Information for the parents of college students
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Category — College Academics

Why You Need to Talk to Your College Student About Academic Integrity

Values, honesty, kindness, caring, work ethic.  We spend much of our children’s lives teaching them – overtly or through example – about the values that we hold dear.  It’s part of what raising a child is all about.

So by the time that our students reach college, we may assume that we’re done.  We’ve put in the work over the years to teach/show them what we believe and now they’re on their own to put it into practice. If they haven’t gotten it by now, there’s no use doing more talking.

While it’s true that we’ve been teaching and modeling values all through our children’s lives, it’s important – as your student heads to college – that you talk with him about academic integrity.  It matters, and your student’s college career could depend on a solid understanding of what it is, why it matters, and how to prevent getting into “integrity trouble.”

Where do you start?

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February 13, 2017   No Comments

Help Your Student Make Good Study Habits Stick

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

Jim Ryuh

January.  It’s the time of year for resolutions, new habits, and optimism that this year will be better than the last.  Thank goodness we all have an opportunity once each year for a reset.

For most students, the New Year not only provides the usual possibilities, it is often the start of a new semester as well.  This means a fresh start.  Even the best students often have plans to make this new semester even better than the last.

But unfortunately, we all know that most New Year’s resolutions often fall by the wayside a few months, weeks, days, or maybe even hours into the year.  We all have trouble making them stick, and students are no different.

An article on Headspace, an online meditation website, discussed ways to make meditation stick for those who were giving it a try.  Although we think meditation can be wonderful for students (and their parents,) this article is about how students can use the same principles that the Headspace article discussed to help them make new study habits stick.

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January 9, 2017   No Comments

Does It Matter Who Is Teaching Your College Student?

Chances are good that your college student is being taught by, has been taught by, or will be taught by at least one, and probably several adjunct instructors.  Whether your student attends a local community college, a small liberal arts college, or a large public or private research university, adjunct instructors are the “new normal” in the world of higher education.

The work of adjunct instructors, part-time instructors, part-time lecturers, contingent instructors, or whatever other title is used, is an important and hotly debated topic in higher education today.  According to the Department of Education, over 70% of college instructors are adjunct professors (approximately 800,000 in the United States.)  This is up from 35% in 1975. Current issues of debate around the use of adjunct professors include working conditions, pay equity, student success, and the right to unionize.

The use of adjuncts in higher education is an important topic, and we urge parents and students to read some of the many articles available to understand the issues and to weigh in on the discussion.  Our concern in this article is how your student can get the most out of the classes that he will inevitably take with adjunct professors.

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September 5, 2016   No Comments

Is Your Student Prepared for the Best Possible Start in College?

For many new college students, the first semester of college presents a challenge – and not just inside the classroom.  The transition to college is exciting; but it can be stressful and difficult for many students. Most students start out committed to doing well in college, but they sometimes lose focus on how to move toward their goal.

We’ve written an earlier post about the many challenges that students face during this important first semester of college.  Please take a few minutes to read about and anticipate some of these challenges.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your student had a coach to make this journey through the first semester along with your student?

At College Parent Central, we are committed to not only helping you, as a college parent, navigate the college experience and support your student, but also to helping your student as well.  We continue to share information with parents, but sometimes, students may need guidance from someone other than a parent.

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August 15, 2016   No Comments

The Degree map: Your College Student’s Path to Graduation

Sometimes we like to take the scenic route to our destination, and sometimes we want the most direct route possible.  It’s important to know the difference.

When your student begins her college career, the hope is that she will graduate in four years.  Colleges are increasingly recognizing that students need important information in order to know and understand their path to graduation.  Degree maps are one way to help students track their path and their progress toward that final diploma.

What is a degree map?

A degree map is a semester by semester list of courses which a student needs to take in order to graduate on time. Sometimes called a major map, it suggests courses to complete each semester in order to be “on track” to graduation by taking the right courses in the right order.  Degree maps are intended to be student friendly and dynamic, changing as student situations change.  If your student changes major, for instance, her degree map would obviously change as well.

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February 15, 2016   No Comments

Ready for Class Day One?

Whether your college student is beginning the first day of her first class in college or just beginning a new semester, she needs to be ready to succeed right from the start. One of the beautiful things about the college system is that students get a brand new start at least twice a year in a semester system (even more if the school has a trimester or quarterly system).  Students begin a new semester with new courses and new instructors.  A fresh start for everyone.

So your student has a fresh start and new classes.  She needs to show up and begin, right?  Well, maybe.  There’s a difference between students who just show up the first day (and we know just showing up for class is important) and those who show up just a little more prepared and ready to succeed right out of the gate.

What can your student do to make sure she’s one of those students with that beginning edge?  Here are a few suggestions that can make the difference.

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January 11, 2016   No Comments

There is Life After Academic Dismissal! An Inspiring Story for the Holidays

As we approach what, for many of us, is the holiday season, we want to share an inspiring success story with you.  The story comes from one of our readers.

We often receive comments on posts or e-mails from both parents and students.  Many of these messages come at a time of difficulty – often around probation or dismissal or other crises.  It is often a time of struggle and uncertainty.  As often as we can, we offer a few words of encouragement or advice, and most of the time we never know what happens.

Here is a portion of one such comment, received in  the summer of 2013 on our post What to Do If Your Student is Academically Dismissed.

“Vicki,

First of all, I really appreciate your responses!  I have learned a lot just by reading them.  I do have a similar issue with being Academically Dismissed.  I was attending school and majoring in Gerontology.  I attained my Associate in Arts degree prior.  I did very well my first 2 semesters, but then some personal tragedies began to unravel my life. . . . Unfortunately, due to my living situation being turned upside down and also my car breaking down and having to buy a new one, school was not feasible.  I stopped attending class because I had to go to work.  I was a mere 20 credits away from my degree. 

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December 21, 2015   No Comments

The Race to Place: A College Parent’s Guide to Advanced Placement

As July approaches each year, many high school students eagerly await the release of Advanced Placement scores.  These scores may determine whether students will receive college credit or have the option of being placed in advanced, upper level college courses.  If you have a high school student, you may be wondering whether your student should be taking Advanced Placement, or AP courses.  If you have a student about to enter college, you may even wonder whether your student missed an important opportunity.  The short answer is, it depends . . .

Advanced Placement, or AP, courses allow students to participate in college level classes as part of their high school curriculum.  Most students who take an AP course then take the national exam for that course at the end of the year.  Students who receive a score that is high enough may receive college credit and may be exempted from taking certain introductory level classes. More than 2600 colleges in 100 countries grant credit for AP work.  31% of schools consider AP scores as they award scholarships.  AP courses and exams are offered in over 30 subjects.

What are the advantages of taking on the harder work of an AP class?

There are several advantages to taking AP classes:

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July 10, 2015   No Comments

Should Being Undecided About a Major Matter When Choosing a College?

We ask our high school students to make some big decisions about their lives.  Often, it feels as though, as adults, we switch back and forth between “You’re too young to understand,” to “Now it’s time to decide what you want to do with your life.”  Is it any wonder that many high school students, in the midst of trying to select a college, may feel overwhelmed?

What are you going to do with your life?

As your high school student approaches his junior and senior year of high school, the two questions he is probably asked more often than any others are “Where are you going to apply to college?” and “What are you going to major in?”  For a student who may not yet know what he is interesting in majoring in – and that may be as high as half of all entering college students – answering the first question may be harder.  Students who don’t yet have a major in mind may find it harder to select a college.

There are many different reasons why students may not have a major in mind as they search for a college.  It’s important that parents help their students understand that it’s fine not to have a major in mind yet.  (One student suggests that as many as 75% of students who enter college with a major change their mind anyway.)  But not having a major in mind means that there is one less factor to consider when looking at various schools.

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May 11, 2015   No Comments

How Hard Is College?

Does your soon-to-be college student worry about how hard college is going to be?  Probably.  Do you worry about how hard college will be for your student – and whether she’ll be able to do well?  Probably.  Can you find the answer?  Probably not.

Many, if not most, college students – or almost-college-students – and their parents worry about how hard college will be.  Students may not voice their concerns out loud, but they are there.  Will school be hard?  Will I be able to do the work?  Will I understand the material and what is being asked of me?  They may ask their advisors, faculty members, other students – “Is this class hard?”

The answers may not be very satisfying.  It depends.  Hard is relative.  It may be as hard as you make it.

What do students mean by “hard?”

Hard, of course, can mean many things – and different things to different people.  It may mean difficult, challenging, complex, time consuming, a lot of work.  It may mean arduous, demanding, exacting, strenuous, exhausting, grueling, painful, distressing, brutal, complicated, intense.

A lot of scary words.

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February 12, 2015   No Comments