially or fully fund his expenses, college is the ideal time for your student to learn to manage his money carefully.

Working together with your student to help her establish a budget may provide an opportunity for you to talk with her about her priorities, her needs and wants, her interests, and her goals.  You will get to know your student even better.  You will be helping her to establish an important skill for after graduation, as well as helping her to understand where her money goes now.  She may already understand, or she may be surprised to discover, how quickly little expenses add up.  Your student’s budget will be more and more realistic each semester that she spends at college as she learns what true costs are and what opportunities she may have to save.  If she is just starting college, her budget may be only an estimate and she will need to be flexible.

Thinking About Budgeting

Hopefully, your college student will be interested and willing to work at setting up a budget.  If he resists, try to insist.  Help him understand the importance of knowing where his money goes.  Convince him that if he wants or needs more money, or more independence, later, then he will have a more solid argument if he can demonstrate his spending responsibility.  Creating a daily budget is another step toward the responsible independence that both you and your student seek.

Read moreHow – and Why – to Help Your College Student Create a Budget


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