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Helpful Articles/Suggested Reading--College

Suggested Reading for Helping and Dealing With Your College Bound Student

  • Almost Grown: Launching Your Child From High School to College by Patricia Pasick
  • Campus Daze by George Gibbs
  • Don't Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years by Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller
  • Empty Nest, Full Heart: The Journey from Home to College by Andrea Van Steenhouse. Practical advice from a Mom and Ph.D.
  • I'll Miss You Too: The Off-to-College Guide for Parents and Students. By Margo Woodacre and Steffany Bane.
  • Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger.
  • Parents' Guide to College Life. By Robin Raskin.
  • The College Guide for Parents by Charles Shield (Published by the College Board)
  • When Your Kid Goes To College by Carol Barkin.
  • You're On Your Own: But I'm Here if You Need Me. By Marjorie Savage.

Advice for Parents on College Visits

On the National Association for College Admission Counseling Listserve, the following list was circulated with advice for parents regarding the campus visit. Suggestions were collected from college admission personnel across the country and condensed into the following list.

The Top Things for Parents NOT to Do During a College Tour/Interview/Visit

  • Don't use the royal "we." Don't say, "We want to attend your university next year," or other similar comments. Unless the parent is also submitting an application for himself/herself, all pronouns should indicate that the individual student is the one applying and hoping to attend. Ideally, I really believe the student should be the one asking the questions and initiating the conversations as well, although it is understandable that more introverted students often find this to be challenging. But that "we" pronoun is a pretty clear indicator that the student isn't really the one running the search!
  • Don't take calls or use your Blackberries, IPODs, etc. Don't take a phone call during an information session and/or campus tour and don't sit in an information session and do business on your Blackberry.
  • Don't speak for your student; especially while the child stands mutely aside. Do not sign in for your student in the Admissions Office, they should do it. Let your child be themselves. Parents should remember that, while they do need to gather some information, ownership of the process should belong to their children…therefore the impetus for asking questions and the responsibility for being themselves should fall on the students.
  • Don't embarrass your child publicly. Don't launch into a diatribe that includes listing every achievement the student has made in his/her life history (not only does this take up time unnecessarily, but it usually mortifies the student).
  • Don't come to the visit or even schedule a visit with a list of demands. It's okay to request to see a coach, faculty member, etc…most schools will do their best to accommodate, but please understand that faculty and coaches are typically busy - teaching and coaching and may not be available (or even allowed - NCAA regulations) when you are on campus.
  • Don't monopolize the conversation/tour/discussion session. Although it is clear that parents are invested in the child's future…it's their child's future. Being interested in and asking a few questions is great, but if a parents takes over a group tour with questions that are specific to only their child, the whole tour will take forever. Those kinds of questions should be asked of a counselor at a later date.
  • Don't go into an interview with your student to the Admissions Counselor/Officer/Coach unless you are invited in or unless you just plan to listen. Do not assume that they'll be part of an on-campus interview. Every school does it differently.
  • Don't whine, complain or be negative in public. Wait until you're in the car. Caution: Parents should be cautious about what they say about a college visit. If a parent speaks negatively about a school, a student might dig their heels and in say they are interested in the college, even if they initially were not interested or the opposite may occur.
  • Don't plan to do the application process for your child. Don't tell the Admissions Office that you are doing the application process for your child and do not turn in your own letter of recommendation.

A Few Suggestions about What to Do

  • DO remind your child about appropriate behavior and dress when on campus. Remember that the tour and discussion session are important pieces of the process and ones where behaviors can distinguish one, positively and negatively. * DO remind your child to turn his/her cell phone off!
  • DO give the college/university at least two weeks notice that you plan to visit. Surprise visits are usually not productive visits for you or the college.
  • DO try and visit when school is in session. While this isn't always possible, it can be very beneficial to visit a college or university when school is in session so that your student will get the feeling of what the campus is like with students there.
  • DO feel free to ask questions of a student on campus that is not a campus tour guide. Stop a student walking to class and ask them a question or to so as not to always get "canned" responses to your questions.
  • DO consider visiting a school more than once if your student really likes it. Your opinion of a school may change as you go through the process; you may find certain things are more or less important as time goes on.

Don't have the resources or time to visit a campus, many colleges offer virtual tours of their university on their website. A website that features video tours of a number of different colleges is