Ten Suggestions to Help Students Through the Stress of Midterm Exams

Midterm exam time is a stressful time for most students.  For many students, midterm exam time comes as a wake-up call.  The beginning of the semester has progressed smoothly, or so it seems, and then suddenly your student realizes how much there still is to do on that paper or project, or how many chapters are yet unread, or how much material must be memorized for an exam.  Although some students may have had large midterm or final exams in high school, for some students this may be a new experience.  This may be one of the first big college reality checks for your student.

College parents may feel helpless as their college student begins to worry or even panic over exams.  This is one of those college moments where your student needs to figure out how she will cope.  However, there are a few things that parents can do to help students through this stressful time.

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Helping Your College Student Be a Better Student: Twelve Questions to Ask

Your college student may have been an outstanding scholar in high school, or he may have struggled throughout his academic career.  His patterns of being a student have been set for years.  However, college provides a new academic start for students.  Students who breezed through high school may find themselves challenged for the first time.  Students who found themselves labeled as poor students in high school may find that the fresh start gives them new energy and perspective on their studies.

Whether your student is encountering academic difficulty for the first time in college, or has fought this battle before, you may receive the phone call in which your student worries about her grades, complains about the amount and difficulty of the work, is aggravated at the professor, and is generally discouraged.  Academics in college are very different than in high school and they often require a new approach.

What is a parent to do?  First of all, listen.  Let your student vent.  Sometimes, that may be all that is necessary.  But second, ask some questions to help your student try to figure out what he can do to make things better.  Help him think about taking action.  Here are twelve questions that you might ask your struggling student to help him think through the issue.

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Two Habits That Will Make Your College Student Stop Listening To You

As a college parent, you experience a changing relationship with your college student once she heads off to college.  During her growing years, you have functioned as caretaker, worrying and working to make sure that all has gone as well as possible in many areas of her life.  Once your student goes to college, you will have less contact with her everyday life.  This doesn’t mean that you will necessarily have less communication with her.  Conversations change from “Where are you going?”, “When will you be home?” and “You need to pick up your shoes,” to more interesting and potentially more meaningful topics.

Most of us value our conversations and discussions with our college students.  We want to know how their lives are unfolding, what they are thinking and feeling, and we want to share our thoughts with them.  Chances are that our students want the same thing.  However, even with our best of intentions, there are two conversational habits which are what Rebecca Shafir in her book The Zen of Listening calls “listening stoppers”. We probably don’t even realize that we are doing these things.

Take some time to consider whether you might be guilty of either of these habits.

Read moreTwo Habits That Will Make Your College Student Stop Listening To You


Helping Your College Student Find Support On Campus

As a college parent, you want to support your college student in any way that you can.  You talk on the phone (but hopefully not too often), you send mail (students love to find something in their mailbox), you send care packages, you listen when she shares joys or worries; but there is a limit to what you can do.  In your attempts to help your student find her increasing independence and sense of responsibility, you need to help your student find and use appropriate on-campus support systems.

Your college student may continue to turn to you for help.  Or he may feel that being grown up means that he needs to do everything for himself.  In either case, he may not be finding and taking advantage of the resources available to him on campus.  Be there for him, but help him consider who else might best help him.  Ask questions and suggest that he investigate some of the possible support available on his campus.  Here are fifteen possible sources of help.

Read moreHelping Your College Student Find Support On Campus


What To Do If Your Student Is Academically Dismissed From College

When you send your student off to college you hope and assume that he will be successful.  Most students are successful and do well.  However, some students struggle – either socially or academically. No parent wants to receive the news that his or her student has been academically dismissed from college because of poor performance.  It is distressing and disheartening news.  But it does happen, and parents need to help students deal with the situation.  Although you may be disappointed, and possibly angry, your response may be a large factor in helping your student move forward.

Here are some things to consider if your college student is academically dismissed from college.

Read moreWhat To Do If Your Student Is Academically Dismissed From College


Ten Things To Do If You Need To Call Your Child’s College

As a college parent you’ve listened to all of the advice and you’re working hard to help your college student gain independence and responsibility.  You encourage her to handle her own problems and talk to the appropriate contact people at the college when she has questions or problems.  But something has come up and you feel that it is absolutely necessary for you to step in and talk to someone at the school.  What do you do now?

Here are ten things to consider that will make your phone call effective.

Read moreTen Things To Do If You Need To Call Your Child’s College


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