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: 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: Peer pressure sabotages college prep

Steamed about peer pressure. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Steamed about peer pressure. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

The golden rule may be all about putting others first but college prep offers the chance for the college-bound to be selfish. It’s a 180 degree reversal of the good citizen message parents emphasize but essential to combat the influence of peer pressure during the college prep process.

Peer pressure pitfalls include following a boyfriend’s choice of college over a better fit, joining a popular club with no personal interest, acting or failing to act to follow the crowd, and down-playing a skill or talent just to fit in. If you think your child is above this, think again. A teen’s self-esteem is more fragile than ice starting to freeze at the first frost. Sacrificing a personal want can seem superior when it gains the comfort of being accepted by a group. Unfortunately, college acceptance is based on a different set of rules.

Institutions of higher learning set minimum admission requirements for applicants to share but that doesn’t mean they want cookie cutter students. The onus is on students to showcase what they offer to the campus that is special and unique. Introspection and self-evaluation can go a long way to focus student emphasis on who they are now and what they want to achieve.

College prep includes beefing up strengths and fortifying weaknesses. It leads students beyond their own circle to explore new ideas and ways. If peer pressure is holding your student back, parents and students can work together as a team to do what is in the student’s best interest. Start with brainstorming college, lifestyle and career goals. Then form a plan to make it happen. And this kind of selfishness fits right in with college prep.

Read Suzanne’s post: College Prep Peer Pressure

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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!

This month Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT on Wednesday, January 21. 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: 6 ways to prevent college-bound burnout

Prevent college-bound burnout. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Prevent college-bound burnout. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

All work and no play can do a lot more than make college-bound Jack a dull boy. It can result in “a mountain of mental and physical health problems,” according to Psychology Today. Cynicism, depression and lethargy lead the list of symptoms that cause exhaustion and stress in mind and body.

Families can take advantage of school breaks but what about daily routines? Here are six ways to incorporate downtime into busy schedules that parents can use to prevent burnout for their teens:

1. Address the issue with your parent-student team. Have short and regularly scheduled formal meetings with the goal of helping your college-bound achieve college and career dreams. Together, complete a calendar with deadlines, due dates and tasks. Include breaks because this is the first to be omitted unless scheduled.

2. Breaks come in different time sizes. Help your teen brainstorm a list of fun things to do based on various time slots. Some activities can be with family or friends and others can simply be quality alone time.

3. Make “mixing business with pleasure” a mantra. Fun is a great stress reliever so add some before, during or after a must-do on the to-do list.

4. Find a balance between work/study and extracurriculars. This is a skill that will be used throughout life. The activities can include a hobby, sport or club that brings joy and another dimension to routine work loads.

5. Make rest and exercise family priorities. They both help energize and invigorate. A good night’s sleep and being in good physical shape help form a positive mental attitude.

6. Celebrate accomplishments. Don’t let them pass without recognition of the hard work it took to pull off. Appropriate praise rewarding downtime can boost self-esteem.

Read Suzanne’s post: Enjoying a Break When There is No Break

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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.

Suzanne and I host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Except this month, since this is the night before Thanksgiving, we wish you all a very  

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: Hobbies can lead college prep

Hobbies can lead college prep. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines.

Hobbies can lead college prep. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines.

There are many reasons people have hobbies but for the college-bound, these interests may drive the college process right to admission, through graduation and into a job. That’s because hobbies are fueled by passion and passion can make work feel like a hobby – - something your student can’t wait to do.

“It makes hard days easier, and your efforts and successes will be a hundred times more satisfying,” Alex Mooradian, CEO of Readyforce, says in the Mashable article, Career Considerations for College Seniors: Resume-Building Begins Now.

Majors and minors,” is what Steve Stoute, founder and CEO of ad agency Translation,  describes the difference between a day job and a passion. He goes on to say, “Allowing your employees to be able to use their talents and passions to move the business forward is an incredible thing. It gets everybody to feel like they have the opportunity to help be a part of the problem-solving for our clients.”

The same reasoning can be applied to higher education. I have written about the reasons for Adding the extras and now it’s time to focus on the extracurricular activity of a hobby. Parents can share theirs, help their children discover an enjoyable hobby or develop an existing one to start the following benefits flowing:

Benefit #1  Hobbies can lead to self-motivation by inspiring students to want to learn more.

Benefit #2  Skills are developed from exploring an interest. The expertise and knowledge from hobbies can be listed on a resume for college and a job.

Benefit #3  Hobbies can show off leadership qualities that colleges are looking for.

Benefit #4  There may be a market for goods made or talents perfected by hobbies. They can be turned into a lucrative business that can help pay college bills.

Benefit #5  Hobbies may be shared with others, delved into alone or divided between the two and easily fitted into busy schedules. It can complement both introvert and extrovert personalities as well as personal timetables.

Benefit #6  Both academic and life skills can be learned via hobbies. “Hobbies can be one of the best avenues to help kids practice what they learn in school and continue learning outside of the classroom,” according to http://houndahobby.com.

Benefit #7  Hobbies can supply a natural connection and conversation starter among family members at home or extend outside between the college-bound and college/employer interviewers.

Whether a life-long interest or a passing fancy, hobbies are leisure activities that bring richness as an avocation that can also lead to college preparation and beyond.

Read Suzanne’s post: Turning a Hobby Into a Resume Rave

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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: Emotion management 101

Emotion management 101. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Emotion management 101. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Emotions can drive action forward or into the ground. This one insight defines how I described the parent role in the parent-student team approach to college prep. Surveys and scientists explained how emotions can help or hinder students to achieve their college and career dreams.

Parents cannot expect their students to do their best if they are not vested in the college process, I have said and written many times. “The best educators know that for students to achieve meaningful, lasting success in the classroom and beyond, they must be emotionally engaged in the educational experience,” Gallup notes.

Negative emotions can lead to huge setbacks like burnout. A developmental psychologist and research affiliate of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and a psychoanalyst and associate director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence joined together to write an interesting article in OpEd Project’s Yale Public Voices Fellowship program, reported The Washington Post.

They found, “many college students are struggling, even suffering.” High school students and their parents can be so focused on doing what is necessary to get into college that they don’t ready themselves for the emotional challenges of adjusting to a new job as college student, moving to a new place, and meeting/living with new people. That’s a lot of change to deal with.

Good-bye comfort zone and hello loss of security. Educators may step in to help. However, parents can start now to assist their students in developing skills of emotional intelligence to reason with and about emotions to achieve goals and thrive. Here are five ways to begin:

  1. Offer encouragement. There is a big difference between being supportive and taking over.
  2. Provide expectations. Clear understanding enables students to rise to the occasion and recognize limits.
  3. Give freedom to fail in a safe way. Slowly turning over the college prep leadership role enables students to learn from their own mistakes and gain confidence from making good decisions.
  4. Self-check. Parents can put aside their own anxiety so they don’t transfer their own feelings of worry, disappointment and anger.
  5. Listen carefully. Establish an open and regular communication policy. Look for the cues when your child is anxious and pressured. Does he or she know what to do to lower their own anxiety? Do you both know where to go for more help?

Read Suzanne’s post: 6 Emotional College Prep Tasks

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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: Choose a mentor in 3 steps

Choose a mentor carefully. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Choose a mentor carefully. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Earn while you learn explains the popularity of apprenticeships to employees and internships for college students. For the college-bound, a mentor can supplement classroom learning and provide enrichment in  understanding. Who to choose as a mentor is not always an easy choice because there is a lot riding on the consequences of taking a mentor’s advice.

Mentors can serve as advisers, guides, gurus, counselors, consultants, confidantes, trainers, teachers, tutors, and instructors for any part of the college and career prep and process. As experts in their field, they can share valuable insider tips, tricks and insights. They can furnish introductions through networking opportunities and serve as role models. Here is my three-step method to choose a mentor:

1. Do a big picture analysis. The first step in choosing a mentor is to determine which position a student needs a mentor to fill. In my article, It takes this village to get into college, I explained six different roles students look to for counsel. A mentor can fill more than one part and students can have more than one mentor for different reasons. Use the parent-student team to explore the areas a student could benefit from extra guidance. Since college prep is preparation for achieving success in college and beyond, take both a short and long view. As objectively as possible, analyze together the student’s current academic and extracurricular interests, skills, abilities and talents. Let the student lead the discussion on future plans and dreams. Compare the two to determine the qualifications of a suitable mentor.

2. Brainstorm candidates to serve as a mentor. A mentor’s academic and life experience may relate to a particular profession, business, or membership. The person may be a prior or current teacher or school counselor, family friend/colleague or someone from a club or organization the student or parent knows. A mentor usually comes from a direct connection but doesn’t have to. Recommendations may come from others. It is worth doing some research to find the best match and double-check reliability. Students will be trusting the mentor’s judgement. Read How trustworthy is your college info source? for what to watch out for.

3. Make the first move. Whether it is someone the student knows already or comes by way of recommendation, the approach is the same. Start the mentor relationship on a higher plane by being professional. Students should be prepared with an elevator speech about themselves, what they want, and how they believe the person can help as a mentor. The key is to explain why they are worthy of the mentor’s valuable time and knowledge. Be respectful and prepared by bringing a resume similar to the one I suggest be given when requesting teacher recommendations. A conversation about how the mentor experience fits in will follow naturally.

Read Suzanne’s post5 Qualities a Mentor Should NOT Possess

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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: School counselors and the parent/student team

Meet with your school counselor. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Meet with your school counselor. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

School counselors are often the first professional who introduces the college process to students and parents. They may bring outside speakers in to supplement their own in-house programs about admission and financial aid. With cutbacks in education funding, there is even more pressure on high school counselors, college-bound students and their parents to find expert info to navigate the complicated college process.

When I speak at high schools, middle schools, public libraries and private groups, my favorite part is the Q&A session. The comments reflect parent and student consistent concerns. They are worried about the coming changes, stressed about the increased to-do list, and scared about the financial and emotional costs.

When the parent/student team partners with a school counselor, they have access to a valuable resource. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) explains the credentials of professional school counselors, formerly referred to as guidance counselors, as state certified/licensed educators with a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling. As vital members of the education team, they can help students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development and career development.

School counselors may meet with students alone and/or with their parents to form a plan of classes, programs and services to satisfy student immediate needs and future goals. For the college-bound, school counselors play an important part. They are often responsible for submitting school transcripts, general school information and specifics about class ranking, and teacher and school recommendation letters to the colleges students indicate they are submitting admission applications.

When going to any professional for advice, it is helpful to prepare. Use the parent-student team meeting to brainstorm questions and think about different scenarios. School counselors have limited time to spend on an individual student so maximize the chance to pick their brain.

Here are ten questions and topics for the college-bound to ask and explore when meeting with their school counselor. The last one is a biggie:

  1. How can I improve my academic standing, extracurricular choices, and college admission chances?
  2. I don’t know what to study in college. Please help me match my interests and skills to career possibilities and colleges with the best programs for me.
  3. What websites and other resources should I use to help form a college list?
  4. I prepared this resume of my skills and accomplishments in addition to what is in my school records. Please look it over and ask me any questions before writing the school letter of recommendation about me. What are your suggestions for teacher recommendations?
  5. What local and other scholarships do you recommend I apply to and have a good chance of winning? Any tips?
  6. Please proofread my college and scholarships essays.
  7. I am so stressed and pressed for time. Can you offer any guidance on study strategies, stress management and test preparation?
  8. When attending school sponsored college fairs and information sessions, what questions should I ask?
  9. What else should I do to prepare for college?
  10. How can my parents and family best help me?

After the meeting, the parent-student team may discuss the school counselor’s suggestions and form their own plan of action. As the college process moves forward, students can assume increasing responsibilities and leadership. They can keep the counselor updated on their progress and continue to ask questions.

Read Suzanne’s post: Cultivate the Counselor Relationship

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Tonight is Wednesday’s Parent night (the fourth Wednesday of each month) on #CampusChat, Wednesday, August 27, 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will talk with Shelley Kraus @butwait about the role of school counselors in the college process. Shelley served as director of admissions at @PreviewingPenn,  associate director of admissions at @TCNJ_Admissions and is in her tenth year as a member of the college counseling team at @RutgersPrep, New Jersey’s first independent school. She is the lead curator of collegelistswiki.com, a counselor ­curated collection of over 250 college lists. Please join us and bring your questions and comments.

UPDATE: RECAP (For those who missed the chat or want to review the important tips shared). 

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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.