Tag Archives: Colleges and Universities

LEAVING THE NEST ” A Special letter to parents”



Dear Parents,

This will be one of the most memorable times in the life of you and your student. How you handle this transition will determine the relationship you will or will not have with your student during these life-changing college years. Be there, but remember that this is their first step to independence, so give them the opportunity to begin this process with your support, not your dictatorship. Give them the benefit of your experience without making them feel guilty, if they don’t use it. Some students will take your advice, while others will have to make the mistakes and learn the lessons. But you had to go through this, too, and you, also, made mistakes.  They will need your wisdom and direction now more than ever. Balance is the key.

Below, I have listed steps that will make this transition smoother; these things helped me, as well as others, during our transitions. Enjoy this time!  You won’t get a second chance.

o    Pray  (It’s this connection that will let you sleep at night – well, most nights).

o    Do an itinerary for the trip to school.

o    Make a list of all friends and family in the area (in case of emergencies).

o    Introduce your student to the individuals that will be their support team while away at school (only those that desire to support).

o    Locate a church and visit the church with your student.

o    Introduce yourself and get the number to the Resident Assistance in the dorm, the financial aid officer and their assigned college counselor.

o    Don’t hesitate to call the president’s office, if necessary.

o    Be a good listener.

o    Always communicate – Do not disconnect:  It is critical that you remain in communication even through a challenging time.

o    Remember, they are at the age of accountability.  Help them to understand the responsibility that goes with freedom.

o    Don’t hesitate to remind them of the things they are to do. They are balancing a lot of tasks, and will forget every now and them, but be kind.

o    Give them enough space to feel independent but enough support to know you are in their corner – even when they make a mistake.

o    Remember, you have lived your life! This is theirs. Help them to become their own person and most important, enjoy their transformation into adulthood!


                Parental Unit

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Leaving Home




Of all the different things you’ll face when you go off to college, the hardest part is actually leaving home. Leaving home means leaving everything that is familiar to you in the past and moving on. It is an emotional and slightly frightening time for most. Since the age of six, I started spending my summers away from home for weeks and months at a time. So, I was used to being away from my mom. Therefore, when I left home, I thought it was going to be easy to leave her. I thought transitioning into college would be a breeze—that was so far from the truth. I hadn’t thought about the whole idea: getting acquainted with a totally different environment, in a totally different state, on a totally different side of the country!


At first, I almost panicked, but then I remembered, “Hey, this is a part of being on my own!” So, I decided to make the best of it and explore. I began by mingling with the girls on my floor; half the battle is finding a few people to explore with and, more importantly, establishing relationships that will help you through this first year. After that, we set out for all kinds of wacky adventures! My new friends and I found all the closest grocery stores, where we needed to go locally for certain things, and then we found out how to use the transportation system. Since I go to school in Washington, D.C., it was important that I knew how to use the Metro. It was really easy once I got used to it. At first I worried, “What will happen if I go the wrong way?” But then I reminded myself, that if I ended up far away from where I was supposed to be, I just needed to come back. It’s a learning experience and it’s all at the hand of exploration. After we figured that out, the sky was the limit. We found out where all the hot spots were, and then we went. I love to eat out and I love plays, so I made it a point of finding the cool restaurants and small, inexpensive theatres; then I tried all of them—or, at least I did until my funds were depleted. Hey, it happens!


The key to getting comfortable with your new environment is to get to know, or at least become aware of your surroundings. Howard University is located in what might be considered one of D.C.’s not-so-friendly environments, or the “hood.” Whatever it’s called, the bottom line is that to live here, you need to know what is going on in your area, when it’s safe to go out and, in turn, when it’s not. Once you become familiar with your surroundings, no matter where your college is, everything else is simple. Remember, there is nothing wrong with exploring. So feel free to venture out!




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How Prepared Are You? Life – Part II: College #2 Understanding your Financial aid package



Let’s talk about financial aid.



 Once you’ve chosen your college you will receive a financial aid award letter. In it will be a grant, usually two loans, either a subsidized and a parent plus, or a subsidized and an unsubsidized loan.  You would receive the unsubsidized loan if your parents applied for the parent plus and were turned down. For these, you will need to sign a promissory note.


 There may also be something called work study. Work study is a job that you have on campus that pays you directly. This is great because that extra pocket change can go a long way to stretching your budget and not putting too much extra pressure on your parental units, if they are the ones paying for college. If you receive your award letter and there is no work study on it, you can request it. You can also show up on campus with your resume and a cover letter and take it around to the different colleges or departments at your university and apply for an on campus job.



If you have the opportunity to work on campus you should. It can open up doors for you in other areas that you may not have known about. It is a great way to network and meet people in your field. It is also a great way to find out about jobs and internships domestic and abroad in your field. So do a little digging, and ask some questions about work study and on campus jobs.



Outside of on campus jobs, if you do not have to work your first year I would suggest not to, unless the hours are minimal and they work well around your class and study schedule. Having money can be important, but failing your classes because you were spread too thin between work and school will cause you problems that it will take years to repair.  So take your time, learn your rhythm for how you learn, study, understand, and retain information. Once you know how to work at your best, you can add a job to the equation without compromising your grades.



Lastly, when you get on campus, make one of your first stops at the financial aid office to meet your officer and let them see your face. Become a regular there. They receive scholarship information year round and many times they have no one to award them to because no one applied for the scholarships. Students had no idea they even existed. To avoid this happening to you, make sure your officer knows who you are so when scholarship opportunities come across their desk, you are the person they have in mind. You will have much to pay for in school and every little bit helps.


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High School Seniors – Are You Prepared ?

Graduation is around the corner!!!! Yaaaaay!!! I’m sure you’re thinking you’ve waited all your life for this! And you have, but now here comes the REAL work.

Life – Part II : College

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How prepared are you?

Have you made a decision as to what college you will attend?

If so, have you taken care of your financial aid package? If not, be sure to schedule a meeting to see them once you get onto the campus.

Are you going away or are you staying close to home?

Will you need a plane ticket and possible hotel accommodations once you get there?

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