We are excited your student has chosen Cumberland, and we look forward to working with you to ensure your student is successful. College is a time of transition for you and your student, and we aim to share insight and tools to help your student thrive during this important time of growth. Each semester, we will share timely information and resources to help you guide and support your student through to graduation.
College is academically demanding even for well-prepared students. Summer is an important time of learning and preparation.
Now is the perfect time to help your student focus forward on college success. Because the high volume of reading and research papers are especially challenging, we urge new students to enroll in English 101 and other short-term summer courses. Registration is closing soon for the June 4-June 29 and July 9-August 3 summer terms.
Did you know that nearly 80% of all incoming freshmen are undecided/undeclared? And, 70% of the freshmen who identify a major when starting college change their major at least once. Many change their major up to three times before graduation.
So, if your son or daughter is undecided — don’t worry! College is a time to identify and hone interests that lead to worthwhile careers. In the freshmen year, students are encouraged to take General Education courses, which meet graduation requirements for all majors. These courses are broad and are ideal for peaking your son or daughter’s interest in a major that correlates to a career. The focus for your student’s first year should be on developing a strong foundation – learning and practicing effective study and writing skills, earning good grades, exploring a variety of courses, and getting involved on campus in leadership and service opportunities and student organizations – all of which may lead your student to select a major and ultimately a rewarding career after graduation.
One of the best ways to avoid conflict over college-related spending is to work together with your student this summer to create a manageable budget. Use our budget template to set realistic expectations for the fall term.
Students who acquire basic money management skills such as living within a budget are better prepared for long-term financial success. Below are guidelines for setting a realistic budget including an easy-to-use budgeting template.
Determine What You Are Willing To Pay For.
If your student is your dependent, it is reasonable to begin the budgeting process by identifying the priorities that you intend to fund. Use your budget guidelines to help frame the budget planning discussion with your student.
Confirm your own budget commitments and have a dollar figure in mind for your monthly investment.
Use our budget template to help estimate the cost per semester to determine your investment threshold. Focus on crafting a budget for one semester. As you plan, remember that you’ll have tuition, housing and meal plan payments in August and December for the fall and spring terms. Your expenditures will be lower in October and November.
Ascertain your expectations for your student’s investment.
Some parents require their student to work during the summer and during break periods to earn funds to off-set the cost of college. Others want their student to work part-time while in school. While still others believe earning good grades, garnering scholarships and taking advantage of on- and off-campus learning opportunities for job readiness is the student’s investment. If your student needs to hold a part-time job, try to limit the number of hours worked to no more than 10 per week for the first year and no more than 20 hours per week after that. College coursework is demanding, and even the students who do not work part-time have difficulty in the first year managing the volume of reading, writing and projects.
Practice the conversation before you have it.
Think about how you want to approach the topic, how you will address your budget commitments, expectations and investment threshold. Determine the best time and location for the discussion. Be sure to set aside enough time so that you can finish the conversation with a workable draft. Share the budget template with your student as a starting point for the discussion. Work together to make it realistic.
Determine how frequently you wish to be updated about the budget.
Ask your student to assume responsibility for keeping you informed. And, once you work out a monitoring process, set the date when the two of you will review the budget in the fall to determine if it is on course.
Positively recognize responsible financial management.
As you review the budget, remember to affirm your student’s good choices and commitment to the budget you have created together. And, when your student is home for the winter holiday break, set aside a time to celebrate your joint success and to plan ahead for the spring semester.
Setting healthy boundaries and expectations fosters open communication and will help to prevent stress in your relationship.