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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#101 – What’s Ahead for the College Parent Central Podcast?

In this episode Vicki and Lynn take a look ahead to Season 5 of the podcast and describe some of the exciting changes we’re planning. We introduce two new co-hosts who will be joining the College Parent Central Podcast Team.  Elizabeth Hamblet and Sarah Share will be adding their voices to the season ahead. We’re excited about exploring new topics and perspectives while continuing to provide the support for parents we’ve shared in the past four seasons. We also reviewed a few of the themes we may be talking about as we move forward.

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College Parent News and Views – November 2023

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 in the comments below.

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Holiday Gift Ideas for Students – 2023

It hardly seems possible that the calendar has rolled around to the holiday season again! But here we are!

As we think about family and friends – those we will gather with and those afar – many of us naturally begin to think about gifts. And sometimes it can seem especially tough to come up with ideas for your college student. They’ve been away for a few months and it may be harder to think about what they need and want. Or perhaps your student will just be heading to college next fall and you’d like to give them a head start on some good college-useful gifts.

Of course, you know your student better than anyone and can tap into their interests and needs. Maybe they’ve even given you some suggestions or made some requests.

But just in case you’re stumped, we’re here to help. We have 14 new suggestions this year to add to the nearly 120 suggestions in our Holiday Gift Guide. Start with this year’s list and then hop over to our Guide for even more food for thought. Check out our ideas and then let your own creativity take over! If you have additional ideas or suggestions, share them in the comments. Let’s make this a community project!

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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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#100 – Celebrating our 100th Episode: Reflecting on Four Seasons of the College Parent Central Podcast

We’re 100 episodes in! Lynn and Vicki take some time to look back at some of our most popular episodes, some of our favorites, some trends and themes we’ve noticed, and what we’ve loved about getting together to create this podcast. We also take a look at some of the themes we think might surface for college students and parents in the future – and there’s more to come about that in our next episode. Stay tuned!

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Fewer Stranded Credits: New Rules Ban Withholding of Most College Transcripts

This article is a follow-up to our article on Stranded Credits posted in June 2023. New federal rules will affect potential withholding of transcripts for unpaid funds.

Students who leave college, either by withdrawing or graduating, but still owe money to the college, may not be able to access their official transcript of work completed until they are able to pay their outstanding balance. The college withholds the student’s transcript and thus their credits are “stranded”  until they are able to pay. This often prevents some students from being able to transfer to another institution or to get a job. According to research by New York non-profit Ithaka S & R Research, this may affect over six million students.

New federal rules may change this. The Education Department submitted a package of new rules  last spring aimed at increasing clarity and transparency around student aid, and requiring colleges to present financial aid information to students and their families more clearly. The new rules were approved in late October 2023, and will go into effect on July 1, 2024.

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#099 – Navigating College Financial Decisions: An Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Ron Lieber

Vicki and Lynn spent this episode in conversation with Ron Lieber author of The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make. Ron helped us unpack how complicated the financial aid system is and how crucial it is to understand how it works. The Price You Pay for College examines how our feelings and our ideas about success affect the choices we make about what we are willing to pay for college. Ron also shared information about his new course for families that helps them understand and navigate college Merit Aid.

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College Parent News and Views – October 2023

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 in the comments below.

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#098 – College Lingo – Can You Talk the Talk? – Part 3

So many mysterious terms and acronyms to understand when your student heads off to college! In this third College Lingo installment Vicki and Lynn define and discuss several of the insider terms that colleges use that may not be clear to parents. We cover topics from Disability Services and Priority Registration to Satisfactory Academic Progress, Minors, the College Catalog, and the Clery Act. We’re only scratching the surface of this new language, but it should get you started being able to understand and Talk the Talk. (Hear the first and second College Lingo in episodes #047 and #057.)

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