And so it begins–the waiting game. Every parent of a college-bound teen has to experience this right of passage: waiting for admissions decisions. Will she or won’t she get in to her dream college? Will she get enough financial aid to ease the financial burden? How will she react to the news (good or bad)?
If your teen applies EA (Early Action) or ED (Early Decision) the wait should be over soon. For those of you whose teens have chosen regular admissions, the wait will be much longer. During the waiting period, tension ensues in the household with both students and their parents. The stress over college admissions decisions can weigh heavy on your college-bound teen. It’s more important to them than getting asked to the senior prom. So, as I’ve said before, “gird your loins”!
What can you do to help ease the pressure and alleviate some of the stress?
Family activities, especially over the holidays, will help them push the anxiety and stress to the back of their minds. Diversions will help them focus on other things besides what they consider to be the “ultimate acceptance or rejection” from the colleges.
Focus on their strengths
When you see them do something “grand”, acknowledge it. Even the little things like helping a friend with homework or taking the time to give a younger sibling attention. This well improve their self esteem and if and when a rejection letter arrives the blow might be a little softer.
Reinforce your love for them
You may think your kids know how you feel, but use every opportunity to tell them and show them you love them. Your love will help them with the anxiety and stress. They will find it much easier to discuss their distress when they know you love them.
Take a second look at the safety schools
With so much competition for college admission, it’s likely your college-bound teen will gain an offer of admission to one of their safety schools. Surprisingly, many students tell stories of how their safety school was a better choice, especially after they examined their strengths.
Remind them that this is only one step in the rest of their life
No parent likes their child to face rejection; but it’s a fact of life. I like to remind parents and students that often what you consider to be a disappointment could create another opportunity for success and growth. One (or more) rejection does not define who you are, just as offers of admission do not as well. The key is to attend the college that wants you and best fits your needs and expectations.
Celebrate their success
They have made it through 12 years of school and are able to apply to college. That’s an accomplishment in itself. Focus on this milestone in their life while you wait.
Parenting college-bound teens can be challenging, but it’s also very rewarding when you see them become independent adults who embrace their futures.
As I was thinking about a post for Thanksgiving I began thinking about all the college experts I am thankful for. Their encouragement and expertise has contributed to my parent readers and helped many parents of college-bound teens this year. If you’re not acquainted with them, you should be.
This woman is my hero, in more ways than one and her expertise on parenting college-bound teens and keeping your sanity is second to none. Every Wednesday we collaborate on a relevant parenting topic. If you haven’t seen her blog, read her book, or read her articles at Examiner.com, you’re missing out on some extremely valuable information.
Celest is committed to helping parents by creating podcasts at “How to Pay for College HQ”. She interviews experts in the college process, giving parents tips on how to maximize the best tools and find the money to pay for college. She’s a mom (and a great one, I might add). Just ask her kids!
Jodi is my go-to financial aid expert and the host of #CollegeCash on Thursday evenings. She has partnered with Zinch to provide parents with an affordable course, “A Parents Guide to Making College More Affordable.” She’s a great friend and a valuable expert source for parents.
Paul is every parent’s friend. He dispenses the cold, hard truth about the college process. If you haven’t watched his YouTube videos, you’re missing out. He recently launched a new blog, “The Ugly Blog” that dispenses the information parents need to hear.
The team at Zinch
The team at Zinch works day in and day out to help students find scholarships and provide information to help parents with the college prep process. Their weekly scholarships and their matching scholarship service put them at the top of my list for a go-to scholarship matching site.
Monica is a mom and a scholarship superstar. She has been able to send her kids to college by finding scholarships and applying using her time-tested technique. If you don’t have her book, “How to Win Scholarships”, it’s a must-have for every parent who wants to finance college with scholarships.
If you’re a parent of a college-bound teen, I’m thankful for you as well. You struggle to juggle your life, your finances, and all the college prep steps involved in applying to colleges. In my eyes (and in the eyes of your college-bound teen), you’re superstars!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and enjoy your break with family and friends. Thank you for your continued support this year and into next.
Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy 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 pocsmom.com to parentscountdowntocollegecoach and vice versa.
We drum it into our kid’s heads that they need to appreciate all of the gifts they have been given: a good home, a strong family, parents who love them and support their college aspirations. But how do we show them appreciation and how do we let them know they are valuable?
The simple answer is—tell them. Telling them is important; but they need to see that you value them in your actions, and the college process is the best time to bring it home. Recognizing that they will be leaving you shortly to embark on a collegiate adventure makes it even more imperative that your teen know that you appreciate them.
Employees like their bosses to show appreciation with tangible rewards. It communicates value and the idea that they have done a good job. Why not adapt that policy with your college-bound teen? Just as employees respond to encouragement, teenagers do as well.
Here are five ways you can show them you appreciate them during the college prep process with small rewards:
1. Catch them doing something right and tell them so.
When you see them taking charge of the college prep process, let them know you appreciate the fact that they are taking responsibility and making good decisions.
2. When a difficult task is completed celebrate.
When their applications are complete, take them out to dinner and celebrate their accomplishment.
3. Send them a simple “text” of encouragement.
Since texting is the preferred form of communication, just a simple, “I’m proud of you”, or “good job” communicates that you appreciate them and their efforts to become an independent adult.
4. Brag about them to others.
Not in an obnoxious way, but in a way that shows them how proud you are of their accomplishments. Everyone likes to be praised.
5. Surprise them with a special reward.
If they win a scholarship, ace an AP test, or even study for the SAT, give them an unexpected reward. It could be something as simple as a gift card to their favorite store or cooking their favorite dessert.
These five simple ways communicate to your college-bound teen that you appreciate them and their hard work to prepare for college. And here’s a bonus: when your teen feels appreciated, they will continue to excel in everything they do. It’s a win-win for both of you!
Read Wendy’s post: 3 Simple steps to appreciation
Thanksgiving is upon us and that means winter break is quickly approaching. Even though it may be just a few weeks, college-bound students should take advantage of their time and use it for some college prep activities. Seniors especially can’t afford to waste precious time with application deadlines approaching with the new year.
Here’s my top 10 activities for winter break:
1. Search for scholarships
No matter what grade your student is in, spending time on scholarship searches should be their top priority during winter break. Set aside just a few hours every day to research and hunt for them.
Never stop reading. Get ahead of the recommended reading for the spring semester or read some books that you never seem to have time to read. Reading increases your vocabulary and improvers your comprehension skills which helps you on standardized tests.
3. Prepare for the FAFSA
If you’re student is a senior, this is the perfect time to prepare for the FAFSA that becomes available on January 1st for the upcoming fall semester. Remember: the early bird gets the worm and those who complete the FAFSA early are more likely to snag some of those merit aid scholarships and grant dollars.
4. Make an information gathering college visit
Winter break is a good time for college-bound teens to visit a college—any college. You can walk around campus and get a feel for what college life will be like. Since students will be on break as well, this visit should be for information gathering only.
The holidays are the perfect time to volunteer. There are many charities that need help and would be grateful for your help. Community service teaches you to care for others and give back to your community.
Winter break is a great time to take on a part-time job and add some dollars to your college fund. Retail hires extensively during the holidays and often will let you work as many hours as you are available.
With all the pressure at school and the pressure that revolves around the college search process, take some time to relax and unwind. Once you de-stress you will be refreshed and ready to get back at it the first of the year.
8. Cross of some items on your to-do list
You are bound to have a list of to-do items related to your college search and or applications. Spend some time during the break working on the list. The more you get done now, the less you will have to do when you return to school.
9. Spend (productive) time on social media
The key word here is “productive”. While you’re on Twitter and Facebook, do some scholarship searches and make some college contacts. Research college Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and while you’re at it sign up on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is now focusing on adding student profiles and it’s a great place to network and meet professionals affiliated with the colleges you are interested in attending.
10. Write in a journal
You’re going to be writing essays, thank you letters, and papers. Writing in a journal helps you improve your writing skills while writing your feelings and thoughts down on paper. Use these entries as essay topics for college and scholarship applications.
College is a busy enough time in the life of a student without undertaking a part time job, but he might not have a choice. Students and parents regularly complain about increases in the cost of a post-secondary education. After a four-year degree program, it might seem that now will be the time to earn money and pay off of a student loan, but is it? Perhaps those four years were just the beginning, and it will be a few more years before college studies give way to a lucrative career. Should your student work in college?
Paying for College Studies
Many students will have to cover part of the costs of schooling themselves, whether they think this is a good idea or not. Their loans are not sufficient, or they did not qualify for loans. Other available funding was so limited they had to look for money elsewhere.
Methods of paying for college besides working and studying at the same time include using an education savings fund, obtaining a private loan, or earning scholarships. Many teenagers take a year off when they graduate from high school to earn money working full-time. Almost all students are expected to find work during the holidays.
Usually a combination of all these things will be needed, plus some donations from family and friends. If mom and dad can afford to send a child to college, that saves a lot of worry, except they might have different plans for their teenagers.
Balancing College Studies with Work
Some people would say that working and studying is the old-fashioned way. Their fathers did the very same thing, and it did them no harm. This all depends on what their fathers studied, how many hours per day, and for how many months or years. Many professions which did not require that one hold a degree decades ago are now populated by individuals with Bachelors Degrees in science, art, or specific disciplines. Even teachers could be hired without degrees in education, and engineers apprenticed at industrial companies instead of going to university.
In some professions, it is possible to study for a certain number of hours and also get paid employment as part of that education. This is especially true in the trades like electrical and plumbing work.
Ultimately, though, if you work and go to school as well, something has to give. It might be nutrition, health, social life, housework, or hygiene. Alternatively, your grades will suffer or you will be only an average employee unless you choose the right job and only work a few hours weekly.
Helping College Students Manage Work and Studies Successfully
Parents often say they will provide room, meals, and cleaning for their children if they go to college after high school. Rent will not be expected so long as they keep their grades up. They might or might not be expected to wait tables or sell shoes at the mall.
What about students who want to study away from home or who have no home to turn to? In this case, studying online might be a better option than attending college full-time. This frees a student up to obtain work during conventional hours, giving her more choice of work including satisfying jobs which pay relatively well.
In the event that a teenager chooses to study away from home and family, the best way to manage studies plus work is to be a good manager of time and to have a plan. Select cheap but safe accommodation near college. Also look for work close to both of these locations. This will limit travel time and allow for a cheap lunch from the communal kitchen daily instead of starving or buying expensive, unhealthy fast-food.
Joshua Turner is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to business. In this article, he explains the work involved with both college and a part time job and aims to encourage further study through Marylhurst University Online Programs.
The skyrocketing cost of higher education leaves little room for financial blunders. Every dollar counts when trying to get through college with all the tuition fees, bills, and personal expenses that need to be funded. Students have to be smart about how they handle money so that they don’t go into debt. They also have to be mindful about the little things like payment deadlines and everyday habits. There should be a conscious effort to reduce expenses and avoid fines whenever possible to minimize stress. It isn’t very hard to avoid raking up fines in college, but it does require a fair amount of discipline and organization. The following examples illustrate this point.
Late Rent Payments
Most college students move to another town or another state to get their tertiary education. This often means living in a dormitory or an apartment complex for a number of years. For the first time, they have to pay rent to keep a roof over their heads. Studying the rental contract is a must to learn the house rules such as curfews, pet policies, security arrangements, and so on. The contract will also contain the specifics about payment deadlines and the fines that might result if the rent is not settled beyond a certain point. This should be taken seriously as penalties can be substantial.
With most people living away from home, students form strong bonds with friends and classmates in their university. Nowhere can these bonds and their newfound freedom be seen more clearly than in the myriad parties being thrown every week. These tend to overflow with drinks and last well into the morning. The police apprehend countless young drunk drivers annually. Those arrested face hefty fines, community service, and jail time depending on the laws of the state. These can be a crippling blow to financially-challenged students. While shunning parties is unnecessary, some prudence will go a long way in ensuring that things stay fun and positive.
Somewhat related to DUI arrests is the issue of car insurance. Students who wish to drive must get the appropriate license as well as insurance as mandated by law. The premium rate is different for everyone. Providers will look into a person’s details and driving history to determine a suitable amount. Young people, due to their relative inexperience, are seen as high risk clients. They may be forced to pay much more than the average adult motorist. Having a dismal driving record that shows arrests for DUI and traffic violations will only cause this to spike further. Being a responsible driver, on the other hand, will cause the premium to go down gradually. Additional rate cuts can be availed by getting good grades.
Credit Card Fines
Credit cards make it convenient to purchase merchandise in stores and on the Internet. However, they do have their own drawbacks. Cards make it easy to overspend to unhealthy levels as all it takes is a simple swipe. People don’t see their money getting depleted right away and they get to spend forward even if they don’t have the funds. This can be dangerous for students who have yet to master the art of personal finance. It is important to learn how to budget resources and to be mindful of cash flow. When the credit card payment deadline comes up, there has to be enough funds for it or else the fines will pile up. Settle them as early as possible.
Another source of fines is parking tickets. In some cities, the fines can be quite steep. Students can avoid this hassle by being informed motorists. They need to become familiar with the enforcement rules that are in place where they are living. They should also ask around to find out the safe places to park at and tips that are pertinent to the local scene. If they still get served with a parking ticket despite following the rules, then they can try to appeal their case to the proper authorities.
Ryan Ayers is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to education. In this article, he offers legal advice to college students and promotes the work of lawyers such as those involved with the California Innocence Project.
While every property renter should be aware of the possibility of scams when it comes time to sign the lease, college students should be particularly careful when signing a student housing lease. It is often the case that students are new to living on their own: searching for a decent, well-priced apartment is hard enough on its own, but students often don’t anticipate how difficult signing the lease can be. Pages of dense writing, legalese, and sometimes confusing clauses, all with the manager standing at your side, keys in hand, can be too much to take in immediately.
Signing the Lease
College students should resist the urge to smile and sign, although it may seem like a good idea at the time. You may feel as though you are offending your landlord by taking a step back and reading the entire lease in detail. You may even feel as though your landlord can be trusted 100%.
But the thing is, signing a legally binding document is serious, and can have significant repercussions on your life and finances. While lease terms vary depending on where you are living, many of them can be binding for up to a year. That means that, legally speaking, you are beholden to any clause within the contract as long as it is legal. With that in mind, take your time reviewing your lease. It is often the case that mistakes, if you do not catch them, will be to your disadvantage. Even if your landlord has made an error or is otherwise in the wrong, the amount of time, energy, and money you might end up spending securing your rights is not worth this ounce of prevention.
Different Types of Leases
As there is no such thing as a template for a lease, or a standard lease, landlords have a lot of leeway in the ones that write. Many lease forms can have huge legal or ethical problems. But it is not uncommon for future tenants, including college students, to be unaware of them before it is too late.
The risk that you would be running by signing your lease without question is possible to circumvent, but the responsibility is on your shoulders as the tenant. Read your lease carefully – do not skim it – before signing it. It is acceptable to ask for a copy to review overnight, although be aware that for some landlords, signs of hesitance in a tight market may make them just dump you in favor of another candidate.
Watch Out for Red Flags
While you can never know before you read the lease, there are some signs that may indicate that your landlord may be untrustworthy. If he or she does not give you a copy of the lease, however, that is your first red flag. Another is them trying to rush you to sign it, right there on the spot. Do not let them push you into doing anything you are unsure of. If the landlord tries to minimize a clause that you ask about by saying that they do not enforce it, or it is just a formality, be firm: ask the landlord to remove the clause if it is so unimportant or unenforced. You are allowed, to some extent, to negotiate the contents of your contract. Even if the landlord will not negotiate with you, it does not hurt to ask.
Another red flag is the landlord’s insistent on an oral agreement that they will not add to the contract. Unfortunately, you cannot take a handshake or someone’s word to a court of law.
One of the most important things a tenant can remember is that “standard contracts” do not exist. If your potential landlord tries to brush of your concerns with this platitude, they may be trying to pull one over on you.
Joshua Turner is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to business. In this article, he offers tips to students faced with signing a house lease and aims to encourage further study with a Real Estate College Degree.