You worry about a lot of things when you send your student off to college for the first semester – and then you think you’re done. You and your student may be taken by surprise when the start of the second semester of college seems so difficult. In this episode Vicki and Lynn explore why some students may experience the “second semester blues” and why some parents feel they need to increase their involvement. This episode focuses on strategies you can use to calm your fears and help your student make the most of this fresh start. There are some wonderful aspects to the second semester of college and knowing what to expect can help you send your student off more thoughtfully.
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
There’s something about the New Year. It is a time of reflection, thinking about the year that has just gone by. And it is also a time of hope, thinking ahead about what the New Year might bring. Somehow, life seems full of possibility at the beginning of a new year.
If you have a student in college, or one who will be heading to college soon, there’s a lot of transition going on in the life of your family. Your student is looking forward and preparing for their future. You are preparing too, while you also may be reflecting and remembering that kindergarten child just beginning school. Where did the time go?
As we turn the page on a new year, we’d like to offer some resolutions for parents of high school and college students. Take time to reflect, and to imagine into the future. Use this list as a springboard for your own ideas of how to approach the New Year.
Winter Break is special because for many families it is so LONG. Some students have as much as four to six weeks of vacation. That’s a long time to have them home. It’s wonderful, of course, but some structure and focus may be needed as you adjust to the new person that your student has become. In this episode Lynn and Vicki share some ideas about what to expect, how to ensure this is a constructive time for everyone, and how to enjoy your time together.
As parents, we worry about our high school senior’s transition to college. We know that this is a big step and we hope that both our student, and we, are prepared.
But even after your student has made those important first transitions to college, there are more changes ahead. Each year of college brings its own phase of development, and the phenomenon of the “sophomore slump” is very real for many students. Parents may be less comfortable with knowing what conversations they should be having with their second year student, but the work isn’t done.
Knowing that the second year of college may be significantly different from the first and being prepared for some changes, or even a potential sophomore slump, will arm your student and may prevent some difficult times. Now that your student has some perspective on college life and studies, this is the ideal time to contemplate next steps. Not all topics are appropriate for everyone, but we’d like to suggest seven possible conversation starters.
This is the second of two posts about the benefits of volunteering for college students. In our first post, we suggested some advantages of volunteer work for your student. In this post, we offer some suggestions about helping your student decide where and how to volunteer.
Your college student has decided to find some time in her college schedule to volunteer somewhere. Good for her. There are many benefits of volunteer work.
College students who choose to spend time in volunteer activities may do so for many reasons. Some students find or believe in a particular cause and want to do all that they can to further that effort. Other students may want to give of their time, but they are not sure what they want to do, or they are not sure what options exist.
Some colleges have an office or a designated person whose responsibility is to help students find and manage meaningful volunteer or community service opportunities. If your student’s school has such a resource, this may be the best place for her to begin. She may also talk to faculty members or other students (particularly upper class students) about opportunities.
Many high school students spend time volunteering or participating in community service activities as part of their high school graduation requirements. Those who are not required to participate by their school often participate in community service activities in order to bolster their college applications.
Volunteering, or participating in activities to help others, is always a good thing, whatever the motivation. However, one possible outcome of this requirement is that many students, once they get to college, feel they no longer “need” to volunteer since the school no longer requires participation and their college applications are done. Like participation in extracurricular activities, some students see these activities as a means to an end (college admission) and may not realize many of the other benefits.
In our previous post, we discussed what to do when your student comes home mid-year and says she doesn’t want to return to school. First you listen, then you talk about possible reasons and look at options. Now you need to help your student decide what to do.
Perhaps you’ve seen it coming over the course of the semester, or perhaps it has taken you by surprise. But your student came home for what you thought was going to be a few weeks for winter break and has announced that she doesn’t want to return to school when break is over. No one expected this when you headed to school for Move-in Day.
After you’ve listened to your student talk about her reasons – and possibly had to help her determine those reasons, after you’ve helped her think about her possible options, you may need to help her process those options to make a decision. Of course, you might insist – either that she return to school or stay home – but the decision really must be your student’s or she will not be committed to making it work.
There is no one answer that is the best for all students. Your student will need to think carefully about her reasons for not wanting to return and her ability to face whatever is making her unhappy or preventing her success. As you help your student look at her situation from several angles, here are a few thoughts to share.
The summer before the first year of college. It is an interesting summer – for both parents and students. There is the anticipation and excitement – but that is coupled with stress, nerves, and the emotions of leaving home and friends behind. Parents need to be especially patient – both with themselves and with their students – as you both navigate this new territory.
One of the characteristics of this summer before college is that feeling of in-between that most high school graduates/not yet college freshmen feel. They are of both worlds, yet not really of either. It is a strange, somewhat homeless feeling for many students.
No longer high school
It is likely that for much of the last year of high school your senior couldn’t wait to be done. The focus for several years has been on getting into college – the grades, the activities, the college visits, the applications, the acceptance, the decision. Once the goal of college admission was accomplished, many students settled into a few weeks, or months, of senioritis – finishing out the year.
They’ve been called many things – the Millenial Generation, Generation Y, Echo Boomers, Digital Natives, Generation Next, Generation Me. Now they are earning the title of the Boomerang Generation. If you have a recent college graduate, or a college student due to graduate in the next few years, chances are that you should be getting that bedroom ready to welcome your student home again.
It may be reassuring to some parents with students moving back home, and to those students as well, to know that they are not alone. According to a survey conducted by the consulting firm Twentysomething, Inc., 85% of 2011 college graduates will be moving back home, at least for a while. The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 survey America’s Families and Living Arrangements, found that between 2005 and 2011 the percentage of individuals between 18 and 34 living at home has increased for all groups. In the age group 25-34, the percentage of males living at home has increased from 14% to 19%. The percentage of females in the same age group living at home has gone from 8% to 10%. In the 18-24 age bracket the percentage of males at home has gone from 53% to 59% and females from 46% to 50% (this includes students living in college dorms during the school year).