Happy Birthday to Us! College Parent Central Celebrates a Milestone!

2024 is a big year for College Parent Central, and today is a big day. We’ve just turned 15! That’s right. College Parent Central is 15 years old today!

This means we’ve spent a lot of years focusing on college parents, learning everything we can about college parenting, and sharing as much as we are able to help make your journey go more smoothly and to let you know you’re not alone. We’re here for you. That’s the reason College Parent Central exists.

When we first launched on April 1st in 2009, we weren’t sure what to expect. It seemed somehow appropriate to choose April Fool’s Day. Launch something that seems like a good idea and see what happens? A fool’s effort? A joke? Or something that can help parents manage the college journey. Who knows?

We recognized that college parents (and high school parents, too) needed information and support, and we hoped we could help provide some of that guidance. Now, as we celebrate our 15th year doing this work, we continue that belief, and parents continue to let us know they appreciate the information we provide.

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Why Midterm Is Decision Time for Your Student

For many students the midpoint of the semester feels like a shock. How can the semester be half over already? How can I still have so much work to do? Is that really what my grade is at this point of the semester?  It feels as though we just got started and it’s time for midterm exams!

This midterm surprise can be a good thing. For many students it’s a wake-up call or a reality check. This is where you are. This is what’s left. This is what you need to do.

For other students, midterm can be an affirmation that they’re on the right track. They need to continue to do what they’ve been doing.

Still others may realize that a little tweaking will make a difference by the end of the semester. They’re headed in the right direction but need a little fine tuning.

Information gathering

The first thing your student needs to do at midterm is gather as much information as possible. Midterm exams can be a valuable source of that information. An exam can give your student feedback about how well they understand the material.

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Focusing on a Word in 2024: Resilient

Happy New Year! We needed to let the holidays settle and give everyone time to get their bearings this year before tackling a look ahead. Although we often try to get those important resolutions made before January 1, sometimes there’s more clarity after we’ve recovered from the busy holiday season.

But now it’s time to look ahead.

Some of us make resolutions. Fewer of us keep those resolutions. Some of us choose a Word of the Year (WOTY). Some of us hope for the best, and some of us just move ahead – perhaps feeling the optimism of a fresh start or just continuing as usual. How we deal with the close of one year and the opening of another is a very personal choice.

Here at College Parent Central we’ve taken different approaches over the years (and yes, there have been a lot of years by now.) In the past we’ve offered some resolution suggestions for college parents and students. We’ve offered some suggestions for high school parents and students. We’ve thought about what makes a good resolution.  We’ve suggested activities for the new yearpeople to thank, and even offered a few “one-and-done” resolutions. Two years ago we suggested some options for the WOTY approach. Last year we narrowed that down to suggest a particular word – power. That word is still an apt one and we explained many reasons why in last year’s article. Whether or not you decide to choose a word, we highly recommend going back and reading about power as you and your student look ahead to the new year.

This year, we’re going to continue with the Word of the Year approach because it makes sense. Besides, it’s easier to hang on to a single word than to remember (and live up to) a string of resolutions!

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Helpful Ideas for Winter Break and Looking Ahead

The holiday season is upon us and students are headed home to celebrate the holidays and settle in for a long Winter Break. This is a season of festivities, but your student may be exhausted and need a few days to rest up from the end-of-semester activities and exams. They had a lot to get through, but now they can finally relax.

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Deflecting the Q & A of the Holiday Dinner Table

Q & A, in this instance, means Questions and Advice, just what your college or high school student does not want to deal with at the holiday dinner table. But it’s almost inevitable, as the extended family gathers and wants to hear where your student is going to school, what they’ll major in, or how that first semester of college has been going.

Jeff Selingo has written two of my favorite books for college parents, There Is Life After College and Who Gets In and Why. I recommend them any time I can. So when I saw Jeff’s Instagram reel sharing his response to parent questions about the Question and Advice dilemma, I knew it was worth sharing.

The first question was from the parent of a high school senior who wanted to know how his son could deal with all of the inevitable questions he knew he’d get about the colleges he’s applied to. Jeff’s advice was spot on. He suggested turning the conversation around and asking the inquiring relative about their experiences. Where did they go to school? Where else had they applied or considered? Why did they make the choice they did? What had they learned from the process or what did they wish they had known earlier? Was there anything they might have done differently?

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The Missing Piece in Many Student (and Parent) Orientations

Most students, and many parents, participate in an Orientation session (sometimes multiple days) at the beginning of the college journey. Colleges work hard to help students and parents understand what to expect, learn about resources, and be prepared for the road ahead.

But for many students and their families, there may be a missing (or under-emphasized) piece – information about campus sexual violence.

It’s a topic that makes many of us, especially as parents, uncomfortable. We don’t like to think about it, we assume it won’t be an issue for our student, and as long as it is at least touched upon during Orientation we assume and hope that is enough.

It may not be.


Fact: 1 in 4 female students, 1 in 15 male students, and 1 in 5 gender nonconforming students are sexually assaulted during their college year.

Fact: What experts refer to as “the red zone”, the time between the start of the fall semester through Thanksgiving break is a time when more than 50% of all college sexual assaults are statistically found to occur. This is the time of parties, Greek “rush” events and a time when first-year students are particularly vulnerable because of their unfamiliarity with the campus and lack of a strong on-campus support group.

Fact: More than 90% of these incidents are perpetrated by repeat offenders.

Fact: Less than 10% of sexual assaults are reported.

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Rising College Sophomore? Here’s What You Need to Discuss with Your Student

It’s summer, and your college student now has a year of college behind them. You may be breathing a sigh of relief remembering how busy you were at this time last year trying to help your student get ready to head off for the first time. There was so much to do last year – and so much stress for everyone!

This year it feels as though everyone can finally relax. Your student knows what to expect when they go back to school in the fall, and it may feel as though you’re not needed this year.

You’re not quite off the hook yet – and neither is your student. Actually, there are quite a few things that your student could be thinking about and doing this summer to help make the second year of college begin smoothly – and to avoid the dreaded “sophomore slump.”

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Help Your College Grad Feel Better About Moving Back Home

If you have a student graduating from college or graduate school in the next few weeks, chances are you may be getting that bedroom or basement ready to welcome them home again. It can be an emotional time – and you and your student may have different emotions about the impending living arrangements.

The last few weeks of senior year, including senior festivities and all of those activities surrounding “lasts” and Commencement, are both exhilarating and exhausting. Your student will be moving from the ultimate high to coming face-to-face with the reality of determining what’s next. Or it may be possible that your student graduated a year or two ago, gave a try to a new job and living on their own and is now returning home once again to rethink whether that was the right move.

Your student has become one of the Boomerang Generation – returning back to where they started. They aren’t alone. According to the Wall Street Journal, the percentage of students living at home with parents is the highest it has been since 1940. The Pew Research Center in 2016 found that 32 percent of young adults 18-34 were living at home. Seventy percent of those were happy with the arrangement, 96 percent helped with routine chores, and 75 percent contributed to expenses.

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Helping Your College Student Control the Overwhelm

We’re all stressed these days and students are no different. They’re stressed and anxious and struggling with their mental health now more than ever. It’s not very comfortable when we feel stressed and anxious, but it’s worse watching someone you love struggle.

A certain amount of stress is a normal part of college life. After all, there are assignments and papers and projects and exams and grades and social life and future careers to worry about. But when stress slides into feeling overwhelmed by everything, it can feel too challenging to manage.

What is overwhelm? It’s when your student feels submerged, smothered and paralyzed by it all. A certain amount of stress may be normal, but overwhelm feels like too much.

Why the overwhelm?

Students are juggling a lot.  They have schoolwork, possibly a job, a social life, perceived pressure to do well, expectations to live up to, increased responsibilities and independence, overscheduling and probably a lack of sleep.

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Your Student Needs This Time Over Winter Break

This article is an update of an earlier article.

Winter Break. Most college students look forward to it – and they get increasingly impatient for it as the semester draws to a close. Students face deadlines they may have ignored, final papers, final projects, final exams, and a generally stressful few weeks as they finish up their term.

Winter Break

Students don’t want this Break, they need this Break. They’ve worked hard all semester and they need a chance to regroup. This winter, no one is sure what to expect. Covid, the flu, and RSV are making everyone a little nervous. We’re inching back to normal and we hope Winter Break will be comfortable and safe for everyone. The next few weeks may prove challenging for everyone. But wherever you are and whatever your circumstances, most students need one thing as this semester draws to a close: time.

Not all time is the same

No matter how long your student’s break from college, they need to fill it with different kinds of time to help them recharge and to prepare to move forward.

Eight kinds of time your student needs


The end of the semester can be brutal for some students. Your student may come home and sleep for what seems like days. They may just want to binge watch their favorites, play video games, eat junk food, sleep some more and just hang out.

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