Wednesday’s Parent: Passing the responsibility torch

Passing the responsibility torch. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Passing the responsibility torch. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

He’s got his mom’s eyes. She has her dad’s smile. He’s got his grandpa’s sense of humor. No one ever says, “She has her grandma’s sense of responsibility.”

Maybe it’s because many react to the concept like responsibility is a four-letter word. Being accountable, acting independently, making decisions and behaving correctly is the essence of being a responsible person. It is a parent’s responsibility to teach this lesson to their children.

The importance will be obvious once the kids leave for college and the lack of responsibility costs time, money and a lot more work for all family members. May students with a strong sense of responsibility mess up anyway? Sure, we all make mistakes and parents my use it as a teachable moment instead of an “I told you so.” However, if the lesson was well-learned, the student will probably be saying this to himself, taking responsibility for his actions, and being more careful in the future. That’s the true test of responsibility.

The following is a list of typical problems and preventive solutions for parents to teach responsibility now before their children go off to college as young adults.

Money Pit

Problem It seems every time the student calls home she is asking for money. Worse, the calls are coming with alarming frequency. Or the checkbook is overdrawn, the credit card is over the limit, or the student loan is so high the she won’t be able to afford an apartment and must live rent-free at home after graduation.

Solution Teach the value of a dollar and how to budget. Mixing money management skills with financial planning and delayed gratification is the basis of a sound financial future. If students can, they should balance studies with work to earn their own spending money. Summer jobs or internships that earn course credit may help defray more college expenses. Families should only borrow what they can afford to repay.

Dirty laundry 

Problem The student returns home for a visit with several bags to give his parents. Trouble is the bags aren’t presents. They are stuffed with dirty clothes. Never ask and try not to think how many times he wore those socks or underwear before he stuffed them inside a bag.

Solution Teach now how to do use washers and dryers and when on campus learn where they are and how to pay for them. Make sure he has a full supply of detergent. Then when he comes home, reintroduce him to the responsibility of taking care of one’s own wardrobe.

Achoo! Cough!! 

Problem The parent receives a text message from his offspring complaining about how sick she is and needs some immediate TLC. The college infirmary is so packed, a bad cold doesn’t gain admittance. The school offered flu shots and hand sanitizer but this student blew them off, instead staying up late sharing popcorn out of the same bowl and drinking soda out of the same straw with others.

Solution Before you drop everything to dole out the sympathy, make a house call, or mail a medical care package, prepare her now. Teach preventive medicine like proper hand-washing techniques, sharing food, and getting enough rest. Have a plan for minor illnesses caught at school so she can take care of herself. Then send her off to college with plenty of tissues and the knowledge about using over-the-counter medicines appropriately.

Off meds

Problem It’s midnight and the student is calling home, frantic that he ran out of his necessary medication. There is no all-night pharmacy nearby. Or that he fell down and has bleeding elbows and skinned knees. The on-campus Infirmary is closed and the injury doesn’t warrant a trip to the ER.

Solution Teach basic first aid skills in general and special health needs for medication and special equipment in particular. Before leaving for college, have a plan to schedule reorders and know how to contact local pharmacies. Check out the campus Infirmary for what it treats and when, the local hospital and any medical professionals the student may need to contact for help. It’s also a good time to have another “sex talk.” And don’t forget to pack a first aid kit.

Freshman 15 

Problem The student has taken full advantage of all those cheese fries, shakes, burgers, pizza, ice cream, cookies and coffee drinks available and within easy reach twenty-four-seven. She has gained weight and it is negatively impacting her health and her wardrobe.

Solution Good nutrition is important at every life stage. Parents can model this at home and make a healthy life-style for the entire family a priority. When the student goes off to college, she will have the knowledge to create her own. Investigate all options on the meal plan and take advantage of the gym, sports and clubs available to get the student moving. Besides, the cost of tuition, fees, room and board usually covers these expenses whether they are used or not.

Bad choices

Problem Substance abuse, binge drinking, extreme hazing, academic probation, suspension, expulsion are all results of bad choices. No parent wants to hear any of these things associated with their student. Worse, the school may not be able to tell them of impending trouble because of privacy rights under FERPA.

Solution Keeping communication open and honest is the key to a good parent-adult child relationship. Start now by being a good and supportive  listener who is available to offer nonjudgmental advice when asked. Move on to teaching good decision-making skills and the expectation of dealing with the consequences of choices. Parents may also ask their student to give permission for the college to release information to them.

Failing classes

Problem The student doesn’t go to class, gets failing grades, and drops a course past the deadline. She was listed as a full-time student at the beginning of the semester but her record will show otherwise. Her academic standing and financial aid are in jeopardy but is still on the hook for the full college bill.

Solution Being a student is a job and acceptable job performance standards should be clear. Parents and students need to have a heart-to-heart discussion about expectations. Both should be vested in the agreed upon terms for motivation to achieve stated goals.

Pressure Cooked

Problem The parent provides a daily wake up call to the student and helps with her homework. Or the student, like these case studies, is unable to get what he needs to get done each day. The fear is without parental intervention, the student will be late to class, unable to handle the workload, and stressed beyond her limits.

Solution Time management skills are a must for those with long to-do lists. Parents and students can practice them together leaving more time for family fun. Creating a calendar, listing tasks, breaking them down into manageable steps and prioritizing activities is also a form of control that can mitigate against stress. Knowing personal limits and when to ask for help are skills, too. Students should know they may seek campus tutors and mental health professionals when needed.

Crime victim

Problem The student doesn’t bother using the campus escort service late at night and goes out alone. Or he leaves his new laptop unattended in the library. Or he props the dormitory door open leaving his wallet on his desk. The student is now a victim of a crime.

Solution Regardless of where families live, each member should have “street smarts” and self-defense knowledge. Parents can teach their children or they cans learn together from a professional. Before going to college, visit the Safety Office and learn campus and community safety procedures and features.

Stolen identity

Problem The student returns home every chance he gets. The parent visits, calls, texts and emails every chance she gets. The parent-student separation anxiety is running way too high.

Solution Parents and students can develop their own individual interests and commitments. They can enjoy family time and time apart. Parent-student separation anxiety may be reduced by planned and regular agreed upon contacts such as weekly phone calls and mid-semester visits. Students need time to to make new fiends and adjust to college life. Besides, there are longer college breaks between semesters than those based on high school calendars. They do come home a lot!

Don’t forget to celebrate accomplishments. They lead to self-supporting, self-sufficient and independent adult children. Responsibility has its rewards!

Read Suzanne’s blog: With Freedom Comes Responsibility

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Wednesday’s Parent: 5 rule-breaking ways to encourage

5 rule-breaking ways to encourage. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

5 rule-breaking ways to encourage. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

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Wednesday’s Parent: 5 rule-breaking ways to encourage

It’s one of life’s ironies played on teenagers: they are natural rebels testing limits at the very time they have a host of new college prep rules to follow.

The stakes are high putting pressure on students to follow procedures precisely. They are penalized for not submitting quality answers in the format designated. Whether it be homework, standardized tests, or college/scholarship applications, broken rules can negatively impact grades, scores, college admission and financial aid.

But there is some wiggle room for the “James Dean” college-bound and the good news is parents can encourage and support these five rule-breaking ways:

1. Creativity Direct those rebel tendencies to thinking out of the box. Students can stretch those creative muscles in essays, papers and projects. Read College Professor Invents Origami-Inspired Microscope That Only Costs 50-Cents to Make and watch the video to get inspiration.

2. Leadership Colleges want their students to show leadership qualities and students may do this through officer positions in extracurricular clubs. Being a club member is fine but going to the next level gives students a chance to move from rule follower to rule leader.

3. Solo Students may tackle a special academic and extra-curricular activity on their own. From research to community service projects, they get a chance to be the rule-maker.

4. Entrepreneurship Another way to get a chance to make rules is by starting a business. Students also get the bonus of acquiring leadership skills (see above) and earning extra money!

5. Social Media Students are on it anyway so they might as well coordinate, manage and market their social media presence in their best light. This gives them control over their “brand” to make the rules work for them.

For more about rules and the college process, see Suzanne’s blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday’s Parent: Parent role in college visits

Campus this way. Pjhoto by Wendy David-Gaines

Campus this way. Pjhoto by Wendy David-Gaines

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

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Wednesday’s Parent: Parent role in college visits

Visiting a college is a great way to evaluate a “good on paper” school but students and parents have different roles. Suzanne and I already gave our tips about why these trips are so important on Wednesday’s Parent. I called my post Collegecations because it’s the best way to check student-college fit and get a vacation. Now it’s time to focus on each family member’s function.

So take those college lists on the road to visit schools for the first time or reevaluate those that offered admission.

These are five parts parents play during a college visit:

  1. Fly on the Wall Step back and watch your college-bound child’s body language. You will know his level of comfort, excitement and interest about the campus and its current/prospective students without saying a word. It also will encourage him to take the lead in finding the place he wants to learn and earn his college degree. Parents cannot expect their student to do his best unless he is vested in the college process.
  2. Chief of Security The teen years should be called the “super teen years” because teenagers often feel invincible. Parents, loaded with the wisdom of experience, can spot dangerous conditions with a single glance. While your student is busy looking for what is important to her, parents may focus on the campus security systems such as blue lights and safety escorts. Seek out the Campus Security Office to learn about campus and community crime stats and policies/procedures to keep current students safe.
  3. Voice of Reason Dorm rooms, student centers, club lists are important but when parents find their student ignoring the classrooms, library and placement office, it’s time to speak up. Redirect focus on academic and internship opportunities that will determine the value of a college education.
  4. Financial Advisor It’s hard for the young to think ahead and appreciate the problems of juggling heavy student debt while supporting a desired lifestyle. Parents may provide perspective by analyzing costs, projected future income by career choice, and standard of living with their student. Include a stop at the Financial Aid Office for information about college costs, net price, scholarships and any other programs to help pay the college bill.
  5. Logistics Officer When attending college, students have their room and board set but parents have to arrange these every time they visit. Take time to scout out available accommodations, eateries and methods of transportation. Parent travel costs are not included in the cost of attendance (COA) so families must include them on their own. For more info on additional costs, check out POCS COA and to help plan a collegecation check out Smart College Visit’s Explore Colleges.

Read Suzanne’s blog about the student role in college visits.

Wednesday’s Parent: Student-College power shift

Wednesday's Parent hosts #CampusChat from @CollegeVisit

Wednesday’s Parent hosts #CampusChat from @CollegeVisit

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/9pm PT/6pm. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

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Wednesday’s Parent: Student-College power shift 

Many believe colleges hold all the power in the college process but the reality is there is a power shift between colleges and students. I think of it like a tennis match. These are the times the ball is in each side’s court:

Beginning of the college process The student has the power because he is deciding where to apply. Colleges vie for the student’s eye by various marketing techniques including mailings, social media, college website, college fairs, recruitment, college visits, and meeting invitations from alumni, current students and their parents. These expensive efforts are produced to get students to apply but students have the power to decide if they want to do this.

Middle of the college process The colleges hold the power once a student sends in her admission application. It is the school that will decide whether or not to offer acceptance in its next class. It also determines what it will offer in financial aid to help students pay their college bills. Students are the ones trying to demonstrate their interest in the college via grades, test scores, essays, volunteering, extracurricular activities, campus visits, college interviews, social media and IRL (in real life) interactions with college staff/alumni/current students. These enriching endeavors are made to convince the college what a great catch the student is, which will lead to the college exercising its power to offer acceptance and a generous financial aid package.

End of the college process The student gets the power back since it is his decision whether or not to accept a college’s admission offer. Colleges will offer an amount of financial aid they think will be enough to reduce the college bill so students will be willing to pay the rest to attend their school. Schools also will host outreach activities for admitted students on and off campus, send mailings, use social media and IRL contacts to convince them to attend.

The power shift ends here for most students satisfied with their acceptance and financial aid award. For students placed on the Wait List or those with a low aid package, the power shifts back to the college. Wait List turning into an acceptance is a long shot. An appeal process is in place usually through the college’s Financial Aid Office for students requesting a review because the financial aid award does not reflect their family’s financial situation and need.

Meet the expert

Jeannie Borin is recognized by media, clientele and colleagues globally as a leader in college admissions consulting and new media. She is a Fr/ NYC and a Juilliard School of Music alumna, holds a Masters Degree in psychology, education and counseling, and is President of College Connections. She is a member of several prestigious educational organizations including the IECA, HECA, WACAC and NACAC.

On #CampusChat tonight, Wednesday March 26 at 9pm ET/6pm PT, hosted by Wednesday’s Parent Suzanne and me, Jeannie will share her tips to empower students and parents during each phase of the college process. Follow Jeannie @JeannieBorin, #CampusChat’s founder Z. Kelly Queijo @CollegeVisit, Suzanne @SuzanneShaffer and me @pocsmom as we discuss the Student-College power shift with our wonderful #CampusChat buddies. Please join the conversation with your questions and comments.

Read this to learn how to join the chat.

Read Suzanne’s blog for more info about the Student-College power shift.

Wednesday’s Parent Night on #CampusChat!

Wednesday's Parent hosts #CampusChat from @CollegeVisit

Wednesday’s Parent hosts #CampusChat from @CollegeVisit

I’m excited to share with you that Suzanne and I will be hosting the #CampusChat Twitter chat on the fourth Wednesday of each month, starting March 26, at 9pm ET/6pm PT. #CampusChat is brought to you by SmartCollegeVisit.com and is one of the longest-running higher education Twitter chats.

Smart College Visit is an award winning college-search and travel planning resource that works with college and university admissions offices to provide efficient on-line and mobile products for college-bound students and their parents. The site’s Explore Colleges contains profiles of more than 3000 colleges and universities with travel logistics to help families plan visits to each campus.

I hope you will join Suzanne (@SuzanneShaffer) and me (@pocsmom) on March 26th and the fourth Wednesday of each month at 9pm ET/6pm PT for Smart College Visit’s #CampusChat with Wednesday’s Parent as we share tips for parents of the college-bound from our #CampusChat buddies and expert guests. Come chat with us and bring your questions and comments!

Here are some simple instructions to join a Twitter chat:

1.  Sign-in to Twitter or sign-up for a free Twitter account here.

2.  When it is time for the chat to start, type “#CampusChat” into the search bar at the top right of your screen.

3.  Click on “All” to see all the #CampusChat tweets.

4.  When the chat starts, you will now be able to see the whole #CampusChat conversation, ask a question, respond, and participate on whatever level you are comfortable with. Be sure to use the hashtag #CampusChat to tweet during the chat. That way everyone participating in the chat will be able to see your tweet.

5.  There are free sites like Hootsuite, TweetChat and TweetDeck that you may also use to more easily manage your social media interactions.

I hope to see you every Wednesday night at 9pm ET/6pm PT for Smart College Visit’s #CampusChat, with Wednesday’s Parent being the subject the fourth Wednesday of each month. Let’s chat! 

Wednesday’s Parent: 6 antidotes for spring fever

Antidotes to spring fever. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Antidotes to spring fever. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

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Wednesday’s Parent: 6 antidotes for spring fever

First senioritis then spring fever. These are the two non-medical maladies that plague students and their parents. I provided 6 great examples to cure Senioritis and now I’m giving you 6 antidotes for spring fever.

1. Smell the roses If you find yourself easily distracted and less productive than usual, take a break. Whether you are a high school student loaded with college prep and school work or a parent juggling home and job responsibilities, time is too precious to squander. Set aside a specific amount to refresh and come back ready to focus and complete the task.

2. Tiptoe through the tulips Seasons may change but work loads don’t always follow the calendar. With more daylight comes more energy. If you are feeling a bit restless, use some added pep outside and then be ready to come back inside reinvigorated.

3. Violets are blue Spring is known for replacing winter blues with a happier mood. Use the feeling of renewal as inspiration with a fresh look to review goals, complete current commitments, choose a college, decide on what to do this summer and further on into the future. Make a plan to achieve your objectives.

4. Find a four-leaf clover Take a cue from Mother Nature as she revels in new growth and look around to find something new to enjoy. Whether it be an entirely different thing or delving deeper into an existing interest, enjoy your learning experience.

5. What’s up buttercup Love is in the air in spring. Turn some of those warm and fuzzy feelings toward appreciating those that care and support you. Smile more to other family members, offer to help and don’t be afraid to ask for aid, too. Love is after all, a two way street and more may be accomplished with joint efforts.

6. Oopsy-daisy Sometimes when you can’t beat ’em, you join ‘em. When you find yourself longing to be outside, grab your work, find a quiet spot and do it outside. You can work on a laptop under a tree or climb it to read a book on a sturdy limb. Lay a blanket on the ground and do some studying or take a walk listening to a prerecorded lesson. It’s about combining what you want with what you have to do.

Read Suzanne’s blog: Spring Fever and Your Teen

Wednesday’s Parent: Hunting and gathering a college list Part 2

Creating a college list. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Creating a college list. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

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Wednesday’s Parent: Hunting and gathering a college list Part 2

 A lot is riding on making a good college list. Your student will be applying to the schools on the final list so they better offer the best chance for student success. It’s so important that Suzanne and I are giving our tips in two parts. Last week’s Part 1 was about general criteria and today’s Part 2 is about refining the list.

Thinking of the college list process as that of gathering and hunting means discovering how well suited each college is to the student and determining where he is most likely to thrive. From over 4,000 schools, many may be ruled out by location, school requirements and college stats. The next step is to find those eight institutions of higher learning most likely leading to student success. These are the ones the student will apply to and be happy to attend.

The definition of student success varies with each student. The key is what each school will do to keep the student on track to graduate and obtain the academic/extracurricular experiences she desires. They should include:

  • set time to graduate
  • short term goals
  • long term goals

Could there be more or less than eight final schools on the list? Yes, but be mindful there are hefty application fees that do not go towards paying the college tuition bill. There should be enough schools to provide the student with options. Once those admission offers are extended, he will be reevaluating based on his own student growth and the college’s financial aid awards.

Here are five ways parents may help their child find their college matches:

  1. Visit A visit to a college campus accomplishes two major things. It judges the fit of a good on paper school and provides that intangible and very personal sixth sense gut reaction of yea or nay. (Warning – parents may have a totally opposite gut reaction.) Parents may help their students with a “collegecation.”
  2. Categorize Parents may help their students organize their college list. Counselors often advise placing schools into three groups: safety, target and reach. These categories are based on school requirements and student credentials to determine likelihood of admission. By going further, students will focus on nuances to pick a school based on its own unique flavor.
  3. Connect Social media provides a multitude of ways for students and parents to learn more (pros and cons) about the college, other prospective students, current students, alumni, and professors. For parents, many schools have social media and website information devoted to parents and families as well as a parent association. Sometimes parents of college students serve as college promoters so it is helpful to consider the source of all info.
  4. Rank The amount of inforamtion acquired from college research is staggering. Parents may help their students create spread sheets to organize the info according to what is most important to their child. This is about creating a personal college rating system based on pros and cons for your student to attend.
  5. Support The parent role here is to support your child because if she is not vested in the college experience, she won’t do her best. This may lead to a waste of time, money and energy. Listen more than speak to encourage your student to analyze the facts, understand his emotions, and make good decisions.

Read Suzannes’s blog Finding the Best Fits–A College List Part 2

Wednesday’s Parent: Hunting and gathering a college list Part 1

Creating a college list. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Creating a college list. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to  http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

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Wednesday’s Parent: Hunting and gathering a college list Part 1

A lot is riding on making a good college list. Your student will be applying to the schools on the final list so they better offer the best chance for student success. It’s so important that Suzanne and I are giving our tips in two parts. Today’s Part 1 is about general criteria and next week’s Part 2 is about refining the list.

I like to think of the college list process as that of gathering and hunting. That’s how the early humans adapted to their natural environment, created tools to ensure survival, and developed a rich culture filled with language and the arts.

According to a fascinating article in 2011 Psychology Today:

The hunter-gatherer way of life, unlike the agricultural way of life that followed it, apparently depended on intense cooperation and sharing, backed up by a strong egalitarian ethos; so, hunter-gatherers everywhere found ways to maintain a strong egalitarian ethos.

This describes the need for students to drive the college search as they begin their adult life and the help parents may provide.

Federal, state and college websites are chock full of info and data. Schools and organizations sponsor college fairs with the lowdown directly from college representatives. There are books and articles online and in libraries from college experts. Counselors, alumni. professors, current students and college social media provide another perspective.

Here are five ways parents may help their students gather the information they need to find colleges to consider for their college list:

  1. Answer this question I posed this question before and parents may ask this to their children: Is college a love match or a consumer purchase? In fact, it is a combo of both but how much of one over the other is the student’s ultimate decision. Keeping the answer in mind will balance realistic, practical and emotional responses during the college search and make it easier to eliminate or add schools.
  2. Focus on the end goal first Before looking at colleges, parents may ask their college-bound teen how he will the use his earned college degree. Besides the increased knowledge and developed critical thinking skills, does she plan to go on to grad school, start a business, or begin a career? Checking the school’s success rate in retention, graduation within four years, graduate admission, and employment stats will narrow the college list choices.
  3. Increase options It may seem odd to increase options while whittling down choices but it makes perfect sense when it comes to increasing student chances for admission and financial aid. Colleges set their own admission requirements and students may compare their qualifications with those of current students. This is great motivation for college prep. Parents may help their children create a calendar to stay organized and get the job of a student done by earning qualifying grades on transcripts and tests.
  4. Define interests Finding a college is about finding a place that matches and enhances a student’s interests. Parents may help their student brainstorm a list of things that are important to them including programs, activities and location. Schools will show their priorities with significant funding and opportunities in these areas. Students should pay attention to department size; number, frequency and ease of taking desired classes; internships, programs and guest speakers; and opportunities after graduation.
  5. Go off campus Colleges offer academic and extracurricular programs and events on and off campus. Parents and students may form a team to divide the research to focus on both aspects. Look at the campus and surrounding community. Is it safe, student-friendly, easy to get to, easy for parents to visit, full of opportunities? What relationships does the college have with other schools, groups and businesses that may benefit students?

Read Suzanne’s blog for more help in forming a college list:

You Want to Go to College Where?–A College List Part 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday’s Parent: 6 Circus lessons for balancing the budget

6 Circus lessons for balancing the budget. Photo by WendyDavid-Gaines

6 Circus lessons for balancing the budget. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to  http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

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 Wednesday’s Parent: 6 Circus lessons for balancing the budget

Many kids and parents are fans of the circus. They marvel at the skills of the aerialists, acrobats and animal tamers. They laugh at the antics of the clowns, consume tasty treats and watch the sideshows. There are also powerful financial lessons that may be learned from these performers to help teens learn about managing money.

Many of the college-bound and their parents are about to take on huge college expenses while trying to maintain a certain life-style and prepare for a future one. There will be a host of new purchase opportunities for an already lean wallet. If a house is on the future acquisition list, student debt may prevent the plan. Read Naughty and nice solutions to cut college costs and increase home ownership for more details.

Use these six questions packed into vivid images to start a serious discussion to teach your teen about money management:

  1. When it comes to balancing your budget, are you a juggler or a tight rope walker? Show your child how to create and use a budget by listing expenses and income.
  2. When it comes to spending money, are you the Master of Ceremonies or a clown? Explain the realities of living within one’s means based on their budget compared to a foolish fantasy without a safety net.
  3. When it comes to making decisions, will you choose cotton candy or unbuttered popcorn? Life is about choices including what to spend money on. Parents may help their kids understand how to include occasional splurges into normal routines and still be nutritionally and financially healthy.
  4. When it comes to preparing for your future, are you the lion or the lion tamer? Most teens live in the present but focusing on the future is a great way to prepare the college-bound for what’s to come. Teach your child the benefits of controlling their own finances rather than having debt decide for them.
  5. When it comes to saving for something special, are you the sideshow’s Strong man or the whole three-ring circus? Teach your child how to prioritize financial goals to achieve them one at a time or they may spread themselves too thin and not focus on any well.
  6. When it comes to financial security, are you an acrobat or an aerialist? Both are strong, have great timing and get the job done. The message parents may teach is these are the skills needed to achieve a student’s financial dreams.

For more budgeting tips for teens before college check out Suzanne’s blog:  Wednesday’s Parent: A Crash Course in Money Management 

Wednesday’s Parent: 7 deadly sins, teen style

7 deadly sins, teen style, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

7 deadly sins, teen style, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

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Wednesday’s Parent: 7 deadly sins, teen style

Teenagers may feel powerfully invincible but they are vulnerable to human weaknesses just like us parents. Teens wear their growing independence on their sleeves and yearn to try on adult experiences. This is a dangerous combination when it comes to teens and the seven deadly sins because it may lead to abuse and harm.

Here are the seven deadly sins as related to teens and how parents may help:

Gluttony Certain things are legally off-limits to minors such as alcohol and smoking but that may only add to an almost adult’s curiosity. Parents may supplement school health classes by modeling healthy behaviors, establishing clear behavior standards, and being frank about the dangers of substance abuse. If you suspect a problem is developing, it is best to seek professional help ASAP.

Sloth Does sleeping until noon on weekends, hard to awaken on school days, forgetting chores, being surly and procrastinating describe your teen? If so, you are not alone. Many healthy teens need more sleep than they are getting and science tells us the optimum wake up time is later than most schools start classes. Parents may help by teaching organization and time management skills so busy teens may complete their to-do list without sacrificing needed rest.

Envy Peer pressure is huge and it is ironic that teens are most susceptible to it at the very time they are asserting their own independence. Although Groucho Marx joked, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member,” teens may feel jealous and resentful if they are rejected by their peers. Help your child recognize his valuable individuality by expanding his horizons beyond school boundaries with other clubs, activities and events filled with more opportunities to meet peers with corresponding interests.

Lust Teen hormones are often in high gear which may result in sexting, selfies and sex. Parents may reinforce that social media images are lasting and the ramifications of intimate relationships.

Greed Most teens love tech and all the pricey devices that use it from communication to gaming. This is a great time for teaching about finances and the difference between needs and wants.

Wrath Bullying is a terrifying behavior and should never be tolerated. There are many resources in and out of school that parents and teens may use. Wrath is difficult for adults to control (think road rage) so a teen bully or bullied teen should not be expected to handle the situation alone.

Pride Self-esteem is a big teen issue and too much or too little is equally problematic. There are many social and academic events during the teen years that impact a teen’s self-image such as the prom, school awards, applying and getting into college. Parents may be the voice of reason, balance and objectivity to put things into perspective for their children caught in the all or nothing teen drama.

Check out Suzanne’s blog When Just Saying “NO” Is Not Enough for what to do next.