Dad of Divas' Reviews: Summer Tips for High Schools Grads and Their Parents from Top College Expert

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer Tips for High Schools Grads and Their Parents from Top College Expert

Every summer before the start of college, nationally syndicated advice columnist Harlan Cohen gets a flood of letters from students sharing their deepest fears and anxieties.

Rarely do these soon-to-be college freshmen share these feelings with their parents.

Harlan, author of the bestselling college guide The Naked Roommate and parent college guide The Happiest Kid on Campus, says parents can and should be communicating with their college-bound kids this summer – just don’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.

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

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