Vicki Nelson, College Parent Central Founder/Editor
Vicki has nearly forty years of experience in higher education as a college professor, academic advisor, speech coach, and administrator. She has also weathered the college parenting experience successfully with her three daughters—all now graduated and married.
Vicki began her website, College Parent Central, in 2009, to help college parents navigate the delicate balance of support, guidance, appropriate involvement, and knowing when to get out of the way. She also co-hosts the College Parent Central podcast.
Vicki lives in the Boston area and teaches Communication at Curry College in Milton, MA. When she isn’t at school or writing, you will find Vicki playing flute in a local orchestra, cooking, kayaking, or in her favorite role of “Gram.”
Dr. Lynn Abrahams, College Parent Central Contributor
Dr. Abrahams is a professor in the Program for the Advancement of Learning at Curry College in Milton, MA. She is the co-creator of the College Parent Central podcast and has worked with students with learning differences in post-secondary education for 30 years. She has studied the neurodevelopment of students with learning differences in multiple contexts: alternative high schools, correctional settings, and community colleges.
Lynn’s interests include investigating how college students with language-based learning differences develop a separate identity in relation to changing family relationships. She has also examined the particular experience of multilingual, multicultural, and international post-secondary students who have learning differences. And she has explored best practices for supporting students and families transitioning into the college environment.
Dr. Abrahams has two sons and has experienced being a college parent with both of them.
Questions Answered Today:
What’s the main thing that parents need to understand as they’re sending their student off to school?
One common mistake that happens with families is that they fail to explore options and miss one of the most critical parts of pursuing education. Therefore, it’s imperative that parents have a conversation with your student because there’s more than one path to choose from. After high school, they have so many choices, such as:
- Taking a gap year
- Going to community college first and then transferring
- Going to a big university
- Going to a small, liberal arts college.
Knowing what the student wants is critical, as each student is different.
Choosing the best route begins with figuring out what the student really wants and who they really are. Questions such as the following should help:
- What do you want to do?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your dreams?
- What makes you comfortable?
- What makes you uncomfortable?
“Talk to your kids. Find out what they want to do, find out what their strengths are, find out what their dreams are… because every single kid is different.”— Lynn Abrahams
What’s the role of parents when there’s trouble?
Your student is more resilient than you think! Your role when your student is in high school changes as they move to college. Instead of being the problem solver, you need to step aside and empower them to fix their own mess and make their own decisions.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be completely out of the picture. Instead, you can have a coach-like relationship with your student and can be on their side, asking them questions that could lead to solutions rather than giving them the solution.
Here are some questions that could help:
- Have you done/tried this?
- Have you thought about this?
- Have you talked to this person?
- What if you took a break?
- Wow, that sounds like a real challenge. What do you think you’re going to do?
College, most of the time, is not a place for you to barge in and bring your lawyer with you.
Vicki and Lynn’s website, College Parent Central, has tons of resources with tips and strategies to help parents when their kid is in trouble. For more information on this topic, check out their page on what to do When There’s Trouble.
What is FERPA and why should parents care?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of students’ records. Only when the student waives this can parents have complete access to the student’s academic and financial records. Otherwise, the student has sole access to their:
- Academic requirements
It could be a hard pill to swallow, especially if you bear the financial responsibility of sending your kid to college. But trusting your student to become independent in college teaches them to be fully responsible and accountable for their actions.
With that, a student fully surrendering this responsibility may not always be a good sign. Sometimes, they just need to feel supported, which is understandable. But sometimes it could be because they don’t want to bear the responsibility of constantly checking their emails and relaying any important message (e.g. when it’s time to pay a bill).
Important: Colleges, whether or not a student signed a FERPA waiver, should still notify parents in times of any crisis that jeopardizes the student’s health and safety.
What can parents do to help their students become well-prepared in college?
There are families who help their students prepare for college in the late stage, and there are those who plan much earlier, such as in middle school. For Vicki, it can never be too early to prepare. College preparation can start earlier than you think. It doesn’t have to be grand, but it has to be gradual and consistent.
Vicki and Lynn shared some pointers that can be helpful for parents:
1. Create an environment where your student can make mistakes and learn.
As an example, if your student has trouble doing something small but important, then maybe it would be a good idea for them to do trial and error to start doing things on their own. You could apply this in simple tasks such as:
- Waking up in the morning
- Making a doctor’s appointment
- Getting their own medications
- Doing their laundry
- Being conscious of what they eat (e.g. eating something nutritious and knowing that it’s not okay to eat ice cream thrice a day).
2. Teach your student how to communicate properly.
Because it seems trivial, there are students who won’t even know how to construct a proper email. Vicky and Lynn, who are both in higher education, can attest to this.
Therefore, as parents, it might be a great idea to coach your kid on proper communications, especially in a professional manner. It could be:
- Writing an email with proper introduction and ending
- Talking to a professor in person
- Talking to a professor over the phone
3. Do not write your student’s essays.
College admissions officers would know when parents write essays on their student’s behalf. So make sure to guide your student, but don’t do it for them.
Giving your student an opportunity to do things on their own teaches them to be accountable, and it teaches them that there could be consequences if they don’t fulfill their responsibility. The goal is to help them grow into a responsible adult.
For parents, it could be really scary to let go of their kids. But if this is done in little steps and if it’s not forced, then the transition becomes much smoother and seamless. Both the parents and the student can be confident that whatever comes the student’s way, they’d be smart enough to handle things on their own.
“Often what we see is when students struggle, it’s not the academic work, it’s not that they’re not able to do the work. It’s life that gets in the way of them being able to function.”— Vicki Nelson
How about for college students who live at home? How do I deal with them?
The biggest challenge that parents of this kind of student often face is that they tend to just continue things that they used to do without showing growth.
For Vicki, here are some things that certainly need to be addressed in order to help them slowly detach and be on their own:
- How are things going to be different now that you’re not a high school student anymore?
- What’s going to be different about how you do your work?
- What do I expect you to do? Do I expect you to continue to function as part of the family?
- Do you still have a curfew?
- Do you have to report to me when and how are you going to do your work?
- Are you going to stay overnight with friends?
Today, I’d like to recommend the College Parent Central website. I think it’s a great resource that offers lots of information for parents.
Once you’re on the home page, you’d see tabs that will lead you to the different types of resources that they offer, which includes these sections:
- New College Parent
- When There’s Trouble
- Future College Parents
- Resources and Help
- Gift Suggestions
- A search box where you could use keywords to find what you’re looking for
- And more.
I especially recommend that you visit the section When There’s Trouble, as it talks about things that are helpful for students who are struggling. It discusses things such as:
- Transferring schools
- Taking a year off
- Other options when students are struggling in school.
One of the resources there that I find fascinating is their e-book called 60 Practical Tips for Using the High School Years to Prepare Your Student for College Success. It’s not overwhelming at all. It’s about 30 pages. You can pick the most important tips and start implementing them right away and then come back later. It’s divided by chapters:
Chapter 1 – High School Curriculum
Chapter 2 – Preparing Emotionally
Chapter 3 – Financial Knowledge (e.g. credit card talk and discussing living expenses, etc.)
Chapter 4 – Managing Life
Chapter 5 – Looking Ahead to Next Steps
Chapter 6 – Two Final Questions
Each of these topics would have a sentence or two describing it, and then about a paragraph that provides a little more information.
Make sure to pay this website a visit—I’m sure you’ll pick up a thing or two!
Links and Resources
Helpful Articles and Resources
- Taming The High Cost Of College
- The College Parent Central Podcast
- College Parent Central – Website
- Vicki and Lynn’s Contact Info:
- Vicki’s LinkedIn
- Lynn’s LinkedIn
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Brad Baldridge 0:00
Tools and information for the future college parents.
You have kids that grow up and before you know it, it's time to plan for college. Where do you start? How much is it going to cost? Will you qualify for financial aid? Should you be looking into scholarships? When will you be able to retire? What about student loans? The list of questions is never-ending. The good news is all the answers are right here. Welcome to the Taming the High Cost of College podcast. Here is your host, certified financial planner, Brad Baldridge.
Brad Baldridge 0:33
Hello, and welcome to Taming the High Cost of College. I'm your host Brad Baldridge. Today's interview is with Vicki Nelson and Dr. Lynn Abrahams. They are the founder and podcast co-hosts at collegeparentcentral.com. So College Parents Central has a lot of great resources. And they talk a lot about what it's like to be a college parent and give you advice for challenges that college parents might have to deal with. And they also have a couple of sections around new college parent and future college parents. And they have a whole bunch of podcasts as well where you can download and learn about other authors and great other information around being a college parent. As always, our show notes are available at our website at tamingthehighcostofcollege.com. We appreciate any reviews you can give us wherever you're getting your podcast. Alright, let's go ahead and jump into the interview. Today I'm talking with Vicki Nelson and Dr. Lynn Abrahams. They are the co-host of College Parent Central. Welcome Vicki, and welcome, Lynne.
Lynn Abrahams 1:39
Nice to be here.
Vicki Nelson 1:41
Thank you. It's good to be with you.
Brad Baldridge 1:43
So tell us a little bit more about how college parents central came about both the website and the podcast and a little bit of your history because I think I find a little fascinating. So I don't know who has to go first. But jump right in there.
Vicki Nelson 1:58
I will start since I started the podcast. And then I'm going to let Lynn talk about the, I mean, since I started the website, and then I'm gonna let Lynn talk about the podcasts since she joined me for that. And I started College Parent Central back in 2009. Really, after Lynn and I were doing a series of workshops for parents at our institution, and we were doing that because our kids were starting to go to college. And we were overwhelmed by the process. So much to keep track of, so much to understand, so many forms, all of that. And we said we work in higher education, and we're overwhelmed by this process. What must it be like for people who don't understand this world? So we started doing some workshops for parents at orientation and some of the events at our school. And then an outgrowth of that was the website, to try to provide some of that information for a wider range of parents. It's basically an informational website. And that chugged along for a while. And then a few years ago, I began doing a little arm twisting on Lynn. And she joined the podcast.
Lynn Abrahams 3:17
I wasn't sure at first.
Brad Baldridge 3:21
Lynn Abrahams 3:23
So and I am a learning disability specialist. I work with college students and their families. So this is what I've been doing my entire career. And then I got to the point also where when my kids went to college, I was overwhelmed. And so as Vicki said, that's when we started our workshops. And then we decided to do the podcast. It has been really fun talking about, talking to parents, about all the issues that come up in terms of parenting, college students, and the differences between parenting high school students and college students. So this has been quite an adventure. And I'm glad I said yes to Vicki.
Vicki Nelson 4:12
So am I. It's been interesting because we bring these were both in higher education, but slightly different roles. Lynn works with students with learning disabilities. And then I'm a professor of communication. And I also served for several years as Director of Academic Advising. So we have that and then we have our experiences with our kids. And we tell stories about them, which they're still talking to us. So I guess that's okay. And then the other thing, of course, is we've had the wonderful opportunity of like you, Brad, of talking to all kinds of people and interviewing and we learn more all the time too.
Brad Baldridge 4:55
Right? Absolutely. So I guess one of the things that I've noticed out there is in the media and that type of thing. They try and boil college down to generic statements like, 'Well, everybody should get a college education,' which is okay. But college is very different for different people, they have different goals, it could be community college all the way up to an elite college. And a typical politician or whatever that speaking, doesn't spend the time to talk about all the variability and all the gray areas and all that kind of stuff. So just interesting that you guys talk about one of view works with the learning disabilities. And that's one end of the spectrum all the way up to the crazy competitive schools out there. What do you guys see out there as I guess, what parents generally don't know or understand as they're sending their students off to school.
Lynn Abrahams 5:56
I'm going to start in first, Vicki, if that's okay. There are so many choices, as you mentioned, going from taking a year off to deciding maybe college is not the right environment, or doing the community college first and then transferring, or, you know, shooting for the the college of your dreams. So there are so many choices, and so many different students with different abilities and skills and strengths. And so I think, one of the messages to parents, is talk to your kids find out what they want to do, find out what their strengths are, find out what their dreams are. Because every single kid is different. I mean, I have two sons, and they were both totally different. So so the first message is talk to your kids, and figure out, you know, what are some of the choices?
Brad Baldridge 6:53
Vicki Nelson 6:55
And I think that idea of choices is, is so important, because there are so many colleges out there, and so many of them that are excellent schools that no one has heard of. And so you're doing doing your homework in terms of understanding the choices as well. And we hear a lot, I think these days about fit, and students finding the college, that's the right fit for them. And for some students, that's the university of 30,000. And for some students, that's a very small, liberal arts college, or it may be a community college. And really, one of the things I think the parents perhaps, don't think about as much, and it goes to what Lynn is saying about have talked to your student, is that finding the right college really begins with the student doing some work on figuring out who they are. And what it is that makes them tick a little bit what they what makes them comfortable, what makes them uncomfortable. Of course, asking, you know, an adolescent or teenager to get to know themselves is really is really a challenge. But but really thinking about what do I want? What do I need, and then really doing the homework of what's out there, that we do tend to paint college with one paintbrush, right, and also similar.
Brad Baldridge 8:34
Exactly. And I think that's where it implies that it's a commodity in some ways, where it's like, well, any college will do, because it's just a piece of paper you're after, or, and I think there's a lot more to it, as far as finding that good fit, not just for the student, but also for the parent and the pocketbook, that's the other piece of the puzzle.
Vicki Nelson 8:58
They need to work with you,
Brad Baldridge 8:59
Right? And that's, all that process, but so, you know, your target, you're College Parent Central on your website, you've got a whole category that says When There's Trouble. So let's talk a little bit about what the types of things are there. And then maybe we can talk about how to maybe not have to ever read this section.
Vicki Nelson 9:26
Well, I think it's impossible to anticipate whether or not you're going to have to read this section, I think. And I think that's perhaps one of the first and most important messages and that is that for many, many, many students, there will be trouble. It might be little trouble, it might be big trouble. And by trouble it can mean academic trouble. It can mean social trouble. It can mean health issues, it can be financial issues. There are all kinds of things that can go wrong. And I think one of the first things is realizing that the path through college isn't one straight shot straight through college, that it is a very one twisty, windy road for a lot of students, and for some there will be detours. I just had an email from a parent a couple of days ago, actually, 'My student is flunking out of college, what do I do?' And one of the first things when I responded was, it's not a dead end, it's a detour. And so recognizing that there's no shame, in the trouble and in the struggle. And for some students, it may mean, let's take a break. You know, I went to college, because that's what you do after high school, and everyone expected me to, and my heart's not in it. And so really thinking about what does it mean to be on academic probation? What does it mean to be dismissed? So a lot of the things in our section of the website are about, should you appeal or not appeal? Should you take a break? Should you transfer? Transfer, the number of students who transfer from one school to another is growing, growing, growing. So there are so many different paths and what is not right, and what is not wrong. But there's often a lot of struggle.
Brad Baldridge 11:35
Lynn Abrahams 11:36
And one of the things we talk about is the role of parents when there's trouble. Because when kids are in high school, we you know, we tend to kind of swoop in and try to fix some things. When they're in college, there's, that's a big shift. And now, parents role is to step on the sidelines and be more of a coach and let their kids ask questions and let their kids jump in and try to find out what to do and, and figure out what to do. Often our kids are way more resilient than we think.
Brad Baldridge 12:11
Lynn Abrahams 12:12
And so as a parent, it's it's hard to make that shift, though.
Vicki Nelson 12:16
And sometimes as a parent, it's asked, it's not giving the answer and fixing, but just asking questions. Have you done this? Have you thought about this? Have you talked to this person? What if, what if you took a break? You know, just prompting the student to think through what they want to do.
Brad Baldridge 12:36
Yeah, another great example, like, I can't remember where I saw it. I was reading a book or an article somewhere, but the parent question was, 'Wow, that sounds like a real challenge. What do you think you're gonna do?'
Lynn Abrahams 12:51
Brad Baldridge 12:53
Was the Parent Question of the Day, so to speak in that in that article. So, and that's a, I guess, a way to look at it. And again, I've, my wife's in higher education, too. So the other end of that coin is when the parents decide that they and their lawyer are going to get in there and help figure this out. So if you guys were in higher ed, I'm sure you've at least heard the horror stories of again, I would almost never recommend that. I don't think that ever ends well. But who knows.
Vicki Nelson 13:26
With or without the lawyer, it often doesn't end well of the parent who's who calls and says, I need to find I'm having trouble registering my student for classes. He can't get into this parent, you shouldn't be registering your student for classes. It shouldn't be parents who...
Brad Baldridge 13:44
Right. And that brings us to FERPA. Could you tell us a little bit about what FERPA is. I think there's a is it HIPAA? Is it almost exactly the same for healthcare?
Lynn Abrahams 13:56
Brad Baldridge 13:57
If HIPAA for health care, what's FERPA?
Vicki Nelson 14:01
FERPA is the, see of I get it right. Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act. I think that's right, or Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. And it it started to give parents of elementary school students and secondary school students the rights to see their students records. If my is in trouble in fourth grade, I want to see the records I'm allowed to do that. And that's I think, really how FERPA started. And then what happens is when a child, a student, goes off to college, that right to their educational records transfers to the students. So, you know for many parents in elementary school, middle school, high school, they're on their students portal, there's a parent portal, they can go in every day, they can see what the assignments are, they can see all the grades, anything happens at school, the first phone call is to the parents. And that's what we're used to. And then your student goes off to college and all that transfers to them. So now I, I can't call up the school and say, 'I want to see my students grades.' The financial piece goes along with that, too, right? So I, and some colleges now I think are sort of waiving that piece that they really will send the bill to the parents. But when my kids were in college, the bills went to them. And I used to have to say to them, 'You've got to check your email. And if there's a bill, you better send it to me.' Because otherwise, I don't know. So there are waivers that schools can have parents sign saying, the student signs saying 'I waive my rights, and allow my parents to see everything,' to see my grades and all of that. That may or may not be a good idea. I know Lynn likes to talk about that.
Brad Baldridge 16:18
Lynn Abrahams 16:19
Well, I think sometimes if we require our students to sign away all of that, it gives the message to students that we don't believe in them. And we don't think they'll be okay. I know, when my kids went to college, I said to them, 'I'm not going to require that you sign this, but if you don't tell me the truth, you're going to have to sign it,' you know? And, and that worked out. I know, the students that I work with, I work with a lot of students with neuro diverse students and who want their parents to be involved. So they will sign something because they want that support. There's also it's important to know that in terms of FERPA, if there's a crisis in any college campus, parents are going to be notified. If there's a medical crisis, if there's a you know. So yes, it's it's frustrating for parents that they can't call up and get the grades and get a lot of information about their son or daughter, but they will find out if there's a crisis.
Brad Baldridge 17:26
Right? I mean, it seems to be the general standpoint as well. And again, the typical college student is an adult, and...
Vicki Nelson 17:33
Brad Baldridge 17:34
Right. And well, according to the law, they're an adult, they now are entitled to privacy, and that their grades are their grades and their bills, and whatever is going on at the school is their business, not mom and dad's. And of course, most parents would say, but I'm paying for it. Yes, you are. But the college is stuck in the middle. So they've made some pretty clear lines and said, these are all privacy rights of the student. And if we can't just share that, no matter who's paying the bill, unless the student signs off in some form or another. And I think for some parents, that's a hard pill to swallow where it is. I just wrote a check for tens of 1000s of dollars. And now you're not going to tell me what's going on?
Lynn Abrahams 18:24
They're closing the door.
Brad Baldridge 18:26
But yes, that is the way it is.
Vicki Nelson 18:28
I think there's something that's interesting, because we've been in this world for a number of years. And back, you know, even in 2009, when we started College Parent Central, there was this image of helicopter parents, we still talk about that, the Black Hawk that swoops in or submarine parents that are under the surface and with the periscope checking and, and lawnmower parents. Oh, mow all the way, and all of this, but the image was of these helicopter parents who would swoop in and the student who was trying to fend them off, who didn't want. 'leave me alone. I'm an adult now.' And the parents were hovering. And I think I've seen a change.
Lynn Abrahams 19:21
Yeah. And students now want their parents involved and are unfortunately sometimes too willing to abdicate responsibility to their parents. So yeah, it's fine. I'll give you my email password. I'll give you my portal password. And you can check my email and you'll let me know if there's anything important that I need to know. So it really, the partnership is different, and I think we need to be careful instead of being all thrilled that, 'Oh good. My student is happy to let me in.' That may not be the best thing.
Brad Baldridge 20:04
Right. And I think there's a lot different, you know, a big difference between being involved in coaching and supporting, and doing, and, etc. where. And I think in some of your some of your articles, you even talk about, maybe high school is a good training ground for some of these things. Can you give some examples of what parents might do in high school so that they're a little more prepared for college?
Vicki Nelson 20:33
Yeah, I think we were always happy to talk about that. But you know, I think it's even, even middle school. I don't think it's too early. You know, Brad, I've heard you talk about in terms of financial planning, early planning, and late stage planning. And I think the same thing is true. In terms of preparing your student, there's that late stage, sort of scramble to make sure your student is ready. And sometimes that happens in the car on the way to move in day. And sometimes it's over that summer, all of a sudden, this summer, we've got to make sure because you're you're going but laying the groundwork in high school leg, the groundwork, even beginning in middle school is going to make the path a whole lot smoother and gradual. So yeah, there are a lot of little things. Lynn, you want to? I know you're like...
Lynn Abrahams 21:33
Sure, oh, there's so many things. But you know, the general idea is letting kids make mistakes. So for example, in high school, if your high school student and relies on you to wake them up to go to school, you may want to have a conversation with them and say, you know, when you go to college, you have to get yourself up, why don't we do this trial, where you're on your own, you're getting yourself up. And if they get up late, and they are late to school, there will there will be a consequence, but that's how they're going to get into that rhythm of taking care of it themselves. stuff, like having students make their own doctor's appointments. You know, my kids never made a doctor's appointment when they were in high school. And when they get to college, they have to call the clinic if they get sick, you know, doing stuff on their own were in high school, if they, if they mess up, it's not too bad. It's okay. You know, so you talk about it. But once they get to college, they have to do this stuff on their own getting their own medications, doing their own laundry, thinking about food, and what they eat and nutrition, because no one's going to tell them in college, that they should eat ice cream three times a day.
Vicki Nelson 21:36
Learning how to write a decent email with a greeting and an ending. A number of times, it's sort of a standard joke among faculty that we get the 'Hey, Prof' email...
Lynn Abrahams 23:05
Yeah, I get that
And all in text speak and all of that. So writing an email, how to talk to someone like a professor, students are scared to come to our offices, because they they're not comfortable having a conversation, they would rather text us, or, I mean, they think our emails are old fashioned, but send an email or text us or something, but the idea of picking up a phone and calling or coming in and having a conversation, parents can coach students, here's what to expect and and here's how to be professional and if you have to go talk to a professor about an assignment or something, here's what you want to take with you. And here's how to ask some questions. Just just those really looking at what happens all day, every day with your student and thinking, what can I hand off?
Brad Baldridge 24:06
Lynn Abrahams 24:06
And know that making mistakes is okay, that's how we learn this, this this thing about failure that there's all this hype around we're not, we're supposed to be perfect. And that's just not human to be perfect, and everybody makes mistakes. So that's a good thing to talk about with your kids.
Vicki Nelson 24:26
Right? And the scary time to let go. When I would say you don't want this to be the first time you say I'm going to step back and let you take charge is the college application process. Because you know, yes, they need to be the driver and but they will need guidance and they will need help and and all but that's not you can't do it for them. We can tell message to parents, colleges, college admissions offices can tell when the parent has written the essay.We know that. So it's not where you want to do, you want to, you want to guide. But if that's the first time you're trying to step back, it's really, really difficult.
Brad Baldridge 25:15
Right. And I see a lot of parents very, in that regard. It's one of those challenges of, you know, there's certainly a lot of students that will just excel at it and just take charge and get it done and do really well. But I have many parents that say, 'Well, I still got to be pretty involved, because they're not going to get all seven things on the checklist done in a timely manner. So I'm gonna have to manage at least manage the checklist with them and that kind of stuff.' So I think there's some sort of balance of what works for some students doesn't work for others, right. And that's anybody that has multiple kids eventually realizes that, kids are different, and there's different rules and that type of thing.
Vicki Nelson 25:58
But, you know, the choice of words matters. I'm a communication professor. And what you said is, you have to manage the checklist with them. And that's very different than managing the checklist for them.
Brad Baldridge 26:11
Right? Absolutely. Right.
Lynn Abrahams 26:13
That's why parents can frame it differently and think differently,
Brad Baldridge 26:17
Right. And I think that should, in my opinion, you know, my wife, and I would always joke in middle school, you get that email about homework, and it's like, well, why are they sending me information about homework, I don't do homework. You still send me an email when I have to take the cell phone away. Other than that, I don't want to hear about homework. Right? I mean, that's, that was my opinion. And I told my kids that it's like, they might be sending me emails about stuff you're supposed to do. I delete them. I'm not gonna chase you around to figure out if you've done your homework. I'm just gonna take your cell phone away when it isn't done. And, you know, that's the way I, I handled it.
Vicki Nelson 26:59
Well, and they're learning consequences, right? I can do what I want. Right? Nobody's looking over my shoulder, checking the email. But there will be consequences.
Lynn Abrahams 27:10
Brad Baldridge 27:10
Lynn Abrahams 27:11
If it comes to that
Brad Baldridge 27:12
Exactly. And I think that's where, you know, transitioning from, yes, you mentioned the alarm clock idea, and so forth, where maybe in seventh grades, you set your alarm to just to make sure that, you know, but in eighth grade, you just skip it and that type of thing. But
Lynn Abrahams 27:29
So it's all about these little steps, you know, and the goal is that our kids grow into adults. Yes, that's the goal, that they are independent adults, but little tiny steps forward are is the way to go. Not big, huge things.
Vicki Nelson 27:33
And if you've done those little tiny steps, as a parent, you have so much more confidence when you send your student off to college, and so many of us are terrified when we send our student off, you know, what are they going to do? Are they going to be able to handle themselves? Are they going to be able to do the academic work are they going to, and if you have some confidence that you have seen them demonstrate some of this independence, some of these life skills, then you're a little less nervous, sending them off to school. Students, you know, we talked earlier about students who struggle. And so often what we see, when students struggle, it's not the academic work. It's not that they're not able to do the work. It's life that gets in the way of them being able to function.
Brad Baldridge 28:43
Right. Yeah. And I guess I see that a lot as well in working with parents. I think the other thing again, is there's a wide swath of students out there, so the student that's going to live at home and go to the local community college because they're not ready to go far and wide. It's kind of a different process than we're flying across the country and looking at schools in 10 states. And when they're gone off to college, they're going to be 1000 miles away, and they can call me but I've been that much I'm able to do about whatever problem they've encountered. So we got to have them a little better trained and understanding what their options are, etc.
Vicki Nelson 29:29
But you know, there's a challenge, a different kind of a challenge when your student is living at home. So the student who graduates from high school and then is going to live at home. Parents have a challenge of how to help that student begin to detach, begin to let go. It it's so easy to just continue the way you've been doing things. Now instead of going off to the high school they're going off to the community college, but we continue to function the same way. So I think parents who have students who are going to live at home, really need to talk to that student about how are things going to be different to you're not a high school student anymore, you're a college student? What's going to be different about how you do your work about what I expect you to do? Do I expect you to continue to function? is part of the family. Do you still have a curfew? Do you have to report to me when and how are you going to do your work? Are you going to stay overnight with friends on there? There are so many other issues and challenges that parents who have students who are living at home face as well.
Brad Baldridge 30:45
Yes. And then so I have a high school. I have high school kids yet. I also have a college freshman, who is now home for the first summer. So that's kind of a bit of a transition now to where, you know, he spent the last school year with nobody telling him when he has to go eat or whatever it is. And he struggled a little bit was well, dinner's at seven, be here. No, I mean, when I go to the commons, I can go anywhere in between five and eight, and I can get dinner. And it's like, yes, but here dinner's at 7. So or if we're not, you know, we're not able to get it done, done the table at seven, it'll be at eight. And you're just gonna have to live with that. And some of those things. But yeah, so there's a lot of great information on your website and your podcast. So let's talk a little bit about that. Because I think that's one of the challenges of learning some of this in general is okay, I've, we've scratched the surface on a couple of these things, I need to dive into, you know, again, something that caught someone's attention on this podcast. So can you tell us about your website and podcast and what's there and who it's for and what they might gain from it?
Vicki Nelson 32:00
Sure, well, let me talk about the website. And then Lynn can talk about the podcast. As I said, the website is an informational website. That's the whole purpose of it, to help parents have the information that's going to help them we believe that information is empowering, and understanding your role, understanding how it's different. So the website has categories. One thing to do is look at the categories that are there and say, 'Well, okay, my student is transitioning to college, I might want to start with those articles, or my student is struggling, I don't need to worry about transition right now I just have to look at that. My student is graduating, I just found this website, and I have a student who's graduating from college, what should I be thinking about? What should I do?' So if parents have a specific need to go to those categories. Otherwise, it's really just sort of browse and and see, you can do a search, I have a specific question and do that. Try to include everything from what can you do in high school? To help them prepare? What should you be thinking about in that transition? That really tough summer between high school and college? And and how that that late stage planning, what do we do there? Now my student has gone off to college? What should I be thinking about in that first year? What might be going on? What happens in sophomore year to just do a search on the website for sophomore and talking about sophomore slump and sophomore challenges and so you know, to look at categories and browse to look for a specific thing and and see what you need and, and what's going to be helpful. And then the podcast.
Lynn Abrahams 34:09
Podcast, the podcast is available wherever you get your podcasts. And you could also find it on our website. We put out a podcast every two weeks. We cover some of the similar topics. We are talking to parents about how to parent college students, but it starts earlier than college. The shifts start earlier. And in addition, we have had the honor to interview a number of writers who have put out fabulous books on the topic. So definitely check our podcast for some of the best stuff out there. Best authors out there deal with things from you know, college health to finances to emotional, mental health issues, addiction. So the interviews are have been really, really fun to do. So just check us out.
Brad Baldridge 35:11
All right. And again, that is at collegeparentcentral.com.
Vicki Nelson 35:15
Lynn Abrahams 35:15
Brad Baldridge 35:15
And the podcast is called College Parent Central podcast.
Lynn Abrahams 35:24
We tried to keep it simple.
Brad Baldridge 35:27
Okay, well, I really do appreciate you guys spending the time with us. And a lot of good tips there. And again, a ton more on your website and in your podcasts. So I appreciate it. And we'll stay in touch.
Lynn Abrahams 35:39
Thank you so much for having us.
Thanks, it's a pleasure.
Brad Baldridge 35:43
All right, that was a great interview. Hopefully you learned as much as I did. I appreciate Vicki and Lynn giving us all this great information. Stay tuned for Brad Recommends, I'll talk a little bit more about their website, I am recommending you go check it out, and perhaps their book as well.
The latest tips, tricks and tools you can use today. This is Brad Recommends on Taming the High Cost of College.
Brad Baldridge 36:08
Today, I'm recommending that you check out College Parent Central. We just had an interview with the authors and there's a lot of great information on this website. They have sections called New College Parent, When There's Trouble, Future College Parents, Resources and Help, Give Suggestions, and there's a lot of things that you can search for. And then it's relatively well-organized so you can find some of the stuff that you're interested in learning more about. They also have an e-book, if you're wanting to buy the ebook. It's 60 Practical Tips for Using the High School Years to Prepare Your Student for College Success. That's another great tool, I did buy it and download it, and it's about 30 pages long, it's not overwhelming. It's nice because it has again, the kind of the 60 tips where you can quickly go through and pick the 10 or 20 tips that are most important to you and start implementing them. And then come back six months or a year later and see if there's other tips that might be appropriate. Now in the book, the information is organized by chapter as well. So Chapter 1 is High School Curriculum. Chapter 2, Preparing Emotionally, 3 is Financial Knowledge, 4 is Managing Life, 5 is Looking Ahead to Next Steps. And then 6 is Two Final Questions. So each of these topics has typically a sentence or two describing it, and then maybe a paragraph that gives you a little more information. So as an example, in Financial Knowledge, it talks about have the credit card talk and discuss realistic living expenses, understanding how a credit report works, and the implications of that. So there's a lot of different, quick tips that many families can use as you're preparing your student to get ready for college, and all the things around life and finances and all the different categories we just mentioned. So a lot of this information, of course, is also in the blog and on the website, in various articles as well. And when there's trouble was, of course, an area that I haven't seen other places where it talks about things like transferring schools or taking a year off, or other options when students are struggling in school or have other problems. Well, go ahead and check out the website. Again, it's collegeparentcentral.com. And that's all we have for you today. I look forward to talking to you next week.
Thank you for listening to the Taming the High Cost of College podcast. Now it's time for you to take action. Head to tamingthehighcostofcollege.com for show notes, bonus content and to leave feedback for Brad. The next step on your college journey starts now. Brad Baldridge is a registered representative of Cambridge investment research and an Investment Advisor Representative of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, a registered investment advisor. Securities are offered through Cambridge Investment Research Incorporated, a broker dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC. Brad owns two companies, Baldridge Wealth Management and Baldridge College Solutions. The Baldridge companies are not affiliated with Cambridge Investment Research.
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