Take a Non-Tour Campus Tour

One important part of the college admission process is visiting campuses to get a real feel for the schools on your student’s list.

Some students are anxious to get started on this stage of the process and others may drag their feet – in some cases because they are nervous. It may make sense to start by visiting a school or two that aren’t on your student’s list of favorites so you can all get comfortable with the format and process, but eventually you get to those all-important visits to colleges on your student’s short list.

Most campus tours are fairly standard. Admission counselors make a short presentation followed by a student led tour around the campus. The tour usually includes key buildings such as the student center, dining services, performance space, classrooms, science labs, library, a typical dorm, and any showplaces at that particular college.

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Why Your Student Should Visit Colleges They’re Not Interested In

Campus visits can do a lot to help your student decide whether a school is right for them. As part of the admission process, most students try to visit the schools on their wish list to get a sense of the campus and students. It’s a good way to determine the best fit, but it can be time consuming and, depending on your student’s list, expensive.

Why, then, would anyone suggest that your student visit schools not on their wish list? Why bother visiting if you’re not interested?

Gathering information

One of the main reasons to visit any college campus is to gather information. If the school is on your student’s short list, they are hoping to learn whether that school feels right – academically, socially, financially. By visiting a school not on your student’s list, they can gather information that will help them learn about themselves and about the world of college in general. This information may help them put together, or hone, their actual list of schools.

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Graduation! Wisdom to Share

Your student is graduating! Congratulations!

Whether this graduation is from high school or college, it can be a bittersweet time for you as a parent. You’re proud and excited! But you also see your child growing up and taking an important next step in their life.

It can be an uncertain and nervous time for everyone.

Perhaps there will be a party. Probably there are gifts. Maybe a card or a letter. It feels as though this is one last opportunity to impart some wisdom – some life advice – to your student.

Really, you will continue to have opportunities to share your advice – some of it welcome and some perhaps less welcome – throughout your student’s life. But this is a moment. You want to get this one right.

We’ve suggested that one option might be to write your own commencement speech. What words would you like your student to hear? What would you tell them if you had the opportunity (challenge?) of writing the speech they would hear as they proudly sit in that cap and gown.

The wisdom you share with your student needs to be yours, of course, from your heart directly to the child you know so well. But it’s sometimes nice to have a little help getting started.

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#038 – The Addiction Inoculation: An Interview with Author Jessica Lahey

We were honored to be able to spend some time talking with Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed,  about her new book The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence. Jessica’s new book weaves together her personal story about addiction with a tremendous amount of information about topics such as brain development, drinking culture, substance use disorder, and ways both parents and schools can approach this sensitive topic. The book contains suggestions and scripts for conversations with your kids from pre-school through elementary, middle and high school as well as college. With this book, parents will be armed with the information they need to talk to their kids about alcohol and drugs.

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It’s a New Year! Do You Need Resolutions in 2021?

The year 2020 is finally in the rear-view mirror.  There’s still a pandemic, and there’s still a lot of turmoil in our world, but somehow we need to find hope in the new year.  2021 will be better. We need to believe that.

Somehow, it seems more difficult this year to think about New Year’s resolutions. We’ve all just been hanging on — trying to survive. That seems enough for this year. Survive the present, look to the future, believe things will get better — and don’t try to challenge yourself too much.

But it is a new year, after all, and that brings with it not just hope for a better year, but a challenge to make it a better year.

We’ve offered some New Year’s resolutions, or thoughts, each year since College Parent Central began. So this year, I’ve gone back to reread them, which was an interesting reflective exercise on its own. (Click on the year’s date if you’d like to see the full list for some extra inspiration.)  But I’ve selected just one resolution from each year to share here. The choice wasn’t always easy, but I tried to pull one thing that seems relevant to where we are today.

Take these as a start for your own reflections. You may be inspired to make some resolutions of your own, or you may just opt for survival this year. But I hope these provide a way for you to think about your college student (or almost college student) and about your parenting role in the new year.

Happy, Healthy, Safe New Year!

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Book Review: From High School to College: Steps to Success for Students with Disabilities

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

I work with first-year college students who have Learning Differences and ADHD at a small four-year liberal arts college. Every year I meet families and students making this transition who do not have a clear understanding on the differences in disability services and accommodations between secondary and postsecondary levels.

If you are the parent of a student with Learning Differences and you only have time to read one book about the shift from high school to college, please choose this bookFrom High School to College: Steps to Success for Students with Disabilities, by Elizabeth C. Hamblet. It covers the essential topics both you and your student need to know with clear insight, common sense, and wisdom.

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#022 – College Secrets of Highly Successful People: An Interview with Lindy and Tom Schneider

Students and their parents focus a lot of energy on the process of getting into college. It is also essential to think about how students can use their college experiences to build a path to future success.  In this interview, Vicki and Lynn talk with Lindy and Tom Schneider, authors of the book College Secrets of Highly Successful People and explore their tips for making the most of the opportunities college presents. They share some of the colorful stories of famous and not so famous people who have taken advantage of their college experiences to build successful careers. Tom and Lindy’s use of humor and real life, practical stories and suggestions make their book, and this podcast, especially enjoyable.

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College Parent News & Views

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.

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8 Things Your Student Can Do During This COVID Summer

This is going to be a summer like no other.  Most of us are masked, staying ”socially distanced,” and trying to find what to do with ourselves as our favorite events and activities, gatherings, and in many cases, our jobs are cancelled, postponed or substantially changed.

For many college students, summer is usually a time to earn money or or to participate in internships to practice career skills. Since many of these activities may not be available this year, many students, and their families, may be at a loss.

This doesn’t have to be a lost summer

It’s definitely not ”business as usual” this summer, but that doesn’t mean that your student is limited to binge watching sitcoms and texting their friends. For many students, this summer may afford them some wonderful time to tap into their creativity and/or just enjoy more leisure activities. It may give your student a welcome break.

However, you may also need to help your student understand that this doesn’t have to be a ”lost summer.” Your student can move ahead and make sure that their return to school in the fall — in whatever form it takes — will go more smoothly.

Start by taking time to talk to your student about their feelings, fears and concerns and practice all of your listening skills. There’s a lot going on below the surface for a lot of us right now, and your student may welcome the opportunity to process their thoughts with someone.

Then consider offering some of these suggestions for things to do over the next few weeks. Everything won’t be right for everyone, but your student may find some items that make sense, will fill their time productively, and will move them ahead.

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#016 – Staying On Track to Graduate On Time

For those students who enter college intending to finish in four years, taking ownership of their progress is essential. However, not all students will be on the four year plan. Whatever timeline your student plans to follow, it is essential that they carefully track their progress toward the finish line. In this episode, Vicki and Lynn help parents understand what their student needs to know and do in order to complete college ”on time.”

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