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Articles / Preparing for College / Mental Prep for Higher Ed

April 23, 2018

Mental Prep for Higher Ed

The summer between high school and college can be an emotional time for both students and parents. After 17 to 18 years of living at home, under parental scrutiny, college-bound teens suddenly encounter the reality of “escaping the nest” (with all the associated (usually) positive and negative circumstances). For some, it may be like Columbus’ voyage to the New World, filled with both excitement and dread. For others, it may be a time of stress, with serious concerns about finances, social relationships, and independent living, among others.

Perhaps one of the most significant concerns pertains to adjustment. That is, (from a student perspective) “Can I make it through all the way to get my degree?” and (from a parental perspective) “Is s/he really ready for this big change?” Millions of parents and their college-bound kids are celebrating and preparing for the big transition this fall. Bestselling author and nationally syndicated advice columnist Harlan Cohen says the most important thing parents can do this summer is to encourage and support their child in finding their place on campus before leaving home.


In his college guide for parents, The Happiest Kid on Campus: A Parent’s Guide to the Very Best College Experience (for You and Your Child), Harlan details what parents need to know about the experience they’ll have as their child leaves for college, and what they can do to ensure that their child has an incredible and meaningful college experience. Here are  some highlights I gleaned from the press release, including the Top Five Things Parents Need to Know to Help Their Kid Find His or Her Place on Campus (This Summer):

  • Finding Their Place Takes Planning – Encourage your child to pick three activities or organizations that will allow them to find three different groups of friends, either spiritual, academic or social
  • Finding Their Place Takes Patience – Remind your child it can take more than two weeks (more likely two years!) to find their spot on campus
  • Finding Their Place Takes Accepting the Universal Rejection Truth – Don’t make success all about the outcome, make it about the experience of taking a risk
  • Finding Their Place Takes Training – A tough one because there is only so much a parent can do as their child goes through self-discovery. Be supportive and knowledgeable about resources available to help your student
  • Finding Their Place Takes Help From Others – Have your child identify five people who can be there to help them win

Harlan provides tips and advice for moms and dads of college students with the same wit and style as The Naked Roommate. The Happiest Kid on Campus gives parents everything they need to know about the experience they’ll have as their child leaves for college, and what they can do to ensure that their child has an incredible and meaningful college experience. Using Cohen’s trademark style, with tips, statistics, quotes, and stories from parents and students, as well as expert advice, this guide tackles the most important topics on parents’ minds, including:

* What parents should NEVER say or do when dropping their child off on campus

* Staying connected (but not too connected) to your child

* When to visit, how often to visit, what to expect when visiting

* Helping your child make good choices & supporting the wrong ones

* What every parent must know about safety issues

From sharing a bathroom with 40 strangers to sharing lecture notes, The Naked Roommate is the behind-the-scenes look at everything students need to know about college (but never knew they needed to know). Completely revised and updated, this essential guide used by hundreds of thousands of students is packed with expert advice on everything from managing money to managing stress—plus hilarious, outrageous, and telling stories from students on over 100 college campuses.

With calendars, planners, and workbooks, The Naked Roommate is being used as the first year experience guide at colleges across the country, The Naked Roommate is the top name in college life advice.

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Written by

Dave Berry

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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