Information for the parents of college students
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Category — Student Success Tips

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

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

Is Your Student “Present” at College?

Distractions.  We’re surrounded by them in today’s world.  Children, students, adults: no one is immune to the constant bombardment and the temptation to try to go in many different directions at once.  We check our phones and social media, we send and receive texts, and we multitask. (How else would we ever get anything done?)  Some of us thrive on the energy – or at least we think we do.  Others lament the intrusion and wish we could shut the world out on occasion.  But whether we like it or not, we live in a distracted society.

What’s the problem?

The distractions we live with day to day can separate us from the present moment.  As we experience these distractions more and more, we lose, or at least weaken, our ability to be present now, where we find ourselves.  And although we all experience this separation, it can be even more of a problem for our college students.

For instance, several studies have indicated some alarming statistics about students and their phones. One study suggests that students check their phones on average every 11 minutes.  Another found that students check their phones 11.43 times each day while they are in class.  Still another study found that 40% of students said they would be incapable of going more than 10 minutes without checking their phones.  So clearly students are attached to their phones, to their social media, to their texts.  And in reality, so are many of their parents.

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November 14, 2016   No Comments

The Delicate Balance of Support and Self-Reliance

So much of the college experience is about balance.  Students work at learning to balance social life and studying, independence and responsibility, seriousness and frivolity.  As parents, it is sometimes difficult to watch as our students practice the skill of balance – and sometimes fail.  But just as we had to finally take the training wheels off and let go of the bicycle, we need to step back and watch as our students take off.

One of the balancing acts that many students struggle with, especially at the midpoint in a semester, is the balance between self-sufficiency and relying on others.  New college students, especially, may need to learn that being independent doesn’t necessarily mean they need to do everything alone.  Knowing when to rely on themselves and when to turn to others is part of responsible decision making.

Why wouldn’t my student ask for help if he needs it?

There are many reasons why students may not seek the help they need when they need it.

  • “I didn’t realize that I needed help.”
  • “I’ve never needed help before, why would I need it now?”
  • “Things will get better if I just wait long enough.”
  • “I’ll look as though I’m dumb if I ask for help.”
  • “Isn’t it cheating if I get help?”

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October 24, 2016   1 Comment

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

Might Early College High School Be Right for Your Student?

For some students, spending the high school years just waiting to get to college doesn’t happen – and for good reason.  These students are spending their high school years doing the work of college.  They are enrolled in an Early College High School.

Early College High School is not the same thing as Dual Enrollment.  In a dual enrollment program, students attend a traditional high school and take one or two college classes at the same time.  In an Early College High School, some strictly high school classes are replaced by college classes – for all students in the school.  So Early College High School is an institutional, rather than an individual, program.  The program provides an opportunity for students to receive a high school diploma at the same time that they receive college credit, or even an associates degree – tuition free.

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May 16, 2016   No Comments

Partnering With Your Student’s High School for College Success

College success.  It matters to all of us.  Colleges want students to succeed so they will stay in school and graduate.  High schools want students to succeed in college as a demonstration of their high school preparation.  And parents, well, of course we want to see our children succeed and graduate.

But although we all want the same thing for students, we don’t necessarily know how to all work together to make it happen.  Too often, we pull in separate directions, send mixed messages, or even directly oppose each other.  How then, can parents work together with their child’s high school to lay the foundation for college success?

Understand what students need

In 2014, Achieve, Inc., a nonprofit educational reform organization released compelling results of a national study of over 1,300 high school graduates.  We’ve shared some of the results of that study, Rising to the Challenge: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work? in earlier posts.

Graduates, reflecting on their high school experiences after graduation wish they had known more during high school.  So how can we help students understand the value of certain experiences while they are in high school rather than only after high school? One approach to doing this is for parents and high schools to work more closely together to partner for their students’ success.

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March 7, 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.


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   1 Comment