Wednesday’s Parent: College and career game plan

College and career game plan. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

College and career game plan. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Emphasizing student goals during the college search process is the working backwards approach I described in my article, 2 opposite ways of nailing the college search. For those who are certain of their career plans or at least what they want to do first, this method to prioritize student objectives can help them find colleges that best prepare them for grad school or the work place.

When researching schools, concentrate on what they offer in and out of the classroom. Learning opportunities include formal in classroom and informal out of the classroom options. Consider academic majors and classes, mentorships, internships, service learning, study abroad, co-ops, club memberships, community service, research programs, and other work experiences. Also, think about what the schools emphasize and how their graduates fare.

As time passes during the college process, to stay focused on objectives, periodically measure choices against goals for a personal college and career game plan. It’s okay to revise goals but don’t forget to reassess college choices accordingly. The ultimate aim is to graduate on time to minimize college costs while gaining valuable knowledge to enter the job market and begin a self-supporting adult life.

Read Suzanne’s post: Consider a Career Focused College

Read more:

Answer this, then apply to college

What’s the right college for me, Mrs. Robinson?

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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!

Suzanne @SuzanneShaffer and I @pocsmom will host Twitter chat #CampusChat on Wednesday, October 28 at 9pm ET/6pm PT. Our guest this week is Lisa Nobel @Noblecareerguru a career coach for high school and college grads and former former marketing exec. Please join us with your questions and comments.

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: Productive emotion convos

Emotions run high during the college process. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Emotions run high during the college process. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Nagging and bickering are common discourse between parents and their college-bound during the tumultuous teen years. These unpleasant conversations are often ineffective and frustrating for every family member and they can set a disagreeable tone for parent-adult child communications. There are productive conversations that parents can start now and it begins with teaching emotional skills.

Emotions are running high on both sides from plenty of unknowns to fear including costs, test prep, and college choice. When students head off to college, there is a campus world filled with uncharted territory and unfamiliar faces. The problem is without awareness, emotions can override common sense.

College parent coach Suzanne Shaffer has put together a list of great parenting tips to prepare students for the “emotions of college.” The bonus is these suggestions will grow children’s confidence in and ability to make good decisions. This is something both parents and students can benefit from. Read Suzanne’s perceptive post:

Prepping Your Student for the Emotions of College

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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: 3 step college prep back to school plan

Time for back to school tips. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Time for back to school tips. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

There are many things to master when preparing for college. Students have to hone their test taking skills, college and scholarship searches, essay writing, and qualifications for college applications. Parents focus on helping their children accomplish all this while learning all they can about college finance. Families can use the new school year as a fresh start to tackle the college process. Here is a three part plan that works:

Be a dreamer first. It’s always a good idea to begin with some quiet introspection and self-analysis. Brainstorm hopes and dreams and begin to set short and long term goals. Be prepared to update these because minds can change over time.

Get practical second. Taking action leads to a sense of accomplishment and realistic expectations. The parent-student team can work together to list student skills and achievements. They will show strengths to enhance and weaknesses to address when compared to individual college admission requirements and personal goals.

Third, always have a Plan B. Give each task 100 percent effort or reschedule when this is doable to maximize chances of success. Even so, life doesn’t come with guarantees and neither does the college admission process. Being able to adjust, adapt and modify plans is a life skill so take five when stressed to regain perspective, count blessings and make lemonade from lemons.

College prep may seem endless but many parents believe the college years fly by in the blink of an eye. Soon enough the adult-child relationship will morph into an adult-adult child relationship so keep communication open and honest and include some fun to enjoy each day.

Read Suzanne’s post: A Day in the Life of a College-Bound Parent

Read more: How to participate in a twitter chat 

Parent role in higher education preparation

Wednesday’s Parent: College prep red flags

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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!

Suzanne @SuzanneShaffer and I @pocsmom will host Twitter chat #CampusChat on Wednesday, August 26 at 9pm ET/6pm PT. Our guests this week are a Back to School panel of eight experts. Please join us with your questions and comments. 

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: 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: Savvy prep for college essays

Writing college essays. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Writing college essays. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

If your college-bound child isn’t writing in a diary or journal, suggest he or she start one now. It’s a great opportunity for self expression. It’s wonderful practice to form coherent thoughts concisely. And it’s an insightful way to prepare for college essays.

Colleges use essays as another way for admission officers to get to know an applicant and measure how he would fit on their campus. Essays are often required as a major part of scholarship applications, too. A great essay can help net a student entry into a choice college and money towards paying for it.

Yet, many students include reading as a hobby but few think about writing for pleasure. In a personal log, students get to record their thoughts and experiences. This provides a double benefit when it comes time to write college essays.

Writing is a skill and like any other skill, it gets better with practice. Also, journal writing is very different from penning a research paper or school report. The former is about personal opinion and the latter is more concerned with facts and expert sources. College essays are looking for student points of view that come from introspection.

So, the first benefit of keeping a diary is practical. It provides practice in writing one’s unique perspective and ideas. Surprise, the second advantage is also practical. A journal is a great resource and inspiration for topics to write about in college essays.

Read Suzanne’s post: 5 College Essay Tips

READ more:

Wednesday’s Parent: Best question for parents to ask to help with college essays

Finding your happy in college prep

6 high school habits leading to college success

RECAP on storify: #CampusChat 6/24/15 Parent’s Guide to College Essay

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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!

Suzanne @SuzanneShaffer and I @pocsmom will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. Our guest this week will be Ethan Sawyer @CollegeEssayGuy of College Essay Guy discussing the parent’s guide to the college essay. You can follow these simple instructions to join a Twitter chat.

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: Summer projects clog brain drain

Summer. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Summer. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Parents, students and teachers dread the anticipated brain drain that occurs during long school breaks. Although it may be inevitable that some facts will drip out, skills don’t have to be lost and others can be strengthened. Summer projects can clog the brain drain and be of particular benefit for the college-bound.

Summer is a great time to create a life-long learning balance between work and play. That includes celebrating accomplishments and filling the schedule with downtime.  Share the following with your teen to explore options that will hone interpersonal and academic skills, add to their college admission resume, and have some summer fun.

8 skill-building job ideas for college-bound students lists eight jobs “tailor-made for the college-bound to gain soft skills, maybe earn some extra money, and build a resume for future careers to impress employers.”

An unusual school break college prep plan shows seven ways to prepare for college “whether students are traveling or staying put.” 

Wednesday’s Parent: 6 unexpected bonuses from summer reading provides six surprising benefits from reading. “There is a physical or virtual book, periodical, newspaper or article to suit every genre and some will cross over. For example, readers of a mystery novel set in 19th century London may be challenged to figure out the puzzle while picking up some historical tidbits about a foreign country. Something from the craft section may spur entrepreneurial talents leading to creation of a new business.”

7 summer to dos for parents of collegebound gives seven things parents can do to help their children “get the jump on college planning” while having some fun.

Read Suzanne’s post: The Summer Scholarship Project

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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: College prep red flags

Watch out for college prep red flags. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Watch out for college prep red flags. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Research proved what parents already know: bad behavior can demolish college dreams despite student academic smarts and talents. The range of poor choices run the gamut from awful sleep habits to partying. Parents can pick up the early warning signs and join with their students to address the issues that block success.

First, review the studies which led to two apps to raise GPA. Then go over these 6 tips to deal with partying and your college-bound teen from a previous Wednesday’s Parent. Finally, be wary of changes in your student’s behavior.

Constant drowsiness and irritability may signal more than teenage angst. So can missing deadlines for school work and college prep activities. Lack of motivation and vastly changing interests may also be a red flag. Parents can use the parent-student team to discuss concerns about partying, studying, class attendance, sleep habits, physical activity and socializing. They can also speak with teachers and counselors.

A college education is a privilege that is earned through dedication and commitment. Troubles may arise that divert the college prep course. The earlier the problems are identified, the sooner families can work together for solutions.

Read Suzanne’s post: Talking to Your Teen About Irresponsible Behavior

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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: 7 pre-college costs that can lead to big savings later

Turning pre-college costs into college savings

Turning pre-college costs into College savings

There is a plethora of articles about college costs and how to pay them but little mention is made about college prep expenses. College financial aid doesn’t cover these and they can sizably pile up. Pre-college expenses can cut into personal financial resources way before a tuition bill arrives and add hundreds, even thousands to the total cost of obtaining a higher education degree. Thinking about pre-college costs now can help families plan where they are most likely to get the best return on their investment and allocate their money accordingly. Here are seven pre-college costs that can lead to big savings during and after college:

1. Standardized tests have fees. The PSAT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests and ACT have set fees and students often take them more than once. The expense is there but so is the chance to get a break on college costs. High scorers may qualify for college scholarships. They also may be offered admission with more generous financial aid packages as compared to their poorer scoring peers. Although the list of test-optional schools is growing, many colleges still have SAT or ACT requirements.

2. AP and IB exams have fees. Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs charge students a fee for taking the exams. High schools often tout these as the most challenging and rigorous courses they offer. Doing well can impress college admissions officers by demonstrating college readiness. At many schools, this can lead to college credit and bypassing introductory college courses, both great college time and money savers.

3. Tutors have fees. Some libraries or high schools may offer free programs for individual subjects or test prep, but many tutors charge a fee for their services. If students need the extra help to pass a class or go to that next level, it may be the difference between getting into their college choice and qualifying for scholarships.

4. College visits can be costly. Depending on their location, visiting campuses can be a huge financial hit when they include lodging, meals and transportation. However, they can be the most influential reason for deciding student-college fit for applying and attending. When students do attend, families are one up on finding local stores offering student discounts, signing up for lodging and transportation loyalty programs, and knowing where to make hard to get reservations for crowded times like move in/out, family and graduation dates.

5. Colleges have application fees. This is where a good and succinct college list can pay off immediately. Weigh this against a longer list of greater possibilities but not necessarily better ones.

6. College consultants, financial aid counselors, and scholarship experts have fees. There is a lot of free information available about choosing colleges, writing essays, preparing for interviews, and filling out admission and aid applications but all this may not assist families with unique or difficult issues. A trusted advisor may be essential for them.

7. Student loans have fees and interest charges. Interest and fees add to the overall cost of the loan but federal and state loan forgiveness programs can turn all or a portion of borrowed cash into money that doesn’t have to be paid back. Check out the qualifications necessary like a certain career, length of time in the position and job location before considering borrowing to use as a powerful planning tool.

Note, there are fee waivers for qualifying low income students. But most will pay full fare so it is important to decide where to invest those valuable pre-college dollars and where to save the cash for college attendance.

Read Suzanne’s post: Scoring FREE Pre-College Costs

READ more:

This high school test means college money 

Getting a student loan? Check out forgiveness programs

How to pass the college affordability test (CAT)

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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: How parents and students can be on the same page

Parents and the college-bound should be on the same page. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Parents and the college-bound should be on the same page. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

“Parents and children often think differently about money. They have differing experiences and points of view. They are at dissimilar life stages.” I said this referring to one of 3 essential parent-student talks before college. The truth is, parents and students are often on different pages on a whole host of issues besides college costs for these same reasons. For example, families may be at loggerheads with college choice and field of study that can determine future life styles including finances, location and opportunities. Disagreements also get magnified because there are so many important decisions to be made during the college process that affect the entire family. That’s where a different dialogue framework can help.

Even though parents and students can have different ideas and mindsets (teen brains are still developing), they can start on the same page. They both want the goal of student success. They can think as one by agreeing to the process and procedures for airing issues, too.

Have a formal agenda including old and new business, a routine time and place to meet, and a way to allot speaking time for participants. Mix business with pleasure by bringing a joke or playing a game before or after the parent-student conference to add some family fun.

Forming a parent-student team to address college prep issues in a business-like manner tempers emotions. It sets the stage for transition from parent-child discourse to parent-adult child communication. It won’t make family members agree all the time but it will create a habit of listening to each other’s position and understanding the reasons for each other’s views.

Gaining perspective and bonding from a fair hearing goes a long way and may even change varying opinions to being on the same page. Until the next topic comes up.

Read Suzanne’s postParent vs Student Reasoning

READ more:

Prioritizing through the college maze

Wednesday’s Parent: Best ways to manage college prep time

Survey finds parent-child communication changes in college

Parents and college-bound emergency plan

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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: 3 step plan to make deadlines an asset

3 step plan to make deadlines a plus. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

3 step plan to make deadlines a plus. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Deadlines are like a black cloud hanging over my head ready to rain on my parade. They cause me stress and anxiety. Missed deadlines in the college process can mean much worse, like loss of admission and funds to help pay for college. Using my fave phrase, making lemonade from lemons, I’ve come up with a way to make deadlines an asset instead of a liability.

I’ve timed this post in conjunction with the May 1 ubiquitous college decision day for admitted students but the plan applies for all students and their parents. Accepted students have to let colleges know if they are accepting admission offers or not, send in housing deposits, take college placement tests, and be ready for Move-In Day, Family Visit Days, etc. College-bound families have admission, financial aid, scholarship, and standardized test registration and test deadlines. Whatever stage in the college process you are, here is my three step plan to make deadlines an asset:

First, know your deadlines. Take out a calendar and plot them all. Add school, extracurricular and personal activities and events. Don’t get overwhelmed with a full calendar yet. It’s good to know the facts now than be unpleasantly surprised later. Besides, you are just getting started.

Second, prioritize needs over wants. Knowing the difference is essential when choosing between conflicting events and helps time manage preparation plans for what is left on the to-do list. Maybe it’s because I hate stress, but I believe it’s a benefit to be realistic about what can get done from the start than spread myself too thin so circumstances, not me, determine what is and isn’t finished. When extra time pops up, a crossed out event can always be added later.

Third, go back to the calendar and back track. Take each deadline, not event, and rewrite the deadline a few days ahead of schedule. That way you are planning on finishing before the actual due date and providing a just in case advantage buffer. Break each task down into smaller steps and block out time in your schedule to work on them. The earlier you start, the more flexibility you give yourself.

The revised list can be used as both a motivator and a reason to celebrate when an item is completed. Deadlines become the best assets when they have passed successfully. Reward yourself with some fun after meeting each one. You deserve it!!!

Read Suzanne’s post: Deadlines and College Prep

READ more:

Scholarship Mom Alert: Meet May deadlines for these scholarships

Here’s the dish on college deadlines

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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.