Information for the parents of college students
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Category — Your College Parent Role

College Officials Gather to Discuss College Parents

Yes, parents, colleges are talking about you.  In this age of constant communication between students and their parents, this age of increased parental involvement in many aspects of their students’ lives, and this age of growing concern over student success and persistence in college, institutions are continuing their quest to find ways to reach out to and engage the parents of college students.

This may sound strange as we hear so much about helicopter parents and snowplow parents.  Aren’t institutions trying to discourage parents, to get them to “let go?”  The answer is, “no.”  Colleges want parents to connect to the institution and to engage with the school – and with their students – in appropriate ways.  And they are realizing that parents may need help discovering how to do that.

This month, the Association of Higher Education Parent Program Professionals (AHEPPP) held its fifth annual conference in Boulder, Colorado.  Nearly 200 college personnel gathered to discuss the parent programming at their institutions.  Many of the individuals at the conference have as their sole job description working with the parents of students at their institutions.  So, parents, don’t think for a moment that your student’s institution doesn’t care about you – beyond your tuition dollars.

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November 21, 2016   No Comments

College Parent News and Views

The more that college parents know and understand about the college experience, the less we worry and the better we will be able to help our students to succeed and thrive throughout their college career.  However, there is an overwhelming amount of information out there on the web.   We’d like to help you find some of the information that might be most interesting and useful to you as a college parent.

In News and Views we share recent college related news and sources we’ve found as we do our research.  We hope that this feature will help to introduce you to new ideas and to help you keep up with some of the current issues that may affect your college student – and you.

We invite you to read some of the articles suggested below – and to let us know what you think of some of the ideas included here.
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October 31, 2016   No Comments

College Parents in 2016: Where Do You Fit?

In June 2016, College Parents of America, a membership organization designed to assist college parents, conducted their latest survey of college parents.  College Parents of America gathered information from 510 parents through their subscribers and other internet channels.  According to the CPA website, the new survey showed that “college parents are an important source of support for increasing student success and college completion.”  We couldn’t agree more.

Parent involvement

This survey clearly demonstrates that parents are, or at least hope to be, involved in their student’s college life.  More than two thirds of parents responding said they plan to participate in family events such as move-in, orientation, or family weekend. Thirty-six percent said they communicate or plan to communicate with their student at least daily.  Although the college parents responding to this survey may be a somewhat self-selecting group, parents, on the whole, want to be involved.  Approximately 40% of parents responding said that their student attends college more than 4 hours away from home, so involvement for these parents may be different.

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August 4, 2016   No Comments

College Parent Portal: Not Necessarily An Open Door for Everyone

Many elementary, middle and high schools today use a Parent Portal of some sort to help parents stay abreast of their student’s progress and activities.  Parents are encouraged to stay involved and to check the Portal every day.  Portals often provide information about school activities, attendance information, homework assignments, and student grades.  Parents can also use the portal to communicate with their student’s teachers, guidance counselors and even the school principal.

Is there a problem?

Schools use Parent Portal pages because they work.  They help maintain the connection and communication between students, school and parents.  Many colleges now have parent portal pages as well. So what’s the problem?

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February 22, 2016   No Comments

Colleges Recognize Parents As An Important Part of Student Success

Students head to college, not their parents; and students are, obviously, the main focus of the colleges they attend.  But even when your student goes to college, you are still part of the total picture of your student’s experiences, and colleges are recognizing your importance more and more.  In spite of all of the negative press about “helicopter parents” or “snowplow parents,” your appropriate involvement is important.

As an indication of the importance of parents to the college experience, many schools now have a staff member, or perhaps an entire office, dedicated to working with parents.  Recently, college personnel who work with parents and families at their institutions met in Savannah, GA to compare notes and share ideas at the fourth annual conference of AHEPPP – the Association of Higher Education Parent Program Professionals.  More than 160 colleges and universities are represented in the organization.  Parents, you matter to your students’ institutions!

If you haven’t discovered the Parent Office at your student’s institution, you might want to investigate whether there is one.  This office may communicate regularly with parents, or may be responsible for running events such as Orientation or Parents/Family Weekend.   According to a survey conducted biennially by the University of Minnesota since 2003, 23% of those responding to the survey this year said their office had been newly established in the past five years.

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November 9, 2015   No Comments

Helicopter Parents Are Still Flying High

It’s not a new story.  But perhaps the story is that it is still a story.  We wrote our first post about the phenomenon of helicopter parenting on College Parent Central back in 2009 and it wasn’t a new concept then.  A lot of attention has been given to this parenting style over the past few years, but it appears that not much has changed.  However, with the release of a new book by Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Freshman Dean at Stanford, the issue of helicopter parenting – and its consequences – has gained visibility and has become news once again.  (Watch for our review of How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success in a few weeks.)

Helicopter parents are such a staple these days that the term was admitted to the Merriam Webster dictionary in 2011.  This dictionary defines the term as “a parent who is overly involved in the life of his/her child.”  It includes parents who are overprotective or show excessive interest in their child’s life, those who micromanage their children, who intervene in conflicts, solve children’s problems, and make important decisions for their child.  It often begins early and continues well through college – and beyond.

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August 10, 2015   2 Comments

Parents: Write a Commencement Speech

‘Tis the season of graduations and commencements.  And if there are graduations and commencements, then there are certainly speeches.

Most graduation speakers, students and dignitaries alike, work hard to craft a message that is a little bit autobiographical, a little bit clever and humorous, a little bit thought-provoking, and delivers an important message about life.

In spite of the hard work that these speech writers put in to their speeches, most also know that not many in the room, or auditorium, or gym or on the quad, will be listening.  And of those who listen, only a small percentage will remember what was said.  When she delivered the Commencement address at Harvard University in 2008, author J. K. Rowling actually found comfort in the fact that probably no one would remember what she had to say.  It calmed her nerves.  Obviously, graduation speeches are lost on the graduates.

But graduations and commencements continue to feature speakers who deliver advice and proclaim values that could, indeed, become life changing – or at least life guiding.  And perhaps some of the people who benefit most from those speeches are the writers themselves.  It is no easy task to decide what single message you think will most benefit a group of young adults about to head to college or out into the world.

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May 18, 2015   No Comments

Reflecting on Six Years: College Parent Central’s Anniversary

Each year, as April rolls around, College Parent Central celebrates an anniversary.  We are always pleased, and sometimes a little amazed, that we’re still here a year later.  This year we celebrate our sixth anniversary.  When we first launched on April Fool’s Day in 2009, we weren’t sure what to expect.  We recognized that college parents needed information and support, and we hoped that we could help provide some of that guidance.  Six years later, parents continue to let us know that they appreciate the information that we provide.

Thank you to those who have supported us and shared our information with others!

Our journey and evolution

Over the years, we have seen some important things remain constant and other things evolve.  It’s been an interesting journey.

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April 9, 2015   No Comments

College Parent News and Views

The more that college parents know and understand about the college experience, the less we worry and the better we will be able to help our students to succeed and thrive throughout their college career.  However, there is an overwhelming amount of information out there on the web.   We’d like to help you find some of the information that might be most interesting and useful to you as a college parent.

In News and Views we share recent college related news and sources we’ve found as we do our research.  We hope that this feature will help to introduce you to new ideas and to help you keep up with some of the current issues that may affect your college student – and you.

We invite you to read some of the articles suggested below – and to let us know what you think of some of the ideas included here.

[Read more →]

January 29, 2015   No Comments

Resolutions for 2015 for College Parents (and Almost College Parents)

Each year at College Parent Central we focus on some resolutions for the New Year.  We know it’s often hard (if not impossible) to keep our resolutions, but focusing on some goals for the new year is a good exercise.  It helps us think about where we’ve been and where we’re going.

If you’re a college parent (or almost a college parent), focusing on where you’re going in the next few years may be a combination of the unknown, the scary, the exciting, and just simply the adventure.  We hope that you and your student find joy and meaning in that adventure.

We’ve offered some resolutions over the past few years and we think they are still worth considering (especially if you’re new to this college parent world).  Check out our earlier New Year resolutions at the end of this post.

For 2015, we’d like to offer 8 resolutions for parents – whether you are college parents now or still high school parents just beginning the college journey.  Like so many resolutions, these may be tough, but we hope you’ll come back to the list throughout the year and see how you’re doing.

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January 1, 2015   1 Comment