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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Is Your College Student Considering Graduate School?

It may seem as though it was only yesterday that you were worrying about the college admission process and then sending your freshman off to her first year of college.  How can she be at the point that she is now considering graduate school?

Seeking a graduate degree is on the minds of many college students.  Obviously, some students are just ready to be done with school (at least for a while) and can’t wait to finish college.  Others, however, may have been inspired by a topic or field of study and are considering further study.  Some students have chosen a career that requires a graduate degree for employment or certification.

If your student is considering graduate study, be prepared to be less involved in the process this time around.  Your student is in charge.  One area where you may be most helpful in the first stages of considering graduate school is in helping your student think through whether more school is the right move.  Attending graduate school is not as automatic after college as college often is after high school.

What should your student consider in making the decision about graduate school?

Help your student think about her reasons for graduate school and the realities of that path.  Here are a few questions you can ask her to consider:

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Book Review: A High School Parent’s Guide to College Success

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 recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. See the Recommended Reading section of our Resources page for more suggestions.

A High School Parent’s Guide to College Success by Amy Baldwin and Brian Tietje should be on every parent’s reading list at the time their student starts high school.  It takes time to get a student ready for college and this book guides parents through the process.  Don’t wait until your student is ready to head to college.

In the race to college that the high school years have become, it is easy for parents to become overwhelmed and not know where to start or how to fit in.  We like that this book presents twelve essentials for parents to focus on.  No overwhelm here.  Twelve skills for parents to help their students develop.  Twelve skills that will prepare a student to start college on the right foot and then keep him headed in the right direction.

Read moreBook Review: A High School Parent’s Guide to College Success


Why College Peer Tutoring Works

Working with a good tutor can make a tremendous difference in your college student’s success. Having a tutor can mean that a student has a stronger grasp of the course material and may receive a better grade.

Most colleges offer tutoring or academic support in some form.  One commonly used form of student support is the use of a peer tutor.  Peer tutors are students who have strength in a subject area and work with students who are having some difficulty or need support.  Occasionally, parents worry that their college student is working with another student and not with a professional tutor.  They are concerned that the tutoring help will not be sufficient.

Although professional tutoring is very valuable, and can work well for many students, peer tutoring also has great advantages.  As in any one-on-one tutoring situation, your student will receive individual attention and support for his academic needs.  Some peer tutors may work with a student on several subjects, or the tutor may have expertise in one particular area.

Why Peer Tutoring May Be Helpful for Your College Student

There are unique advantages of peer tutors, and parents need to be aware that peer tutoring is used by many colleges because it is effective, not because it is “cheap labor.”  Peer tutors are usually trained; some are trained extensively.  They are not teachers with professional qualifications, they do not give grades or control curriculum, however they do have expertise in their subject area and some expertise in how to help other students succeed in that subject.

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How One Exercise Can Improve Your Communication with Your College Student (or Teen) Without Saying a Word

Kids are different.  As parents, we know this.  Some will talk your ear off and share everything going on in their lives.  Some talk a lot, but never really share what’s below the surface.  Others stay mum and it’s difficult to pry their thoughts from them.

As parents, most of us crave quality communication with our kids.  So when they don’t share, we’re frustrated.  Sometimes we beg for more information.  Sometimes we get angry.  And sometimes we just talk more.  These approaches seldom work.

We’d like to offer an exercise to improve your communication with your student – even before you open your mouth.

Yay! Uh-oh! And Lost Opportunities!

One of the first things that you can do to help you begin to improve your communication with your student actually has nothing to do with your student directly.  Spend some time in the company of others and unleash your powers of observation and analysis.

Read moreHow One Exercise Can Improve Your Communication with Your College Student (or Teen) Without Saying a Word


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 moreCollege Parent News and Views


Should My Student Participate in an Overnight Admission Visit?

Making a decision about the right college is a difficult and stressful task for many high school students.  You and your student have been gathering information about the schools on your student’s “short list.”  You’ve looked at the college website, checked ratings, talked to friends and high school counselors, looked at the catalog and informational material, and probably visited campus – perhaps more than once.

One additional way to gather some different information is for your student to spend an overnight on campus.  This is an excellent way for your student to get a closer look at student life on campus as well as to have an opportunity to experience college life and to ask students some of the questions that may not come up during a formal campus tour.

Many colleges offer campus overnight visits, either individually or as part of a larger program.  . At some schools, your student may need to be accepted first, but others may offer visits to those who plan to apply. If the Admission office hasn’t offered the opportunity, your student should ask whether the option is available.

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Parents and College Admission: Know What to Ask to Make the Most of Your Campus Visit

One of the most important steps in the college admissions process is the campus visit.  Your student should see and get a feeling for a campus before making a final decision about whether a school is right for him.  Although the decision ultimately belongs to your student, as a parent, you also need to feel comfortable about the school.  Asking questions during the admission visit is a great way to gather some of the information that you need to feel comfortable.  However, just as with so many other considerations in the college process, parents walk a find line between being helpful and becoming intrusive.

Remember that the admission process really does belong to your student.  It is important that you be involved, and provide support, but it is crucial that you remind yourself that this is not your process.  While it is important that you go along on a campus visit if possible, your student is the person who will make the final decision.  What seems like the absolutely ideal school or environment to you may just not feel right to your student.  There is a chemistry that happens when a certain campus just plain “feels right.”   However, even though you may be peripheral to this visit, there are some important ways in which you can be involved.

Read moreParents and College Admission: Know What to Ask to Make the Most of Your Campus Visit


Why Your Transfer Student May Be in Shock

There is a phenomenon called Transfer Shock.  If you have a transfer student, she may be experiencing this tendency for students who transfer from one school to another to experience a temporary dip in their GPA during their transitional first or second semesters.

If you have a transfer student who did reasonably well in her original school and she is facing this transitional grade dip, she may be alarmed.  She may wonder whether she should have transferred after all – or whether she transferred to the right school.  It may help if you can reassure your student that this struggle, this dip in GPA, is normal; and that most transfer students recover their grades within a semester or two.

If you have a student who is considering a transfer next semester or next year, warn her ahead of time. Your student may be able to avoid it, but more importantly, if transfer shock does occur, she’ll worry less because she’ll know that others may be experiencing the same thing.

Why does transfer shock happen?

Some students may underestimate the difficulty of transitioning to a new school.  They’ve already made the adjustment to being in college, and they feel that a new school won’t be all that different.  However, once at the new school, students realize that there are new ways of doing things, new expectations, new traditions, and new policies.  Students may also encounter more difficult upper level coursework than they had at their previous institution.  Some students may also be taken by surprise at the social disorientation that they feel in a new environment and the effort that it takes to make new social connections and friends.

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Support for Students with Learning Differences in College: Do Your Homework!

This is the second article by College Parent Central contributor Dr. Lynn Abrahams.  Lynn specializes in college transition and success for students with learning differences.

Over the past ten years more and more programs have been created to help prepare and support college students with learning differences. In fact, there are now so many models out there that it has become crucial to do your homework before making the decision about the best post-secondary environment for your student. As a learning disabilities specialist over the past 30 years, I have seen families pay a tremendous amount of money for programs that may not be the right fit, because they did not fully understand what was or was not being offered.

Here are a few issues to keep in mind:

 Support in High School

Look at how much support your student is getting in high school. Shifting the amount and type of support when entering a new college environment is not usually a good idea.

  • Is your student in a substantially separate classroom?
  • Is your student fully mainstreamed in all high school classes?
  • Is your student in college preparatory classes?
  • How much time does your student get for support in a resource room?
  • How much time does your student work with other therapists, such as speech and language, occupational therapy, English language learner support, or counseling?

Read moreSupport for Students with Learning Differences in College: Do Your Homework!