This month, as university logo decals get slapped on the back windows of SUVs everywhere, many high school seniors and their parents will move into the “Phew We’re/They’re in College” Phase. It’s an invigorating feeling, but important not to slip into autopilot. Some of the best laid college plans have been sabotaged by bad choices and poor judgement. Read on to discover what they are and how to avoid them.
The sense of relief that comes with college acceptance can give students and parents a false sense of security. True, there is room to relax a bit, but final semester grades still matter to colleges. Skipping the term paper really isn’t a wise move. Turning in senior projects, fulfilling last minute volunteer hours, and taking final exams can affect graduation and a college future. Hang in there—summer break is right around the corner.
2. Senior Pranks
Yes, seniors rule, but even well-meaning senior pranks can get students in hot water. From expulsion to arrests, the repercussions of senior pranks gone bad have led to parent and student disappointment all the way around.
3. The Party Circuit
This is a time for celebration and the student party circuit can seem never ending. Student-parent dialogues should focus on safe party behaviors including driving safety, sobriety, and the dangers of underage drinking.
4. Shopping Craze
It’s easy to get excited about college life and dorm decorations, but hold onto your wallet until you read the fine print. Most dorms have strict policies on furniture, lamps, and cooking appliances. Don’t shop ‘til you drop until you know the rules.
5. Food Obsession
Many college-bound students kick into food obsession as they prepare to leave behind hometowns and their favorite meals. Gourmet chef parents will be persuaded to cook like crazy and the culinary impaired will be pulling out the credit card to cover last minute restaurant tabs that will tide students over until Thanksgiving Break. Keep exercising, or the Freshman Fifteen will pop up in July.
Nancy Berk, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, award-winning humorist, comic, professor, and former admissions committee member, who was shocked to find herself as panicked as the rest when her older son began his college search.A frequent contributor to Chicken Soup For The Soul, she blogs for The Huffington Post, USA Today College, and MORE Magazine. Author of Secrets of a Bar Mitzvah Mom (2005), Nancy’s been spotlighted in The New York Times and interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, CNN, MSN, and national magazines. Nancy has appeared on television, stage, and radio, and hosts two podcasts: Whine At 9 and The College Mom Minute.
Her newest book, “College Bound and Gagged” – a great companion for the anxious parent, can be ordered on Amazon.