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College Parent Central Podcast

Author: Vicki Nelson and Lynn Abrahams

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You don’t stop parenting the day you drop your student off to college on Move-in Day. Your role simply changes. (Actually, it’s not simple at all, but it changes.) You’re a parent for life. Join Lynn Abrahams and Vicki Nelson, higher education professionals and former college parents, as they explore the topics that can help you be a more effective and supportive parent to your college bound student. Whether you already have a child in college, college is still a year or more away, or your student is about to step out, start now to gather the information that empowers you to be an effective college success coach to your student.
56 Episodes
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In this podcast Vicki and Lynn followed up on an earlier episode about professionalism by talking about some of the practical things that students can do during their college years to prepare for career. Students who start early and think about all of their college experiences as preparation for the world of work, will have an advantage. We discuss characteristics that will set students apart as well as how to learn and practice a professional ethic in and outside of the classroom. We consider how parents can support – or sometimes hinder – their student’s professional growth and career development.
As Season 2 comes to a close, Vicki and Lynn review the past year on the College Parent Central Podcast. It’s been a full year of interviews, trends, important topics, and a few milestones. Join the hosts as they reflect on the past year and preview a new season of the podcast in 2022.
The ever-lengthening road from adolescence to adulthood has impacted students’ preparation for their professional lives. College provides the ideal environment for students to experiment with and practice those skills that will help them advance their future careers. In this episode Lynn and Vicki use Jeffrey Selingo’s book There Is Life After College as a framework for discussing how students approach this task of career preparation and how they can maximize their college experiences with their future career in mind. This episode encourages parents to be patient and to continue to help their student clarify what will be required of them as they move into the ever-changing professional world.
This is a sensitive and important issue for anyone who has a student living on a college campus. Susan Sorenson, author of the book After Campus Sexual Assault: A Guide for Parents, and professor at the University of Pennsylvania joins us to discuss how students, parents, and colleges deal with sexual misconduct. Susan shares advice on how parents can talk to their student before college as well as how to respond if their student shares information about something that has happened. Despite the difficult topic, this episode reminds us that as parents we all “fiercely love our kids” and want the best for them. 
20-50% of students enter college undecided about a major. That’s a lot of students! In this episode Vicki and Lynn unpack some of the reasons students may not be ready to make a decision, some myths about undecided students, and some of the questions parents can ask to help their student take control of the process of exploring options. Being an exploratory student may be the best option for some and will help relieve a bit of the pressure on students to make this decision before they are ready. 
We were joined in this episode by Amanda Morin, author of Adulting Made Easy: Things Someone Should Have Told You About Getting Your Gown-up Act Together.  Amanda shared with us why the skills she includes in her book are so important for this generation of students. We covered a host of topics including how to engage in small talk, how to register to vote, how to find the right fire extinguisher for your first apartment and how to zip up a dress if you live alone. Parents and students will both learn new things in Amanda’s book and will definitely enjoy hearing her share her story in this episode.
We’re thrilled to be celebrating the 50th episode of the College Parent Central Podcast! We hope we’ve shared helpful information, advice and support in our first 50 episodes. We had fun brainstorming 50 helpful tips for parents and students to celebrate our 50th episode. They range from “Go to Class” (for students) to “Don’t Call Professors” (for parents.) Find the suggestions that speak to you and your student and see how many you can practice right now. Thanks for joining us on the journey so far!  We look forward to our next 50 episodes!
Sophomore and Junior years make up half of your student’s time in college. Yet these years don’t often get the attention that those transitional first and last years receive.  In this episode, Lynn and Vicki explore the unique nature of each of these middle years and discuss the challenges and the growth that your student may face and how parents can best support them.
In this podcast episode we had an opportunity to talk with Laurie Hazard and Stephanie Carter, about their book Your Freshman Is Off to College: A Month by Month Guide to the First Year. This book should be on every new college parent’s bookshelf.  Laurie and Stephanie highlight information about healthy transitions from high school to college, how to support students in their growing independence, and how parents can shift into their new coaching role. Listeners will not want to miss the wealth of knowledge and experience that these professionals share. 
So many mysterious terms and acronyms to understand when your student heads off to college! In this episode Vicki and Lynn define and discuss several of the insider terms that colleges use that may not be clear to parents. We cover topics from FERPA through disability laws, admission waitlists and various faculty roles. We’re only scratching the surface of this new language, but it should get you started being able to understand and Talk the Talk.
In this episode writer Marie Force shares the story of her son’s journey as he struggled with learning challenges throughout school. Now that Jake has graduated from college (with honors!) and is headed to graduate school, Marie recounts her personal journey as a parent. Marie’s story will inspire parents whose students might be struggling. Helping your student find their motivation and staying optimistic will be key.
In this final part of our summer college preparation series, Lynn and Vicki discuss how to support your student on Move-In Day and throughout their first six weeks on campus. Parents and students who are prepared for the emotional peaks and valleys of transitioning into the world of college, are better able to feel in control of their experiences. In this episode we offer suggestions for how to support your student on this exciting new journey.
Summer is a perfect time to begin conversations that will help both you and your student prepare for the transition to college.  From roommates to money to autonomy and independence, these conversations will help your student articulate both their concerns and expectations and help you get to know your student in a new way. Because Lynn and Vicki are both college professors we also leave parents with a homework checklist of tasks to complete before the summer ends.
So many decisions! The summer before college is filled with a flood of information, decisions to be made, and a roller coaster of emotions. In this episode, Lynn and Vicki share advice about what to expect during this crossroads summer. They suggest ways you can help your student organize their tasks and make important decisions about the fall.
The scholarship application process can feel overwhelming and complicated to many students and their parents. In this episode, scholarship coach Janet MacDonald shares some of the secrets to making this process more approachable and productive. She helps us understand when to start, what to do, how to get organized and how parents can best support their student. According to Janet, there are more scholarships available now for more types of students than ever before. If you have a student heading to college, this is information you need.
In this episode, Vicki and Lynn again share some of their favorite books for college parents. This time, we focus on Jessica Lahey and Julie Lythcott-Haims who have each written two books that are essential reading for parents. Whether your child is younger, or you have someone heading to college, you’ll find information, inspiration and support. After you listen to this episode, you’ll want to find a copy of The Gift of Failure, The Addiction Inoculation, How to Raise an Adult, and Your Turn:  How to Be an Adult. Happy reading!
The college journey actually begins in high school, so don’t wait until your student is in college to give them food for thought about the college experience. In this episode, Vicki and Lynn discuss some of their favorite books for you to share with your student. Reading these books will inspire students to take charge of the next step in their lives. Topics include making the most of your college experiences, understanding how your brain works, coping with health concerns on your own, and listening to advice from students who’ve gone before you. Several of these books will make ideal gifts for your high school or early college student (and don’t forget to sneak a read before you pass it along!).
It’s time to take a look at preparing our student for those first steps out of the door of college. Adulting means “behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.” Basically, it means being a grown-up.  College is the perfect time to work on those life skills that don’t necessarily come naturally when you graduate. In this episode, Lynn and Vicki talk about some of the ways that parents can help their student function successfully in the post-college world.  From concrete skills like laundry and finances, to abstract questions like “what gives my life meaning,” parents still have a role in supporting their student’s growth. 
We were honored to be able to spend some time talking with Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed,  about her new book The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence. Jessica’s new book weaves together her personal story about addiction with a tremendous amount of information about topics such as brain development, drinking culture, substance use disorder, and ways both parents and schools can approach this sensitive topic. The book contains suggestions and scripts for conversations with your kids from pre-school through elementary, middle and high school as well as college. With this book, parents will be armed with the information they need to talk to their kids about alcohol and drugs.
In this episode Adina Glickman, Founder of Affinity Coaching joins Vicki and Lynn to talk about her Resilient Learner Model and how she coaches college students to meet their full potential. Adina’s background in social work as well as her tenure as Director of Learning Strategies at Stanford University inform her holistic approach to building resilience in students. This episode highlights how parents can ask important questions to help their student craft individual strategies for academic and personal success. 
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