What Should My College Student Consider When Choosing a Schedule of Classes?

One very important task that each college student faces each semester is choosing his classes for the next semester.  It is exciting for students to consider the wide array of classes from which they may choose, but also intimidating to consider the implications of making the appropriate – or inappropriate choices.

As parents of college students, we may feel that we should have some input.  Discussing your college student’s class choices is always a good thing.  It will help you to understand your student’s interests and goals, and it may help your student to clarify his thinking as you talk about his decisions.  However, it is important to remember that it is your college student who will be taking the classes, and that he has, hopefully, made informed decisions in consultation with an Academic Advisor who understands college expectations and requirements.

Read moreWhat Should My College Student Consider When Choosing a Schedule of Classes?

It’s Final Exam Time: What’s a College Parent To Do?

Sometimes, it may seem as though one of the most difficult positions for a college parent to be in, is the situation when you know that your student is struggling and you feel as though you cannot do a lot to help.  Sometimes final exam period may feel like one of those times.  You can’t take the exams for your child.  You may be too far away to help him study (and you probably shouldn’t be doing that at this point anyway).  You know that your student is stressed, and exhausted, and you must simply stand back.

Actually, you may not be completely helpless.   There are several ways in which you might help at this final exam time.

Read moreIt’s Final Exam Time: What’s a College Parent To Do?

Who Is Advising My College Student About Academic Issues?

When your student heads off to college, you may worry that she will get lost in the crowd.  It is true that, even in a small college, your student will most likely be on her own more than she was in high school.  She will be making her own decisions (some good and possibly some not as good) and she will be responsible for her own academic path.  But, no matter how large the institution, she won’t be without help.  One major difference may be that she will need to seek that help, it won’t necessarily come looking for her. But the help will be there, and the wise student will take advantage of it.

One of the sources of help with academic decisions may be your student’s Academic Advisor.  The structure of the Academic Advising program may vary dramatically from institution to institution (there are many different models), but the basic principle is the same.  Each student is usually assigned a faculty or staff member who is there to give the student guidance in making academic decisions. The advisor may also help the student as he considers his personal, professional and educational goals.

Read moreWho Is Advising My College Student About Academic Issues?

Parenting Your College Transfer Student: Navigating the Transfer Process

In our last post, we considered some ways in which you might help your college student think about a transfer to another college.  Here, we consider how to help your student through the actual transfer process itself.  Our next post will examine ways in which you can support your new transfer student.

 Once your college student has made a decision to transfer to another college, there are some important tasks to be done.

Gather lots of information about potential colleges and/or programs.

 Your student may know exactly where he wants to transfer, or he may be looking for the appropriate school.  The more information he can gather, the more smoothly the process will go.  One advantage that your student now has is the knowledge he has gained through the time he has spent at his current school.  As he thinks about the reasons for transferring, he will think of questions he wants to be sure that he asks at the new school.  What are his priorities?  What wasn’t working (if anything) at the current school?  Encourage him to take time to look carefully at the new institution.  Study the website.  Visit the school.  Stay overnight on campus if possible.  Talk to current students.  Meet with admissions or advising personnel at the new school. Ask lots of questions.

Read moreParenting Your College Transfer Student: Navigating the Transfer Process

Parenting Your College Transfer Student: The Decision to Transfer

Roughly 2.5 million college students every year transfer to a different school.  Statistics from the United States Department of Education suggest that close to 60% of college students will attend more than one school before they graduate.  While many students find just the right college and stay there for four years, these statistics suggest that there is a good chance that your college student may consider a transfer to another college at some point during his college career.

While the overall transfer rate in the United States may be going up, if your child decides to transfer, the process is a major event for him.  Even though others may be going through the same process, it does not lessen the impact of the decision for your individual student.  Obviously, for some students who attend 2 year institutions, the decision may not be whether to transfer, but rather where to transfer. For other students, the decision is more difficult because a transfer may be an option.  Your student will need to go through a process of deciding whether or not a transfer is the right answer for him.  If he does decide to make a change, he will need to deal with the actual process of transferring, and finally he’ll need to make the transfer work once it happens.  This post considers some of the reasons that college students consider transferring to another institution and how you can help with the process.

Read moreParenting Your College Transfer Student: The Decision to Transfer

College Textbooks: Keep, Sell, Donate?

In our previous two posts, we considered the high cost but importance of textbooks and possible ways to save money when buying them.  In this final post on the topic, we’ll consider what students can do with their books at the end of the semester.

Your college student has just completed his course.  He bought his textbook and used it diligently throughout the semester.  Now that the course is over, he’s wondering what to do with this pile of books.  He has several options.

Read moreCollege Textbooks: Keep, Sell, Donate?

Where and How to Buy College Textbooks

In our last post, we considered the importance of college textbooks and some of the reasons why they are so expensive.  In this post, we’ll consider some possible ways of obtaining books. Our next post will consider ways students can sell books at the end of the semester.

Students may buy new books from the campus bookstore.

When your student considers possible ways of getting his textbooks, he’ll need to weigh convenience and cost.  The most convenient way to purchase his books is through the campus bookstore.  Bookstores work to make the task as convenient as possible.  If the student knows the name of the course and the instructor, the bookstore can usually tell him exactly what he needs for the course.  At many schools students can pre-order their books and have them waiting for them when they arrive or even delivered to their dorm.  However, this convenience comes with a price.  Campus bookstores are the most expensive way to buy a textbook.

Alternatives to the college bookstore may take a bit more work, and definitely some pre-planning, but there are alternatives out there.  Here are a few possibilities.

Read moreWhere and How to Buy College Textbooks

College Textbooks: Tools of the Trade

This is the first of three posts about one of a student’s most valuable tools – her textbooks.  In this post, we’ll consider some essential facts and tips about the importance of textbooks.  In our next posts, we’ll consider some alternative ways to purchase books and some thoughts about reselling them later.

Aside from tuition, one of the major expenses your college student will encounter during the college years will be the cost of textbooks.  Students often head off to college knowing that they will need to buy their books and supplies, but having no idea how much to expect to pay.  As college parents, there are some important points about textbooks which you can help your student anticipate and understand.

Read moreCollege Textbooks: Tools of the Trade

The Course Syllabus: Roadmap to Success

This is one of those articles designed to help you, as a college parent, understand your child’s world in college.  It may be helpful as you have conversations with your college student throughout the semester.

Almost every college course will begin with a syllabus.  It is generally handed out to students on the first day of class.  Some instructors may post their syllabi on line.  The syllabus is the roadmap of the course.  It lets the student know, at the very beginning of the course, what the expectations are, how to contact the instructor, what assignments will be due, and often a class by class or week by week plan of what will be happening.

Here are ten important pieces of information that may be gleaned from the syllabus.

Read moreThe Course Syllabus: Roadmap to Success

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