Monday, August 08, 2011

Talking with Your Kids About College: Five Questions and Two Great Books from Advice Columnist Harlan Cohen

Heading off to college can be a scary experience for both the student and his or her parents! It’s been a while since I went to college (okay, a long time!), and I can imagine that some things stay the same while others have changed a lot. Thankfully, there are two terrific books available from college expert Harlan Cohen that can answer many of the questions that both students and parents may have about attending college.

The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College

The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College

This book for future college students includes upfront advice and tips on life in the residence hall, homesickness, roommates, friendship, college activities, Greek life, studying, relationships, drinking and drugs, money, sexual assault, and much, much more! These 500 pages include true stories from college students, tips, facts, and cautions for a comprehensive guidebook to college life. A handy index allows students to jump to the topic they need.

The Happiest Kid on Campus: A Parent's Guide to the Very Best College Experience (for You and Your Child)

The Happiest Kid on Campus: A Parent’s Guide to the Very Best College Experience (for You and Your Child)

This comprehensive book guides parents through the process of sending their kids to college. It contains advice on orientation, what to take to school, initiating important discussions with your student, finances, keeping them safe and healthy, and more. It also helps in addressing problems once your student is in college, such as handling signs of depression or homesickness or dealing with roommate problems. Helpful Q&As, checklists, and advice from parents are included.

Harlan notes that parents can and should be communicating with their college-bound kids this summer, but they shouldn’t grill them with 20 questions while playing Jeopardy music in the background (way too much pressure)! Instead, Harlan suggests parents plan a comfortable time to talk (weekend road trip, shopping trip, manicure, ballgame) and get students thinking about some of the big changes ahead. Following are his “Five Questions for Summer College Prep.”

1. What would be your PERFECT first year in college?
This is about creating expectations. Without any expectations, students will just plop on campus and wait for everything to happen (also makes it easier to do unhealthy and regrettable things).

2. How do you plan on making this happen?
Try to get your son or daughter thinking about the activities, organizations, and opportunities available outside the classroom that help make them find connections to campus life.

3. Who are the people on campus who can help?
Have them think of five types of people who they can turn to for advice. These should be people who want them to win.

4. How much time are you going to give yourself to make it ALL happen?
Plant the seed that it can take a couple of years -- not weeks or months -- to make it happen. Help them set a realistic timeline, otherwise they’ll be set up for disappointment.

5. What can I do to help?
By asking, this sends a message that you are willing to help, but don’t assume they will need your help. Then go make plans to send lots of care packages (STUDENTS LOVE CARE PACKAGES).

Harlan Cohen is a bestselling author, nationally syndicated advice columnist (Help Me, Harlan!) and professional speaker who has visited over 400 college campuses. He has been featured as an expert in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition, and has been a guest on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC’s Today Show. If you’ve got a child in high school or a recent graduate, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of The Naked Roommate and The Happiest Kid on Campus so that the whole family is prepared for this new and interesting experience!

DISCLOSURE: Complimentary books were provided for this review. No financial compensation was received. The book links in this post are linked to my Amazon affiliate account.

1 comment:

  1. My boys have many years before college but I hope to send them more prepared than I was.


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