Wednesday’s Parent: The college-bound good-bye perspective

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 1.05.02 PMGoogling goodbye songs and movies show the topic of farewell is a central part of the human condition. Parents of college students have vivid memories of dropping their kids off and parents of the college-bound are gritting their teeth for their fast-approaching turn. Fortunately, there are steps parents can take now to help themselves and their students get through the goodbye process and the subsequent adjustment.

Start by reading college parenting expert Suzanne Shaffer’s wise words in her post, Saying Goodbye to Your College Bound Teen. Suzanne captures the range of emotions to anticipate and what to do to set families up for a successful parent-adult child separation.

Remember too that all occupants of the home will be affected by the absence of the student. Siblings and pets have their own issues. New activities and keeping the communication flowing can help other children. The bright side is parents now have more time to spend with them until they morph into adult children, too.

Read Suzanne’s post: Saying Goodbye to Your College Bound Teen

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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 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.

Wednesday’s Parent: 5 ways to maximize the advantages of studying abroad

Maximize the advantages of studying abroad

Maximize the advantages of studying abroad

Study abroad was not common when I went to college but a foreign language requirement was. Back then, there wasn’t much talk about a global economy although we did often say, “It’s a small world.” Today, students need soft skills, hard knowledge, and practical experience to set themselves up for success. If done right, ubiquitous study abroad programs can deliver all of these. Plus parents can benefit too if they visit, in the form of a family vacation.

A recent survey of freshmen found, “In terms of personal goals, keeping up to date with political affairs and influencing social values are more important to those who believe there is a very good chance they will study abroad.” I discuss this and other findings in my article 9 college prep insights from Freshmen Survey Part 2. It seems just thinking about the study abroad possibility prompts more civic responsibility.

Benefits continue to grow when students merge and take seriously travel and studying. They can develop independence, self-reliance, and communication skills. Living another cultural lifestyle can lead to greater understanding, patience and tolerance. Combined with academics, the experience becomes a practical skill-builder worthy of a prominent place on a grad’s resume.

Here are five ways to maximize the advantages of studying abroad:

  1. There are different costs depending on the study abroad program sponsor so shop around. Compare programs offered at the student’s college with those offered by home and other state schools. Students may be able to participate in another college’s program, too. Just make sure the credits are accepted by the student’s college.
  2. Financial aid can follow the student’s educational program. Based on foreign education and living expenses, costs may turn out to be the same or cheaper than attending a semester at the student’s college. Make sure the program is properly approved.
  3. Plan college courses on campus carefully so studying abroad won’t delay graduation. Watch out for prerequisites and compare when courses are given so they don’t conflict with when students desire to study abroad. Even adding one more semester can be a budget buster.
  4. Plan college courses abroad just as carefully to make sure they fulfill necessary graduation requirements and enhance class selections towards the diploma. And check out internship options.
  5. Although personal travel time and excursions may be offered, study abroad programs are not vacations. Choose both the country and program based on how they fit with personal, educational and career goals.

The parent-student team can have the study abroad talk and touch on the above five points. Beware the fifth one. Extra expenses from excursions and personal travel can be significant. Students must know the rules, regulations and laws so they act appropriately. It’s a good idea to learn about medical care available, room and board options, and transportation from living quarters to classroom. Students should understand that studying abroad is a privilege and a responsibility that requires thoughtful preparation to maximize it’s advantages. They should also understand the timing both for what they are getting as well as what they are giving up on campus.

Read Suzanne’s post

Read more:

Using Your High School Study Abroad Experience as College Prep 

Use Federal Financial Aid to Pay for College Abroad

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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 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.

The agony and the ecstasy of parenthood: When college kids come home

Home sweet home photo by essie

Home sweet home photo by essie

The agony and the ecstasy of parenthood is reflected in the transition milestone of parenting a child who reaches the age of majority.  If you are a parent of a college student you are in the thick of it. If you are a parent of a college-bound child, this is your future. Either way, being a POCS (Parent Of a College or college-bound Student) is challenging.

By the middle of December, semesters are drawing to a close, students are taking finals and colleges are closing their doors for up to a month and a half. Parents across the nation are dealing with higher food bills, increased laundry, and general schedule disruption, as their college students return home for the holiday break.

Just when moms have finally gotten used to scaling meals down to the new normal number of plates at the table, the quantity of dinner guests rises. Then there is the last minute bolting because the college student receives a last-minute better offer from one of her peers.

I call it the college parent balancing act: family hierarchy vs. independent adult child. 

Readjusting to family life can be challenging. Here are 3 tips to ease the transition:

1. House rules Have a family meeting to make and commit to house rules. Use texts, emails or phone calls before the family gathers or do it in person at the beginning of the stay.

  • First, brainstorm a list of family resources, chores and facilities available for use (kitchen, bath, den, laundry, car, etc.).
  • Second, listen to everyone’s wish use list so all hear each other’s desires and needs.
  • Third, agree on house rules about family chores and use of facilities/resources.
  • Fourth, write them down for all to sign. 

2. Regular communication With everyone’s input, establish a schedule of routine meals together and expected courtesy check-ins by agreed upon method of communication (texts, emails, phone calls). Jointly establish flexibility parameters for changes in schedules so expectations and reality can meet without stress.

3. Plan some family fun Make the most out of the time together and create memories that will spark enthusiasm for future gatherings. Brainstorm activities, time, and place so all are invested in having a wonderful time. Get reacquainted and enjoy each other’s company.

Respecting each other’s personal space and enjoying family togetherness can become a habit that continues after the children leave the nest altogether.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday’s Parent: Safe v. Sorry

Please be safe sign. Photo by tenioman.

Funny safety sign. Photo by tenioman 

If you ever wanted to enclose your child in a protective bubble, shield him from physical harm, and block her from the stings of barbed words, you are not alone. It’s a natural instinct to want to safeguard the young.

The parental worry about safety does not dissipate with age. My mother still reminds me to drive carefully and put on a sweater–when she’s cold. I find myself saying the same things to my children. In my family, none of us are children in the sense of being little kids but we are all offspring. Parental instincts are powerful.

The auto industry may be making vehicles safer but the world is still full of old and new dangers. Moms and dads can’t wrap their kids in a protective hug at home 24/7. They must prepare their children to step outside, interact with others, and go to school.

Here are six ways parents can help their children of any age learn to protect themselves:

Transportation Parents often teach their children about the right way to cross a street, find their bus, and drive a car. The mechanics are emphasized but what about when things go wrong? The road is blocked, the bus is late or the car breaks down? Children need to have a Plan B and maybe even a Plan C.

First aid Every time a parent calmly puts a bandage on their child’s boo boo, they are demonstrating two important things: how basic first aid helps and there is no need to panic. These are useful skills whether a child is able to take care of himself or needs a school nurse. It may become critical if the child has other medical needs or there is an emergency. This is the importance of clear thinking.

Self defense Just like basic first aid, basic self-defense techniques are essential for everyone. So too, is knowing the safety resources available from a preschooler learning how to call 911 to a coed finding out about a college’s blue light emergency system. Hopefully these things will never be needed, but it is best to be prepared.

Contacts School records require emergency contact information but children need to know this, too. Having a family emergency plan is essential, especially when family members are not together and normal communication channels may be impaired. Also designate an emergency contact located out of the area. He can act as an information coordinator when family members are unable to keep in touch or arrive at a specified meeting place.

Trust It is normal to teach children respect for their elders and authority. However, children also are taught about personal boundaries and stranger danger. These lessons are just as important for a youngster heading off to nursery school as for a teenager going to college. From knowing not to take a ride from a stranger, to not leaving a beverage alone, to walking with a buddy (especially) at night, the concept of trust has to be matched with maintaining personal safety.

Common sense Take the situation where things have gone smoothly in the past. It is not unusual for adults to let their guard down and have a false sense of security. It is no surprise that less experienced young people may do the same. Public service announcements instructing individuals to stay alert, see something, and say something apply to children, too. This is where common sense and open parent-child communication can save the day.

For more important tips, read Suzanne’s Wednesday’s Parent: Safety First.

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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 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.

Back to college surprise that costs little but means lots

Parents can add something special to the back to college shopping list that costs little but means lots. It is a small surprise that will help students deal with stress and homesickness and provide a way to make new friends.

This is especially important to help students adjust to a new school and a new place to live. Bump up the “assist” by making the present a surprise. Hide the gift where you know it will be found after you leave.

Photo by Zeus Box (Kuswanto)

Here what to include in your back to college surprise package:

1. Photos Framed or loose, family photos are a reminder of good memories and people who care.

2. Toy A blow-up beach ball, bubble stuff or flying disc are great examples of interactive toys that bring smiles and relieve stress.

3. Snack Nothing helps makes friends faster than sharing yummy goodies. Sweet or savory, a delicious snack is always appreciated and helps break the ice!

4. I factor Here’s where the student’s personality and preferences determine the present. Music, reading material, games, and videos are all possibilities but so are adding to a collection or hobby.

5. Note This is where parents can put the thoughts they were too choked up to say when they dropped their student off. Take the time to provide words of support and encouragement. It may be a letter that gets read and reread!

Congratulations parents! You have just given your first college care package!

Read on for the Top 7 ways to save BIG on the college move in

 

 

Watch TV for the answer to ‘Tell me about yourself’

Tv, Watch, Television, Clip, Old – Free image – 42376pixabay.comThe are a lot of hard questions for the college-bound and job-seekers to answer but one of the toughest is, “Tell me about yourself.” This is a common question asked by college admission officers and employers. To answer it, turn on the nearest TV.

The lessons are contained in sitcoms, reality shows and commercials. Viewers immediately can tell who a character is and what he wants.

Read on for “Tell me about yourself” tips and examples.

 

 

 

No knives on planes

No knives on planes Photo by By Alexander Rushing uploaded by Partyzan_XXI, File:Pocket knives.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

No knives on planes
Photo by By Alexander Rushing uploaded by Partyzan_XXI, File:Pocket knives.jpg – Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

Last April, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) proposed relaxing restrictions on knives, certain sports equipment and novelty bats, allowing passengers to bring these items on board. Prompted by a public outcry, the proposal was abandoned yesterday.

Air travel  is crucial for many parents and their college-bound students. Without this transportation option, certain college choices may no longer be feasible. The college process generates plenty of stress but worrying about personal safety on a routine commute to and from school does not have to exist.

All knives were originally banned for a reason. Unnecessary safety risks are not acceptable.

Read on

Time to review safety as Hofstra mourns student slain

Hofstra skyline

Hofstra skyline. Photo by public domain by its author, Dan14641 at the wikipedia project File:Hofstra skyline.jpg – Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

It’s a parent’s worse nightmare and it happened in a suburb on Long Island. Hofstra junior Andrea Rebello was slain Friday during a home invasion in her off campus residence.

The tragedy occurred two days before a ubiquitous college joy: college graduation.

Read on for the grim facts, graduation grieving, and going forward with a 10 step review of basic safety procedures for on and off campus living.

 

 

 

TSA knife rule impacts college choice

Pocket Knife Collection

Pocket Knife Collection. Photo by Alexander Rushing, uploaded by Partyzan_XXI, File:Pocket knives.jpg – Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org -

Plane traveling parents and the college-bound worried about their safety in the air, on their way to and from college, have a temporary reprieve. Yesterday, the controversial rule to carry small knives on board has been temporarily postponed.

College location is more important than ever. Prospective students typically research campus and local community cultural events, activities, internship possibilities and even the weather. They look up crime stats and talk with campus Safety Officers. Allowing flight passengers to carry small knives on board is one more issue families would have to consider when evaluating the safety of college attendance.

Transportation safety problems could be a game changer when picking a college to attend. Between semester breaks and school holidays, students come home a lot. Many colleges sponsor Family Days and encourage parent visits. Many families rely on plane travel. They are already struggling with increased ticket costs, fewer perks, and delays because of Sequester cuts.

The knife rule change

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7 cool ways Twitter helps parents of college-bound

twitter influence: Photo by mil8 Marc Levin www.flickr.com

twitter influence: Photo by mil8 Marc Levin www.flickr.com

Social media can help parents of the college-bound. Twitter, for instance, provides a wide selection of valuable resources. While students are often warned about how misuse of social media can harm their college and job prospects, savvy parents can explore and benefit from this new virtual frontier.

With short and snappy posts, Twitter users get their point across in 140 characters or less. It’s a great tool for uber-busy parents with little spare time. Tweets can be read on smart phones while standing in line at the market, in a waiting room or during T.V. commercials. Since Twitter is socially interactive, parents can follow a favorite Tweeter, comment and ask a question.

Here are 7 cool ways Twitter helps parents of the college-bound:

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