Information for the parents of college students
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Category — College Transfer

Is College Transfer the “New Normal?”

Gone are the days when most college students begin and end their college career in four years at a single institution.  Many parents, and their students, still imagine that scenario as students engage in the admissions process and agonize over finding just the right college or university for them.  They see themselves graduating from there at the end of four years.

We now know that fewer and fewer students are completing their college degree in four years.  Five years is now closer to the national average, with many students taking longer than that.  Now a new report has been released indicating that nearly 38% of students who entered college in 2008 moved to a new institution at least once within a six year period.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a non-profit organization based in Virginia tracked 3.6 million students who enrolled in college in the fall of 2008. They looked at the number of students who moved to a new institution prior to completing their bachelor’s degree.  Their findings are certainly important for institutions and policymakers, but may also be important in helping parents be prepared for that moment when their student may come home and say, “Mom and Dad, I want to transfer.”

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July 14, 2015   No Comments

What is “On Time” Graduation? Four Years is Becoming a Myth

You send your student off to college and assume that four years later he will graduate with a degree.  You plan on four years – and you work hard to budget for four years.  And then you realize that it may take your student longer than four years to graduate.  Why is your student the exception – not graduating on time?

It turns out that your student who may need five – or even six – years to graduate is not the exception, but the norm.  A recent report, Four –Year Myth, released by the organization Complete College America points to this new direction in higher education.  The information is sobering, and important for college parents to understand.

Whose report is this?

Complete College America is a national nonprofit organization established in 2009 with the mission of working with the states to “significantly increase the number of Americans with college degrees and to close the attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.”

According to this organization, between 1970 and 2009, undergraduate enrollment in the U.S. more than doubled, while the completion rate has remained unchanged.  Clearly, more students are gaining access to college, but not completing their degrees.

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January 12, 2015   No Comments

“I Don’t Want to Go Back!” Helping Your Student Decide Whether to Return to School

In our previous post, we discussed what to do when your student comes home mid-year and says she doesn’t want to return to school.  First you listen, then you talk about possible reasons and look at options.  Now you need to help your student decide what to do.

Perhaps you’ve seen it coming over the course of the semester, or perhaps it has taken you by surprise.  But your student came home for what you thought was going to be a few weeks for winter break and has announced that she doesn’t want to return to school when break is over.  No one expected this when you headed to school for Move-in Day.

After you’ve listened to your student talk about her reasons – and possibly had to help her determine those reasons, after you’ve helped her think about her possible options, you may need to help her process those options to make a decision.  Of course, you might insist – either that she return to school or stay home – but the decision really must be your student’s or she will not be committed to making it work.

There is no one answer that is the best for all students.  Your student will need to think carefully about her reasons for not wanting to return and her ability to face whatever is making her unhappy or preventing her success.  As you help your student look at her situation from several angles, here are a few thoughts to share.

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December 15, 2014   No Comments

“I Don’t Want to Go Back.” When Your College Freshman Wants to Quit

Sending your high school senior off to be a college freshman was exciting, scary and possibly a little sad.  But you’ve had time to get over many of those mixed emotions and you’re looking forward to him coming home for winter break.  You know you’ll have some negotiating to do so that everyone is comfortable with “house rules” during break, you’ll have a chance to catch up on his new life, and then he’ll return for round two – spring semester.

But what happens if, once your student is home for break, he says that he doesn’t want to return to school?  You hadn’t anticipated this and you aren’t prepared.

Dissatisfaction with the college experience at the end of the first semester is not uncommon.  Several national studies suggest that one third of college students do not return for their sophomore year of college, but there is little data regarding how many of those students leave at the midpoint of their first year.  However, both college personnel and first year students know that there are many students who will not be back for second semester.

So you are faced with a dilemma.  Your student says he does not want to return to school.  What do you do?

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December 11, 2014   No Comments

Readmission to College: The Application Process

This is the second of two posts about the readmission process after academic dismissal. Be sure to read the first post for some suggestions about working with the college during your student’s time away.

Most students who are academically dismissed from college are asked to spend a certain period of time out of the school. That may be a semester, a year, or even longer. If your student has been working closely with the college after his dismissal, he will be clear about the length of time away, and he will have some information about how best to spend that time. The college recognizes that something went wrong for the student when he was enrolled and hopes that some time away will allow the student to address whatever issues interfered with his success.

The decision to return

Once your student feels ready to return to school, the first decision he will need to make is whether he will apply for readmission to his original school or consider transferring to another college or university. This is a very personal decision and should be made in conjunction with his family, and after gathering all of the necessary information from both his original school and any schools to which he is considering applying.

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October 23, 2014   No Comments

Readmission to College: Work With the School

If your student has been dismissed from college for poor academic performance (sometimes called Satisfactory Academic Progress), it can be a devastating blow. Both you and your student will need to come to terms with the reality, evaluate what happened, and decide how to move forward. We have several earlier posts that may help you with these stages of the process.

What To Do If Your Student Is Academically Dismissed from College

Academically Dismissed from College? Time for a Reset

Academically Dismissed from College? Ten Steps to Move On

However, once you and your student have evaluated the situation, and perhaps taken some time away from school, your student may be ready to get back on track – either at her former school or at a new school. She may have questions, but she may not be sure where to begin.

Let your student take ownership

It is important that your student, not you, do the work to prepare to return to school, but you may need to give her some guidance about necessary steps. All calls to the school, all e-mails to school offices, all visits to college offices, all application or appeal materials should be completed by your student and not you. The college is looking for responsibility on your student’s part. She should advocate for herself and make her own case. If you step in, you may actually hurt your student’s chances of being readmitted. [Read more →]

October 20, 2014   No Comments

Arrive, Apply . . . Accepted! Consider Instant Decision Days

The waiting game for high school seniors can be excruciating.  All of the deadlines have been met, the applications sent, and now your student is waiting for the verdict.  In or out?

For an increasing number of students and colleges, the waiting game has been eliminated.  More and more colleges are now conducting Instant Decision or Immediate Decision Days.  Students usually submit their online application ahead of time, sign up for the IDD, arrive on campus with SAT scores, essay, recommendation and transcript, meet with admissions personnel, and leave at the end of the day knowing whether or not they’ve been admitted.  It doesn’t get much faster than that.

Instant Decision Days are not new, but they are expanding.  Ramapo College of New Jersey was one of the first schools to offer this program over twenty years ago.  Today, many schools offer the program.  It is more common for transfer students, but has rapidly expanded to include students directly from high school as well.  Several colleges not only offer the opportunity to attend Instant Decision Days on campus, but take the program to local high schools as well.  Some high schools host several colleges for Instant Decision.  Students can apply to and be accepted to several schools without ever leaving their high school.

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February 6, 2014   No Comments

Why You Need to Support Your College Transfer Student

According to both the Department of Education and the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, nearly 60% of college students will start and end their college careers at different schools.  That is a lot of transfer students.  If your student is one of these transfer students, he may need your support more than ever.

Some college students have no choice but to transfer.  They attend a 2-year institution and then move on to complete their degree at another school.  Other students make the decision to transfer to another school on their own.  Your transfer student is making another transition and is, in some ways, much like a new first-year student only wiser.  Your transfer student has learned something from his experience in college and can take advantage of that knowledge while still experiencing a clean slate at a new school.

The college transfer process may not be easy.  It takes time and energy, requires adjustments, requires understanding of the transfer process and may require extra time from your student to complete her degree.  Your student will be most successful if she knows herself well, understands her strengths, challenges and passions, and evaluates her reasons for the transfer.  According to the 2009 National Survey of Student Engagement, transfer students may be less “engaged” in high impact activities such as study abroad, internships, research, or capstone experiences, so your student may need you to remind her to seek out these opportunities.

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November 13, 2012   2 Comments

Should My College Student Withdraw From College?

Your college student headed off to college with high hopes and aspirations.  He may have given it his best effort and something interfered, or he may not have understood what was going to be required.  Or it is possible that something totally unexpected has interrupted your student’s momentum.  Whatever the reason, it is possible that your student is now struggling and wondering what to do next.

Your student may be considering withdrawing from college – not at the end of a semester, but now, part way into a term.  You may be wondering whether he has options, and whether the choice to withdraw is the best decision.  It is not an easy question to answer.  You and your student should have some frank talk about his reasons and about the implications of his decisions.  We’d like to give you some food for thought – and for discussion.  You and your student will need to consider his reasons for wanting to withdraw (or your reasons for wanting him to withdraw), some pros and some cons, and finally, some important things you’ll need to investigate and consider.

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October 25, 2012   1 Comment

How You Can’t Help Your College Student Stay in School

Students work very hard to get into college.  Students (and their parents) spend years, and countless hours, making just the right list of potential colleges, visiting school after school, studying for SAT or ACT exams, writing college essays, filling out applications, interviewing, and waiting for that all important letter.  Students agonize over the decision to find the place where they feel comfortable, attend Orientations, contact roommates, shop and fill their dorm rooms with all of the necessities.  Why then, do almost 45% of those students who began with so much hope and so many plans, leave college or transfer schools before they complete their degree?

There are hundreds of reasons why students leave the school where they began their college education.  Some students transfer to another school (often losing credits along the way), some dropout entirely, some stopout and return later, and some slowdown and take longer to finish their degree – often as a part-time student.  Because, as parents, we are often used to being responsible for the direction our student takes, we may feel responsible when our student tells us that he wants to leave school.

It is important that college parents understand that there are some factors leading to college success that we can control and help with, and there are factors over which no one has control, or the student alone has control.  It is important to separate the two categories.  In this post, we’d like to take a look at some of the factors that parents can control (a very short list), and some of the major factors that parents cannot control (a much longer list).  We hope that this will help parents understand how varied the reasons for leaving school may be, and also help parents discuss reasons with their college student and help support the college student who may be struggling to succeed.

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December 11, 2010   2 Comments