Information for the parents of college students

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Why You Need to Talk to Your College Student About Academic Integrity

Values, honesty, kindness, caring, work ethic.  We spend much of our children’s lives teaching them – overtly or through example – about the values that we hold dear.  It’s part of what raising a child is all about.

So by the time that our students reach college, we may assume that we’re done.  We’ve put in the work over the years to teach/show them what we believe and now they’re on their own to put it into practice. If they haven’t gotten it by now, there’s no use doing more talking.

While it’s true that we’ve been teaching and modeling values all through our children’s lives, it’s important – as your student heads to college – that you talk with him about academic integrity.  It matters, and your student’s college career could depend on a solid understanding of what it is, why it matters, and how to prevent getting into “integrity trouble.”

Where do you start?

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February 13, 2017   No Comments

Why You Need to Discuss Social Media with Your High School or College Student

Social media have become part of the fabric of life for most of our high school and college students.  But for many parents, discussing social media with our students is not something we really want to do.  After all, there are so many options – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Yik Yak, LinkedIn, Periscope, and something new seemingly every week. How do we keep up? Where do we start?  What do we say?

Why do we even need to have the conversation?

There are lots of reasons to talk to your student about his use of social media, and many parents have already had some of these important conversations when their students were younger. We talk about the amount of time spent, we talk about being careful about what gets posted, we talk about cyberbullying, and we talk about separating fact from fiction.  At least we should.  But it isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always comfortable.  In fact, it seems to get less comfortable as our students get older.

Two important topics to discuss – at least for a start – are the amount of time spent on social media and the importance of carefully considering what your student posts.

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February 6, 2017   No Comments

College Parent News and 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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January 30, 2017   No Comments

Helping Your Student Manage Expenses in College

There’s an overwhelming amount information available to parents and students about the cost of college tuition, financial aid packages, and finding scholarships to help make college more affordable.  There’s no getting around the fact that college is expensive and that parents and students need to talk about the cost of college and how they plan to make that work.

But beyond the big picture, once your student is in college, the responsibility of managing the day-to-day expenses in college should shift to your student.  This might be a gradual process; it doesn’t need to happen all at once, but college is an excellent time to practice financial skills to prepare for the “real world” after graduation.

Talk to your student

One interesting finding in surveys of student finances may be surprising to many parents: students want to learn more about managing their money – and they want to learn it from their parents.

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January 23, 2017   No Comments

How Accurate Is Your Picture of College Life?

You’re sending your student off to college for four (or maybe more) years. You worry because he is going to be on his own, and maybe you struggle (just a little) with your feelings about the empty nest.  And you wonder what life will be like for your student at school.

Parents who have experienced college life themselves, may think they know a little about what to expect. (But they often forget their experiences may be twenty years or more old. Things have changed.)  Other parents, who may not have attended college themselves, do not have their own experiences to guide their expectations.

So how do we know anything about college life? For many of us, our source is what we see and hear in the media – news stories, films, TV, and advertising.  College students – and college faculty and officials – will quickly tell you that that image is often, very often, less than accurate.  One study of first year college students found that 77% of students surveyed felt that the media over-exaggerates the excitement of college.

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January 16, 2017   No Comments

Help Your Student Make Good Study Habits Stick

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

Jim Ryuh

January.  It’s the time of year for resolutions, new habits, and optimism that this year will be better than the last.  Thank goodness we all have an opportunity once each year for a reset.

For most students, the New Year not only provides the usual possibilities, it is often the start of a new semester as well.  This means a fresh start.  Even the best students often have plans to make this new semester even better than the last.

But unfortunately, we all know that most New Year’s resolutions often fall by the wayside a few months, weeks, days, or maybe even hours into the year.  We all have trouble making them stick, and students are no different.

An article on Headspace, an online meditation website, discussed ways to make meditation stick for those who were giving it a try.  Although we think meditation can be wonderful for students (and their parents,) this article is about how students can use the same principles that the Headspace article discussed to help them make new study habits stick.

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January 9, 2017   No Comments

New Year’s Resolutions for Parents of High School Seniors and College Students

As the old year rolls over into the new, it is often a time of looking backward and looking forward.  For many parents of high school seniors and college students, the focus may be more forward than backward.  It’s an exciting – and sometimes anxious time.

A few years ago, we offered some suggestions to keep in mind as you formulate your resolutions for the New Year.  We’d like to share them again here and then help you get started by offering five resolutions for high school senior parents and five resolutions for those of you who are college parents.

We’re sure you’ll add a few of your own, but we hope these may help to spur your imagination.

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January 2, 2017   No Comments

College Parent News and 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.

[Read more →]

December 31, 2016   No Comments

Reflecting on 2016 – College Parent Update

When you do something once, it is interesting.  When you do something twice, it suddenly becomes a tradition.  We’re now in our fourth year of sharing a look back at College Parent Central’s year.  Clearly a tradition.

Reflection is always a good exercise.  Looking back gives us some perspective to look ahead and think about our goals and plans for the new year based on where we’ve come.

So before we look ahead, make plans, make resolutions we probably won’t keep, or set goals for 2017, we’d like to take a moment to look back at 2016.  What does the past year reveal about the essence of the college parent role and those ideas and issues that most affect the way we relate to our college sons and daughters?

We invite you to take a few minutes to reflect with us, and to think about how you view your role as college parent.  How have you grown into the role over the past year?  Where might you and your college student go next year?

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December 26, 2016   No Comments

Parents: Top Ten Books to Read – Or to Gift

Parenting is hard work.  Those of us who have been parents for a while know how difficult it can be.  And as parents, we sometimes seek advice from the “experts,” whether those experts are our friends, our own parents, our medical providers, or sometimes those who make it their business to work with and study parents.

We all need a little advice – and a little perspective.

Here’s a list of our top ten picks of good reads for parents as they think about their teenage, college age, or young adult.  But the key is that it helps to start thinking and building the foundation early.  Some of the experts tell us that our parenting style when our children are very young can influence how they function and cope as young adults.

We’ve reviewed all of these books and we think they can provide parents with guidance – or at least plenty of food for thought.  If you’re already a college parent, it’s not too late!  But if you have younger children, use these to get a head start.  If you know someone with younger children, consider one (or more) of these as gifts to give them a head start.

Read our reviews.  Pick one or two or three.  Read them. Share them. Form a book club. Start conversations.

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December 12, 2016   No Comments