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


College Parent? Inspiration for Your New Coaching Role

If you’re a new college parent, you’re shifting to a new role as a sideline coach: still involved in your student’s life and success, but with a new approach.  It’s time to get inspired about your new role!

Many of the world’s greatest athletes credit their success to the influence of their coaches.  They recognize that, while they may have certain abilities, they need the teaching, insight, and training that a quality coach can provide.    You may have thought of yourself in this role before –  or this may be a new image for you.  Either way, let’s explore some of the wisdom of the world’s greatest coaches and consider what it means to be a great coach.

Read moreCollege Parent? Inspiration for Your New Coaching Role


Your Role As a College Parent: Sideline Coach

As your child heads off to college, you are probably experiencing many emotions.  That is only natural.  It means that you recognize the enormity of the step that your child is taking.  Remember how it felt when he headed to kindergarten, or got behind the wheel of the car for the first time?  In many ways, this new phase is similar.

It is important to remember that this is a new stage for you as well as for your student.  As the parent of a college freshman, your role is changing in significant ways.  We’re often so busy focusing on our student that we forget that this is a transition for us as well.

Your coaching role

If your student is going to be living away from home, you know that your home-life will be different – more food, less laundry, more quiet, fewer dirty dishes.  You’ll no longer be in the middle of it all with the action swirling around you.

So you now have a choice.  You can feel lost and useless, or you can embrace your new role – as coach.  Like any good coach, there comes a time to step back and observe the results of your hard work.

No matter how important the “big game” is, the coach is on the sidelines.  No matter how much he may want to, the coach can’t play the game for the players.  But if the coach has done his work in the pre-season, during all of those long practice hours, the players know what to do on the field.  As a parent, we need to know that we’ve done our “pre-season” work.  We need to trust our student to get onto the field and play the game.

We also need to remember that the coach has a job to do on the sidelines of the game. The players need him there. The coach gives suggestions about plays, congratulates and supports, scolds, cajoles, and sometimes registers displeasure.  The coach is involved in the game, even though he’s not on the field.

And sometimes, the coach needs to take the player into the locker room and give him a talking to so the player will “shape up” and play the rest of the game differently.

Read moreYour Role As a College Parent: Sideline Coach


It’s Final Exam Time: What’s a College Parent To Do?

Sometimes, it may seem as though one of the most difficult positions for a college parent to be in, is the situation when you know that your student is struggling and you feel as though you cannot do a lot to help.  Sometimes final exam period may feel like one of those times.  You can’t take the exams for your child.  You may be too far away to help him study (and you probably shouldn’t be doing that at this point anyway).  You know that your student is stressed, and exhausted, and you must simply stand back.

Actually, you may not be completely helpless.   There are several ways in which you might help at this final exam time.

Read moreIt’s Final Exam Time: What’s a College Parent To Do?


Reach Out To Your College Student Through Good Old-fashioned Snail Mail

There are so many ways to communicate with your college student these days that it can be overwhelming.  Do you call, text, instant message, write on her facebook wall, skype, video conference, or twitter?  Technology today has allowed us to stay in touch with our students on a daily, or sometimes hourly basis.  A topic of a future post will be some of the thinking about the wisdom of staying too closely in touch, but this post isn’t about any of the technical wonders of communication.  It is about the old fashioned technology of the college mailbox.

Even with the array of technological advances for communication, most students are still assigned a college mailbox when they arrive at college.  Your student’s mailbox may be located in his residence hall, or may be located in a student center or college union.  One of the rituals of college life is still going to check that mailbox, if not daily, at least occasionally.  It is a great way to send a message to your college student in addition to whatever other means you usually use.

Read moreReach Out To Your College Student Through Good Old-fashioned Snail Mail


Parenting Your College Transfer Student: Supporting Your New Transfer Student

This is the third in a series of posts about the process of transferring to a new college.  Our first two posts considered the decision to transfer and the process of transferring.  This post looks at settling in to the new institution.

 A transfer to a new college is a fresh start.  Much like entering college as a new, first-year student, this fresh start can be both exciting and intimidating.  As a college parent, you can help your student make this adjustment smoothly.

Be supportive of your student as he goes through a transition period.  Help him be prepared for a time of adjustment.  Yes, he is familiar with college life, but his new college may be very different from his old institution.  He may feel out of place at first.  He will have an “in between” status for a while.  He is not a brand new freshman, but he is new and unfamiliar with things.  This will pass, but he needs to be prepared to give it some time.  He can’t assume that things will be done in the same way as they were in his old school.  Encourage him to ask questions often.

Read moreParenting Your College Transfer Student: Supporting Your New Transfer Student


Parenting Your College Transfer Student: Navigating the Transfer Process

In our last post, we considered some ways in which you might help your college student think about a transfer to another college.  Here, we consider how to help your student through the actual transfer process itself.  Our next post will examine ways in which you can support your new transfer student.

 Once your college student has made a decision to transfer to another college, there are some important tasks to be done.

Gather lots of information about potential colleges and/or programs.

 Your student may know exactly where he wants to transfer, or he may be looking for the appropriate school.  The more information he can gather, the more smoothly the process will go.  One advantage that your student now has is the knowledge he has gained through the time he has spent at his current school.  As he thinks about the reasons for transferring, he will think of questions he wants to be sure that he asks at the new school.  What are his priorities?  What wasn’t working (if anything) at the current school?  Encourage him to take time to look carefully at the new institution.  Study the website.  Visit the school.  Stay overnight on campus if possible.  Talk to current students.  Meet with admissions or advising personnel at the new school. Ask lots of questions.

Read moreParenting Your College Transfer Student: Navigating the Transfer Process


Parenting Your College Transfer Student: The Decision to Transfer

Roughly 2.5 million college students every year transfer to a different school.  Statistics from the United States Department of Education suggest that close to 60% of college students will attend more than one school before they graduate.  While many students find just the right college and stay there for four years, these statistics suggest that there is a good chance that your college student may consider a transfer to another college at some point during his college career.

While the overall transfer rate in the United States may be going up, if your child decides to transfer, the process is a major event for him.  Even though others may be going through the same process, it does not lessen the impact of the decision for your individual student.  Obviously, for some students who attend 2 year institutions, the decision may not be whether to transfer, but rather where to transfer. For other students, the decision is more difficult because a transfer may be an option.  Your student will need to go through a process of deciding whether or not a transfer is the right answer for him.  If he does decide to make a change, he will need to deal with the actual process of transferring, and finally he’ll need to make the transfer work once it happens.  This post considers some of the reasons that college students consider transferring to another institution and how you can help with the process.

Read moreParenting Your College Transfer Student: The Decision to Transfer


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