Welcome to the College Parent Central Podcast!
This is the place to find a list of all of our episodes. Look for new episodes on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.
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Click on the title of each episode to listen and find the show notes. We’ll share related items and anything specific that we mention in the episode. It’s a great way to take the topic a step further.
If you have ideas of topics you like us to address on future podcasts, or thoughts about what you hear, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. We’d love to hear your feedback.
What’s the College Parent Central Podcast all about?
You don’t stop parenting the day you drop your student off to college on Move-in Day. Your role simply changes. (Actually, it’s not simple at all, but it changes.) You’re a parent for life. Join Lynn Abrahams and Vicki Nelson, higher education professionals and former college parents, as they explore the topics that can help you be a more effective and supportive parent to your college bound student. Whether you already have a child in college, college is still a year or more away, or your student is about to step out, start now to gather the information that empowers you to be an effective college success coach to your student.
Although college transfer may seem the norm for many students these days, when it is your student transferring it is a significant event for your family. In this episode, Lynn and Vicki explore some of the reasons your student may consider transferring and how you can help them make this important decision. They identify ways that parents can help students navigate the sometimes complex information-gathering and application process. Vicki and Lynn offer suggestions for how parents can be instrumental in helping students make the transition and settle in to their new environment.
The shift from high school to college can be challenging for all students, but it may be even more daunting for students with disabilities. In this episode, Lynn and Vicki talk with Elizabeth Hamblet, author of the book From High School to College: Steps for Success for Students with Disabilities. Elizabeth shares essential information that students and parents need to know as they prepare for and apply to college. Understanding the differences between high school support and college accommodations can help pave the way for a smooth transition. Parents will learn what questions to ask and how to encourage the independence and self-advocacy required of their student in the college environment.
Once your child steps into the world of college – even if it is in the next room – both parents and students begin experiencing a new stage in development. Students are exploring the academic and social world of college; parents are exploring the experience of stepping back and watching them do it. But, it is also part of the parenting package to worry. In this episode, Lynn and Vicki highlight some of the signs that parents can watch for that may indicate that their student is struggling. All college students will hit a few bumps in the road, and the more parents can think about how to identify signs of trouble, how to explore situations further, and how to decide whether or not to intervene, the better armed they will be to support their student’s growth.
College can be a time when many students face new academic and social challenges that can feel overwhelming. Differentiating the stress of these situations from the anxiety students experience is a first step toward helping them cope with their feelings. In this episode, Lynn and Vicki share some strategies to help students channel their stress in positive ways. Parents learn how to help students understand and handle their own anxiety.
When your student goes away to college you may feel that your parenting job is ending. You’re told to “let go,” but in reality, your role just shifts to a new stage. In this episode, Vicki and Lynn talk about some of the changes that take place as we find new ways to parent our students from a distance. It is important that parents think about how to stay in touch without hovering, how to make the most of opportunities to communicate with their student, how to detect potential difficulties, as well as what to do when you can’t attend those special events. Parents can use this process of changing roles to establish new and lasting ways to connect with their emerging adult students.
Your college student may be living at home out of choice or out of necessity. Whether they are taking fully online classes or commuting to campus, your role as a college parent changes and will require some new thinking and communication skills. In this episode Vicki and Lynn discuss some of the problems students living home may encounter and how to support your student in their transition. As you and your student continually re-evaluate your living situation and roles, you have the opportunity to establish lasting and rewarding ways of being together as adults.
A major concern for almost everyone who has a child in college this fall is their student’s health in the midst of COVID-19. Whether your student is going to be on campus or learning remotely, there are some basic preventive practices that all students should know. In this episode, Lynn and Vicki talk with Dr. Jill Grimes, author of The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook, and specialist in college student health. Dr. Grimes shares valuable information, tips, and strategies about what to do and not to do to avoid getting sick. She also shares personal experiences and advice about common college student health questions, as well as essential tips for parents putting together that all-important college dorm first aid kit. Parents will feel informed and reassured after listening to Dr. Grimes’ frank discussion.
Anxiety is a part of our DNA as parents. It is normal and natural, but we have a responsibility to honestly look at it. We need to become aware of how our anxiety can affect our students, and discover strategies for all of us to find relief. In this episode, Lynn and Vicki begin by looking at some of the unintended messages we may be sending to our students when we are tempted to step in too quickly to fix their problems. This episode focuses on creative strategies for dealing with parental anxiety so that you can be better prepared to support your student.
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.
The topic of college roommates looms large for many students and parents. It is common for students to feel anxious as many anticipate sharing a living space with a stranger for the first time. But with careful preparation, attention to communication, and an openness to new experiences, students can create a positive relationship with their roommate. In this episode, Vicki and Lynn discuss the important skills required and lessons learned from the work of building this important relationship.
Whether you are doing your reading this summer on the beach or safely at home, it is always nice to have some new book suggestions. In this episode Lynn and Vicki share some of the college parenting books they have found helpful. These books offer parents support, encouragement, guidance and suggestions for all stages of the college parenting journey. Some of these books are for parents and some should definitely be shared with your students.
What colleges and universities do to support students with learning differences changes from K-12, not only because the laws are different but also because the goals for students shift in college. These changes may be bigger than most students and parents expect. In today’s podcast, Lynn and Vicki explore differences in how the laws protect students and how the key responsibilities of both the institution and the student change. The more you understand these differences, the more comfortable you and your student will be, and the better you will be able to support your student in transition.
We talk a lot about college student intellectual, social and emotional development, but there are fewer conversations around college students’ spiritual development. In this guest interview, Lynn and Vicki talk with Rev. Terry Hofmann who has served as a Director of Spiritual Life at a small liberal arts college for ten years. Terry brings to this conversation her wealth of knowledge and experience with college students as they explore their spiritual and religious identities. Terry shares ideas for supporting students in the various aspects of spiritual health and wellness.
If your student is placed on probation or dismissed from college, it can feel devastating – like a virtual punch in the stomach – but this does not have to be the end of the road. In this episode, Vicki and Lynn suggest ways you can talk to your student about the situation. They help you understand what probation and dismissal mean, how to analyze what might have gone wrong, and create an action plan for next steps. No one begins college expecting to fail (though many may fear it.) Although this roadblock may feel overwhelming, focusing on moving forward will help you and your student find the opportunities this detour may provide.
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.”
Now that your student has transitioned to their new online college environment, they face new challenges. Staying motivated and focused isn’t easy. Students are overwhelmed by coursework, miss their friends and social life, and don’t know how long this new way of life will last. Although the college semester has a finish line, it still seems a long way off. In this episode Lynn and Vicki share with parents some observations about the specific challenges many students are facing right now both academically and in their daily lives as well as some suggestions for coping with these obstacles. Parents can’t fix all of their student’s issues, but understanding what they are can help parents provide the guidance students may need.
The college admission process begins earlier and earlier and sometimes seems to go on forever. When those highly anticipated acceptance letters begin to arrive, the process enters a new phase. The ball is now in your student’s court to make a decision. What is your role as a parent at this stage? In this episode Vicki and Lynn unpack some of the emotions and practical steps you and your student can take as your student looks for the school with the best “fit,” perhaps moves to their second choice of school, or copes with being on a Waitlist. As your student makes this final decision, everyone’s roles begin to shift.
It seems as though the entire world has turned upside down. As the coronavirus rages worldwide, most colleges are sending students home to complete their coursework online. College-at-home comes with significant challenges for both students and their parents. This special episode contains essential suggestions for helping students learn to adjust to their new online learning environment.
In our first guest interview, Lynn and Vicki chat with Dr. Silas Pearman, First Year Coordinator at Curry College. Si discusses various types of first year programming and how students can benefit from classes that help them transition. Topics include questions parents and students should ask during the admission process to find the best fitting first year program, specific challenges first year students typically face, and strategies to help parents prepare their students for the transition. Si shares advice to parents on how to support their college student throughout their first year. Parents are urged to do their homework to evaluate options and find schools with intentional programming for first year students.
What if you think your student may not be ready for college? What if your student feels they just need a break? In this podcast, Lynn and Vicki look at college admission deferral, high school postgrad programs and other gap year options. If you are thinking of a gap year you’ll need to consider the advantages and disadvantages, how to investigate options, and what to expect. This is an excellent opportunity for conversations about readiness, motivation, and specific goals for a possible year out.
Senior year of high school can feel overwhelming. But this can be an excellent time to help your student work on the skills that can lead to success in college – and in life. In this podcast, Vicki and Lynn talk about your student’s path toward independence. Topics include the college application process, time management, and specific life skills that students need to make the transition to college. From getting themselves up in the morning, maintaining their own calendar, to doing laundry and managing their finances, this podcast explores how you can use senior year as a training lab for life at college.
Understanding the key differences between high school and college directly impacts how we “parent” our students as we help them prepare to make the big transition. No one gives us a roadmap of exactly how to do this. It is helpful for parents to understand how their role changes when their student heads to college as well as the important skills that students need to succeed. In this podcast Vicki and Lynn examine changing roles for everyone, explain FERPA rules and regulations, and look at specific differences in time management and expectations in college.
Many college students don’t utilize of all of the support available to help them succeed. The reasons for this can be as varied as the students themselves. Does your student feel comfortable asking for help when they need it? Does your student know how to find what they need and how to take advantage of every resource? In this episode Lynn and Vicki look at six essential resources on most college campuses, how they can help students, and how students can make the most of what these services have to offer.
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.
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.
When we think about our communication with our students, we often think about how to get them to talk – but we less often think about our end of the exchange. In this episode Vicki and Lynn talk about three different aspects of communicating with our students – how we listen, how we encourage them to share, and how we respond when they do. Good communication is not going to fix every problem, but it is a great way to help both you and your student feel connected and on the same team.
When you provide just a bit of understanding, encouragement, and support from home, you can do a lot to help your student through the final weeks of the semester. Lynn and Vicki discuss how you can help your student deal with anxiety, prepare for the end of the semester and cope with the results.
Your student is coming home for break! Vicki and Lynn help you think about what to expect, how to prepare for your student’s return and survival strategies for the whole family.
Mid-semester is a great time for you to check in with your student to see how the semester is going. Lynn and Vicki discuss potential concerns, available resources, and specific conversations that can help you and your student connect at this important time.
Meet Lynn Abrahams, learning disabilities specialist for college students and Vicki Nelson, Communication professor and former Director of Academic Advising. Lynn and Vicki are also parents of 2 boys (Lynn) and 3 girls (Vicki) and have lived through the college parent experience. Lynn and Vicki draw on their many years of experience and blend their perspectives as college professionals and parents as they look at the college parent role.
You can also listen to us on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Overcast, Google Play or anywhere you like to listen to your podcasts. Subscribe (for free) and download all of our episodes as we release them.