The most important messages to pass along to your college student

We’ve been talking about how you can prepare yourself — and your son or daughter — for college.

Laurie L. Hazard, a psychology professor in Rhode Island, says there is much that parents can do to help their sons and daughters. However, one of the most significant things is to pass along some important messages that will help when he/she gets to campus.

Be humble
Recognize that you don’t know everything. Be modest and respectful.

Ask for help
Don’t be shy about asking for help if you need it. There are many people on campus who are there to help you.

Take risks
Try something you’ve never done before. You may find you have a talent or skill you never knew you had.

Be open to change
You’ll likely find that your high school study habits won’t work for college. Be willing to change so you can succeed.

Respect diversity
Most likely you will meet, live with and learn from students who are different from you. Learn from their experiences, customs and cultures.

Take responsibility
You’re the only one who can make your first year in college a success. If it doesn’t turn out that way, you’re the only reason why. 

Any other suggestions anyone?

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Here’s how you can help your college student stay healthy on campus

You may feel helpless when your son or daughter heads off to college because you won’t be there to make sure he or she stays healthy. Who will make him soup? Who will make sure she wears a coat when it’s cold?

Before your son or daughter takes off, there are several reminders you can pass along to help him or her stay healthy. College Parents of America offers several reminders: 

  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t leave your toothbrush lying around in a shared bathroom
  • Don’t share towels, soap, cups, pillows
  • Keep your room clean (or relatively clean)
  • Disinfect once in awhile on those common surfaces like doorknobs and light switches
  • Stay away from sick people
  • Go to the health center if you’re sick
  • Get some sleep
  • Make healthy food choice (no, cheese balls can’t be counted as dairy)
  • Get some exercise
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Practice safe sex or abstain 
  • Stay away from drugs and alcohol

In addition to encourage healthy habits, you should also gather all of your son or daughter’s medical history in one place in case he or she ever needs medical treatment.

You should also sit down with your student to explain the health insurance coverage that he or she has because students typically don’t know or care about it – until they need to know, that is. Make sure that he/she has a copy of the insurance card and carries it on a wallet or purse so he/she will have it if it’s needed.

Stay tuned. More is on the way.

What to expect when your child heads to college – Part II

As we mentioned last week, college isn’t just an adjustment for students but for parents as well. Therefore, we want to provide information that can help you make the transition along with your son or daughter.

College Living

Today, we address college living. One of the first transitions your son or daughter will need to make is sharing a room with a friend or, more typically, someone they first met on move-in day.  They’ll have to learn how to compromise and set ground rules from the very beginning: How are overnight visitors handled? What happens if someone drinks all the milk? What if one person is neat, the other sloppy? What if one student wants it quiet to study and the other wants to party all the time?

Resident Advisors

You need to know that most colleges have resident advisors, upper-level students who live in the residence halls who help to enforce rules, offer help and make sure that everything goes smoothly. Since these students are older, they know the ropes. They can even give advice to your son or daughter about classes or other campus services.

Rules

It’s no secret that a college or university needs to have rules, which are typically spelled out in a student handbook. Encourage your son or daughter to read and live by these rules.

Activities

Most colleges offer a wide assortment of activities for their students, from academic-related clubs and fraternities and sororities to outdoor activities they may never have tried before. Encourage your son or daughter to take part in some of these activities. By participating, they’ll make friends, develop leadership skills, and have fun.

Living at home

What if your son or daughter decides to live at home and commute to college? There are still lifestyle changes that he or she will have to make. Also, it’s even more important that commuters participate in activities so they can feel part of the college. Encourage your son or daughter to take part even if he or she doesn’t live on campus.

Stay tuned. More is on the way.

What to expect when your child heads to college — Part I

If you have a son or daughter heading off to college this fall or next, you’re going to want to know all you can about what to expect. And that’s where we come in. We’re here to help you get educated, just like your son or daughter.

Changing Roles

What does that mean? Well, as you may suspect, your role will change once again as your son or daughter becomes more independent. While you will continue to serve as his/her mentor and advisor, you may be doing it from a greater distance. Your son or daughter will start establishing a more adult identity and assume more adult behaviors. As college officials say, “It’s no longer being a parent of a child, it’s being parent of an adult.”

To help parents cope, many colleges and universities hold orientation for parents, including our university.

Helicopter Parents

This term was first used in the early 2000s as a way to describe those parents who are very involved and tend to hover over their children. However, newer communication channels have made it easier for parents to keep track of their children: email, cell phones, text messaging, Skye.

If you’re one of those helicopter parents it may be particularly hard to let go. If you find yourself hovering, ask yourself why and if that hovering is actually preventing your son or daughter from becoming a self-sufficient adult.

Communicating with your college student

Thanks to technology, there are many ways you can stay in touch with your son or daughter. College Parents of America offers six tips on how to make the most of your communication opportunities, including preparing for the conversation. Also, keep in mind that college students always seem to be busy with something, so you may want to arrange a specific time to call.

With all of this new technology don’t forget good old snail mail. Many students love to get mail and packages from home that include a wide assortment of goodies. Need more suggestions on what else to include? Here you go:

Stay tuned. More will be on the way.

Not sure about going to college? After reading this you’ll be sure.

Last week,  we reminded you that it’s not too late to fill out your college application. However, if you haven’t applied because you’re not sure you want to go, you need to read on.

No, college isn’t easy. It’s hard work. Its costs a lot of money and means many graduates (and sometimes their parents) have to pay off their debt over a long period of time. And, some recent news stories have indicated that having a college degree doesn’t guarantee you a job.

So why go? Well, there are many reasons why having a college degree is important, but it often comes down to a matter of dollars and cents.  

A column in USA Today quotes statics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2010. Of the people who aren’t working,

  • 14.9 percent don’t have a high school diploma
  • 10.3 percent graduated from high school
  • 7 percent have an associate degree
  • 5.4 percent have a bachelor’s degree
  • 2.4 percent have a professional degree
  • 1.9 percent have a doctoral degree

See what’s happening? The more education you have, the less chance there is of your being unemployed.    

Also, over the next decade, there will be 31 million job openings – nine million new jobs created along with 22 million jobs from Baby Boomers who retire, according to an article in The Huffington Post. And, about two-thirds of those jobs will require some form of education on top of a high school diploma.

Need more persuasion? The U.S. Census Bureau issued a report last fall called “Education and Synthetic Work-Life Earnings Estimates.” According to the report, the average annual salary of a full-time employee who is a high school graduate is $34,197. Compare that to a full-time employee with

  • an associate degree — $44,086
  • a bachelor’s degree — $57,026
  • a master’s degree — $69,958   

Enough said. Don’t forget it’s not too late to apply. 🙂

This is why attending summer orientation is important

If you’re heading off the college this fall, you may be asked or required to attend orientation at your school. You may wonder why that’s necessary. After all, you’ve probably visited the school at least once already.

But, take our word for it; it’s important that you go. You’ll meet faculty and staff members who will be there to help you. (You may even meet the president.) You’ll meet your classmates. You’ll confirm your class schedule. You’ll talk with your coach. You’ll learn more about the school than you knew before.

College Parents of America  agrees, offering four reasons why you should go:

 Get acquainted

This is your chance to get to know your school better and become more familiar with campus. It will give you a chance to eat in the dining hall and stay in one of the residence halls.

You’ll also start to get to know your classmates. You may even make some friends. 

Get information

You’ll get a lot of information – about financial aid, how to get your student ID, where the computer labs are, how you can get help with your classes if you need it. This is all really important information that you’d have to figure out on your own if you didn’t attend orientation. 

Get introduced to the student culture

Meeting all of those different people on campus will give you an idea what the campus culture is like. Are people friendly? Do they welcome diversity? Are upperclass students willing to help underclass students?

Get a start on your college journey

Attending orientation will be the official start of your college journey. After all, you may have bought a college T-shirt or some of your textbooks already. You may have gotten your campus email address. You may have a roommate. This is the beginning.  

We hope to see you on campus.

If you haven’t applied to college, it’s not too late.

When it comes to filling out your college applications, have you been procrastinating? Well, it’s not too late to apply even if you’ve been putting it off. Many colleges and universities continue to accept students in their freshman class well into the summer, including ours.

 Now that you know that, why not get started? Most schools have online application forms that make it easier than ever.

What about paying for school? You can still do that, too. In fact, U.S. News & World Report offers 11 steps to  help you raise last-minute cash for school. Here are a few: 

 1. Fill out the FAFSA
The first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. While it’s best to fill these out in January, the government accepts them throughout the summer.

2. Apply for late-deadline scholarship contests
There are some charities and other nonprofit organizations that have late-deadline scholarships for those of you who like to put things off.

3.  Start applying for aid for next semester and next year
If it’s too late for aid for the upcoming term, considering applying for aid for the following term or school year. That way, you won’t be stuck in the same situation again.

So … what are you waiting for?