Wednesday’s Parent: A Day in the Life of a College-Bound Parent

 

college-bound parentSchool has started for most high school students and for their parents. Yes, I said parents too. They go back to school and we become chauffeurs, coaches, ports in the storm, listening ears and punching bags. College prep adds a whole new level of frustration and stress to the four high school years. A typical day in the life of a college-bound parent might include:

Reminding them to study for standardized tests

Every parent knows the importance of standardized tests. Most students revolt when it comes to studying for them. It’s a daily battle trying to get them to study or even look at vocabulary words. Those that do, reap the rewards. Those that don’t, settle for average scores. The hard part of this parenting issue is to find a motivation and use it.

Receiving a text message that the deadline for ____ is today, and they forgot

This will happen; more times than you care to count. With so many activities, responsibilities and deadlines related to college admissions, things are bound to fall through the cracks. Don’t always rescue them. Find a reminder system that works: text messaging, shared calendar apps, or a huge wall calendar in a place in the house that everyone can see.

Thinking they can’t leave for college soon enough

Battles will ensue. Doors will slam. Words will fly. You will find yourself looking forward to the day when none of these things are a part of your life. It might be only for an instant, but it will happen.

Wishing you could stop time and keep them home forever

Just as quickly as you wish they were gone, you will dread the day you drop them off for college. You can’t prepare for that moment, but you can cherish every moment of their high school years; even the bad ones. Once they leave, the house will be quiet again and you will miss those slamming doors.

Encouraging (or nagging) them to search for scholarships

During all four years of high school, scholarship searching should be a part of your student’s life. It’s boring, monotonous and not fun. It ranks right up there with studying and they will avoid it like the plague. The only way you can motivate them is to make them understand that scholarship searching is related to being able to attend college. Money = opportunity and their job while in high school is to search for scholarships.

Sifting through the papers in their backpack (or on their floor) looking for an application or form

This is not an adequate filing system for college material. This is the way important papers are lost and deadlines are missed. At the start of high school, establish a “college landing zone” for everything college related. Once your student knows to make this a priority, you should be able to minimize those treasure hunts.

Stressing over college choice, college visits, test prep and just about any other college prep task

Stress will be your middle name for the next four years. You can minimize the stress by staying organized, planning ahead, and communicating with one another.

Having mounds and mounds of questions and needing answers

Questions will arise during college prep and you will need answers. Lucky for you, there are many experts willing to help. Look on social media, ask your high school counselor or even hire and independent counselor. Tonight’s Back-to-School panel on #CampusChat should answer some of your questions and if you have more, contact the experts on Twitter after the chat. They will be happy to help.

This last one came from one of my readers (thanks Renee!)

Monitoring your student’s classes to make sure that they are meeting college admissions requirements

Does your son need to retake a class? Does your daughter need an additional math class? Don’t rely on counselors to keep track of your child’s progress. Parents and students have to monitor their own progress toward college and not be afraid to ask questions and request changes when things don’t look right.

Read Wendy’s post: College Prep Back to School Tips

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++

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!

The bonus is that tonight Wendy and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. Our Back-to-School Panel of experts will be giving tips to parents about all phases of college prep.

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 parentscountdowntocollegecoach to pocsmom.com and vice versa.

Tips for Dads of the College-Bound

 

tips for dadsWith all the advice for moms, one of my Twitter followers (@PeachtreeCP) chimed in: “What about tips for dads?” I had to respond, “I’m not a dad, so I can’t speak for them.” But, it occurred to me that I did know some dads, one in particular, my brother. Both his children went to college. His daughter had a relatively typical college experience. His son, on the other hand, always marched, and still does, to the beat of a different drummer.

When I asked my brother to share his best advice, man to man, he graciously agreed to help. Here’s his response, word for word:

I’m not sure where to begin.  I assume that the dad who wrote you wanted advice about the college process.  I guess I’ll just share how I approached this with Cameron.  Since he’s not the typical kid, my approach was unique to him.  But this is how I did it.

  • I gave guidance, but didn’t try to push him into my expectations for him
  • I stressed the importance of education while he was thinking about what to do after high school
  • I tried to show him how his interests (video production, photography, etc.) would be greatly enhanced by more education
  • I gave him permission to make mistakes and take his time in determining his major
  • I didn’t give him a completely free ride to college – we required that he have some investment
  • I encouraged him to get a job while going to school
  • I encouraged him not to get into debt with loans, but to pay as he could, semester by semester
  • I finally recognized that college may not be his thing, so I gave him permission to say, “I want to do something else”, then I gave him my blessing

In retrospect, I think we could have done a better job of setting him up for a better first year away at college.  We found a garage apartment for him to live in, but he lived alone.  I think it would have been a better experience for him if he had other roommates going through the same struggles at college.

_______________________

Cameron chose to get a “real life” education, self-taught on the entrepreneurial route. It has not been an easy path, but he has certainly discovered his strengths and weaknesses while learning much about himself through self-discovery. He’s working at a job in a field he loves: video production.

For all you dads out there, the key here, according to my brother, is to know your child, give guidance when needed, stress the importance of an education, and give them the freedom to explore their own path in life. The college prep process has it’s own set of challenges and fathers can provide that stabilizing influence and strong support their college-bound teen needs.

Scholarship Friday: Scholarships with September Deadlines

 

scholarships with september deadlinesAccording to a recent survey, paying for college is a parent’s biggest concern. Scholarships can go a long way to alleviating that stress. Encourage your student to investigate every available scholarship and apply to the ones in which they fit the criteria.

Here’s a few resources listing scholarships with September deadlines.

JLV Consulting provides a list of 40 scholarships with September deadlines. Visit the scholarship websites to get more details about individual requirements and the application:

http://jlvcollegecounseling.com/2015/07/28/scholarships-with-september-2015-deadlines/

Unigo provides a list of 10 scholarships and contests available to high school students:

https://www.unigo.com/pay-for-college/scholarships/september-scholarship-countdown-1

About Education gives a list of 13 scholarships with September deadlines:

http://collegeapps.about.com/od/grantsandscholarships/tp/college-scholarships-september.htm

Scholarships.com offers a list of scholarships with September deadlines:

https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-trending-now/

Need more? Do a Google search of “scholarships with September deadlines” and you can add to this list.

 

 

A Day in the Life of a College Mom

 

college momIt’s happening. The dreaded day has arrived and you have dropped off your student at college. The tears have flowed, and you made the long drive home in turmoil. But it didn’t end there, you got home and you walked by her room. The floodgates opened again. I recently had a conversation with my brother and sister-in-law the other day about dropping their daughter off at college. They echoed all the above sentiments and assured me it was the hardest thing they had ever done. I too have been there as well.

But with all the emotions, heartbreak, empty nest feelings, grief and general frustration that took place on that day, a new day will break and we all begin our new life—hers in college, and yours at home missing her. When the dust settles, what can you expect? What is a typical day like in the life of a college mom?

Expect to hear from her soon

Either before you get home or in the next few days you will either get a text, a tweet, or a phone call from her. Mine needed some personal information, some medical information and some banking information. At the end of the call, she said, “Thanks Mom, I knew you could help me.” Those few simple words let me know she still needed me. It doesn’t matter how independent you think she is, she’s going to need you; and, she’s going to reach out for help.

Expect some phone calls feigning homesickness

It’s going to happen sooner or later: your college student will get homesick. The moment you accept the inevitable, the better equipped you will be to handle it. The best response is to listen. The worst response is to rescue her. Harlan Cohen, author of The Naked Roommate, says, “giving a homesick kid more home is like giving someone on a diet chocolate cake and a pint of ice cream.” The solution to homesickness is to create a home at college. Encourage her to get involved socially. Many parents have found this to be the perfect time for a care package from home.

Expect periods of little communication

Believe it or not, this is a good sign. It means your student is getting involved, making new friends, and studying. She has little time to phone home or stay in constant communication with her parents. It’s not personal. It’s a sign she is adjusting to college life and doesn’t need to connect with home as often as she did in the first few weeks.

Expect sickness caused from stress and fatigue

The first time your college student gets sick (and she will get sick), she will call you. Every college student needs their mommy when they get sick. The stress, the sleepless nights, and the poor eating habits will perpetuate the sickness. Send a care package of your best “comfort” items and encourage her to get some rest. The first sickness will be the worst. After that, she will know how to treat them herself.

Expect roommate drama

I don’t care how well the roommates get along in the beginning, there is going to be roommate drama. Personalities will clash, boyfriends/girlfriends will enter in to the drama, and bad habits will cause problems. Encourage your student to resolve these conflicts on her own and seek help if things continue to escalate—that’s what RAs are there for.

Expect the unexpected

No matter how much you plan and think you’re prepared for everything, expect the unexpected. It may come in the form of her wanting to transfer, or wanting to do a 360 on her major. She may announce that she has failed a class (without any notice), or that she is completely out of money and needs your help. Whatever the circumstance, she will ask for your advice and expect, as she did in the past, that you will know what she should do. Don’t panic, just listen. Offer advice. Then let her solve the problem herself.

Be comforted knowing that she will always be your little girl and she will always need her mommy. The same goes for sons—it doesn’t matter how old they get, they will come running to you for comfort and advice.

Sending Your Student to College With Music

 

College move in day is approaching and families across the country are packing their cars to drop their new college students off at the dorm. Dorm rooms are traditionally small and cramped, with little space to bring all the comforts of home. But a must have for your student is a smartphone. They will use the apps for texting, tweeting, communicating with other students, keeping tabs of dates on their calendar, and of course, listening to music.

Bluetooth speakersStudents spend a great deal of time listening to music in their dorm rooms. Whether they are studying, entertaining, or simply relaxing at the end of the day, their music can be a stress reliever. They probably have headphones, or if they are a boy, massive speakers. But the Insignia™ ultra-lightweight Bluetooth Speaker from Best Buy is the perfect mode for your student to listen to music. Not only are they portable and compact, but they are also affordable. (You will appreciate this after spending all your hard-earned money on dorm supplies). With each Insignia™ Bluetooth Speaker, you get the speaker, a USB charging cable and an owner’s manual, which easily walks you through the steps to connect to your other Bluetooth enabled products.

IMG_5712 (2)I love this speaker because it is practical for the college student. Whether in their dorm or on the go they can take this speaker with them. They can easily strap the speaker to their backpack, purse, gym bag, bicycle or even the visor in their car. Since the speaker is splashproof, you don’t have to worry about a spilled drink, splashed shower or sink water, or even rain when it’s outside.

Here are just a few uses your college student might find for this portable speaker:

  • Take it in the bathroom with you
  • Hang it on your bed in the dorm room
  • Take it to the gym and hang it on the treadmill
  • Hang in your car for trips to and from college
  • Take it to the beach during Spring Break!

This speaker is sold at Best Buy for less than $20 and is available in a variety of colors: Cobalt Blue, Horizon Blue, Sea Green, and Hot Pink. But you can save money NOW by taking advantage of Best Buy’s sale of 30% off any Insignia Portable Bluetooth Speaker.  Be sure to access the link for the coupon code. The offer is valid 8/03/15 – 9/05/15, in store and online. 

Plug In (2)_0While in the dorm, your student will like the Insignia™ Plug In Bluetooth Speaker to listen to music. You can stream music and audio from any Bluetooth enabled device: a smartphone, a laptop or desktop computer, or even the television (if they are lucky enough to have one!). It has a built in power adapter and the battery is rechargeable, giving you over 2 hours of enjoyment on one charge. Since it is also portable, your student can take it anywhere. It’s equipped with a USB port and a speaker port to make it even more versatile.

PluginHere are some suggested uses your student might find for this speaker:

  • Plug it in to save space in the dorm (in lieu of bulky speakers)
  • Carry it outside on the greenspace to share your music with others
  • Plug it in in the common room to listen to music while socializing

This Insignia™ Plug In Bluetooth Speaker is also sold at Best Buy for less than $30.

Both these speakers produce excellent sound quality, along with portability. For around $50 your student can have both and you’re giving them the gift of music!

You will also want to stay connected with Best Buy through Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Disclosure: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Wednesday’s Parent: The #1 Question to Ask Before Applying to College

 

#1 questionThe new school year is beginning and high school seniors will be making that difficult choice: choosing a college. It’s certainly a process of eliminating the unaffordable ones, the ones that are either too far away or too close to home, and the ones that simply don’t interest your student. But before applying to college, there is a #1 question you should ask your student.

What is the first question you ask your student before he applies to college? Here are a few standard inquiries:

  • Where do you want to go?
  • What do you want to major in?
  • What size college do you want to attend?
  • How far away from home do you want to go?

and the ever popular, What do you want to be?

But are these the best questions to ask when applying to college? Should your student be thinking beyond the obvious and delve deeper into what they expect to get from their education?

So many students enter college without a goal or purpose. This can end up costing parents money and added years of college attendance. You can’t, of course, expect every 18-year old to know what they want to do after graduation, but you can guide them on the right path.

POCSMom and Long Island College Prep Examiner Wendy David-Gaines sheds some insight into the question you SHOULD be asking your college bound student. Once you read it, you will say DUH! It makes perfect sense!

Answer this, and then apply to college

+++++++++++++++++++

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!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Wendy and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. 

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 parentscountdowntocollegecoach to pocsmom.com and vice versa.

Saying Goodbye to Your College Bound Teen

 

saying goodbyeLetting go. It’s never easy. You and your student have worked hard to get to this day. The last year, especially, has been filled with excitement, stress, and anticipation of what the future would bring. The day is now here and you wonder why you ever encouraged her to go away to college. She may not say it, but she is most likely terrified of leaving home and wonders how she will be able to live apart from you. Emotions transition from anticipation to dread to sadness as you drop her off at college and say goodbye.

All the questions

Although it’s hard for the student, it’s incredibly hard for parents. How do you say goodbye? How do you let go after 18 years of nurturing? How can you possibly tell her everything she needs to know? How will she survive without your constant supervision?

If you’ve done your job, and I’m sure you have, she’s ready. She knows how to make the right choices. She knows how to study, stay organized, and set priorities. She knows how to take care of herself and how to ask for help if she needs it. And most importantly, she knows she can call home anytime for your love and support. She will be on her own, but your words and everything she knows about life are imbedded in her mind and when she needs them, she can pull them up at a moment’s notice.

Both my son and daughter can attest to that fact. There were numerous times that they heard my voice say, “Think before you act, make study a priority, and choose your friends wisely.”

Preparing for the inevitable

The last few months have been hard. Tempers have most likely flared. You’ve been frustrated with her lack of concern about preparation. You haven’t understood why she has been pulling away from the family at times. These are all part of her growing independence and her preparation for living on her own. But as much as she pulls away, she still needs you.

Before you leave for college, find a time to discuss how you want to handle move-in day. Does she want you to help move in and leave? Will she need help unpacking or does she want to do it herself? Does she want to have dinner and then say goodbye? Since emotions will run high, it’s best to make a plan in advance, mostly for your sake. If you know what to expect, you will be able to prepare and you won’t feel rejected when she says a quick goodbye.

Saying goodbye

Remember that Parents Weekend is coming up. It won’t be long before you see her again. Don’t make this an overly-emotional goodbye and cry buckets of tears in front of her. If you must, do it in the car on the drive home (that’s what I did). She will already be stressed and overwhelmed with the whole scenario. The last thing she needs is for you to make it difficult for her to say goodbye.

Your heart will break. A part of you is leaving and moving on to adulthood. It’s normal for you to feel all the emotions you are feeling. Just feel them after you say goodbye.

This too shall pass

These were four of my mother’s favorite words. She was right. Time heals and watching her grow, mature, and move toward her future eases the pain of loss. Phone calls, texts, and visits help both of you transition gradually and before long, she will be home for the winter break and the summer.

Only a mother knows how hard this day is. Only a mother feels that loss and emptiness when they wave goodbye and you drive away. Only a mother knows that life has changed forever in your home and in your family. But be encouraged, you are not alone. There are millions of others who have felt what you are feeling and understand your pain. Reach out to them and seek comfort. Believe me, it will help just being able to share your emotions with someone who knows what you are feeling.

Here’s a great group that has helped so many moms deal with this transition:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/universityparent/

Join it, read the past posts, and start talking. Saying goodbye to your college bound teen doesn’t have to be the end, it’s just the beginning.

For more insight into the goodbye perspective, read Wendy’s post:

The College-bound Goodbye Perspective

Scholarship Friday: $1000 From Wells Fargo CollegeSTEPS

Students are always looking for “easy” ways to earn money for college. In 2013, the Wells Fargo CollegeSTEPS Sweepstakes awarded 600 students $1000 to help them pay for college.

Whether you’re planning for college or already there, sign up for the CollegeSTEPS® program today for tools, tips, and a chance to win $1,000. Once you sign up, we’ll email you helpful information on topics like study tips, securing financial aid, and managing your money. Sweepstakes is subject to the full Official Rules. To sign up and for full rules and details go to: wellsfargo.com/collegesteps

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. Sweepstakes runs on www.wellsfargo.com/collegesteps from 12:00 a.m. Central Time (“CT”) on 8/14/14 to 11:59 p.m. CT on 8/13/15 (“Promo Period”). Open to full or part-time students who are in an accredited secondary or post-secondary educational institution or program (including, but not limited to, high school, college, university or trade school, or are home schooled in an accredited program) and are legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia born on or before 12/31/00. All eligible students who enrolled in Wells Fargo’s CollegeSTEPS® program between 8/6/10 and 8/13/14 will be automatically entered in the 2014/2015 sweepstakes without having to re-enroll. A total of (160) $1,000 prizes will be awarded – (80) to high school students and (80) to college students during the Promo Period – 40 prizes per each of four drawings. Odds to win depend upon the total number of CollegeSTEPS program enrollments received at the time of each drawing. Sweepstakes subject to full Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

This is a #paid post

Is Your Student Considering a Career in Nursing?

 

nursingObamacare is changing the face of healthcare, and with it the nursing profession. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering this field.

LPN

An LPN is one of the most widely-recognized types of nursing degrees out there. LPNs are licensed practical nurses and perform a variety of tasks under supervision of an RN. They administer medication to patients, check vitals, and give injections. They can also take blood.

RN

A registered nurse, or “RN,” is what you probably think of when you think of a nurse. It’s an individual with an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. They often assist physicians in hospitals and have extensive job responsibilities that can include management. But, they are also responsible for hands-on care of patients.

Clinical Specialist

A clinical nurse specialist is an advanced practice nurse. This type of nurse is proficient in diagnosing and treating illnesses within a specialized niche. These types of degrees are available through online colleges in Florida or specialized nursing schools.

A clinical nurse can focus on patients and families, staff management, or administration. They are often placed in leadership roles because of their extensive medical knowledge.

Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner might work under the supervision of a doctor, but more and more of them are becoming autonomous and taking on the role of a physician. NPs can diagnose and treat diseases, prescribe medicine, and initiate treatment plans for patients. This is basically the nurse equivalent of a medical doctor.

Nurse Case Manager

A nurse case manager coordinates long-term care for elderly or disabled patients who need long-term skilled nursing care.

They often choose to specialize in treating people with diseases like cancer or the elderly.

PhD

Getting your PhD in nursing almost always means you’re headed into teaching or some kind of educational role. A PhD in nursing is heavy on theoretical knowledge, but also allows a nurse to gain a deeper understanding of the practical application of the nursing profession.

Travel Registered Nurse

This type of nurse works in temporary jobs across the country or in foreign countries, sometimes for weeks at a time, and even years at a time. Travel nurses may perform many of the same duties as a traditional RN, but often work for an agency that needs to supplement core staff at a facility.

Staff Nurse

A staff nurse works in a variety of different settings, including rehab centers psychiatric wards, ICUs and critical care, and outpatient facilities. They often provide direct care to patients and administer medications, perform IV therapy and assist LPNs and RNs.

Emergency Room/Triage Nurse

This type of nurse treats patients in an ER, and often works with trauma victims, though many types of individuals enter an ER and a triage nurse needs to be quick on his or her feet in order to address emergency and life-threatening situations. The job is stressful, but the pay is commensurate. If you don’t mind working in constant chaos, this job is for you.

______________________________

Audrey Lovett works in a senior role involved with medical recruitment. She likes to be able to share her insights and experiences with an online audience. Her thoughts have been published across a variety of different websites.

Scholarship Friday: My Best 3 Tips for Finding Scholarships

 

tips for finding scholarshipsA mom on Twitter asked me where to start searching for scholarship money. It’s hard to answer that question in 140 characters, but as I was crafting the tweet, I realized there are three basic tips for finding scholarships:

1. Search locally

The best place and the easiest place to find scholarships is to search locally. Not only is it an easy search, but the odds of winning are far greater since there is a much smaller applicant pool. Check with your local librarian for a list of organizations that offer scholarships. Watch the news and read the paper for scholarship award announcements and winners.

2. Ask your high school counselor

Counselors have multiple scholarships come across their desk on a daily basis. You can check the school website as well. But don’t just stop there. Look at other high school websites in your area for scholarship postings.

3. Follow my blog and READ my Scholarship Friday posts

Most every week I provide scholarship search tips and often scholarship awards on my blog. You can also do a search for “scholarships” and find websites that can help you with your scholarship search.

But, don’t stop there. Get on social media! Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook are great resources for locating scholarship money.