Many of these weekly columns are about how you, as loving parents, can play a valuable role in your student’s development.  We’ve encouraged you to help your son or daughter to:

  • Discover his or her talents;
  • Identify goals;
  • Create a plan of action to meet those goals; and
  • Review on a regular basis to make sure he/she is still on target.

Unfortunately, it’s easy for a college student to get distracted from his or her plan, and that is a why a major part of your role is that review step, helping to keep your family’s collective “eyes on the prize.”

And prizes will come, though maybe not as often as when your student was young, and “gold stars” were handed out regularly, or trophies bestowed, simply for turning in homework or being part of a sports team.

It’s a fact of college life that formal recognition may not come at all.  So as you work behind the scenes in support of your student, you should remember to celebrate – in a way appropriate to your family’s sensibilities – the progress that is being made.

You don’t have to throw a party, but every step that is completed should be acknowledged as being important.  You should make it clear that you are proud of the progress that your student is making.

As you celebrate, you can remind your student that it’s one thing to set a goal and quite another thing to accomplish that goal.  In noting his or her accomplishments, you can make the point that colleges, grad schools and employers are far more interested in what gets done than in how hard someone has worked.

Remember, results count.  That is an important message for students to learn, and for you to serve as a constant reference point.

At College Parents of America, we believe that is part of your job to provide unconditional love, and encouragement, throughout the college years.  If you remember to provide gentle, but firm, reminders of what is to be accomplished while the student is in college, our educated guess is that your family will indeed have much to celebrate.