Home > Resources > Parents’ Practical Guide to College > Parents’ Guide to the Unexpected in College

Parents’ Guide to the Unexpected in College

These situations are called unexpected for a reason: they materialize out of thin air with absolutely no warning and are poised to ruin a perfectly flawless plan for college. While it’s hard to fathom every possible scenario that could play out, here are a few collegiate parents encounter.

“I’m Taking a Year Off”

Your child has been accepted to college, of their first choice– but after a year of exemplary grades and a positive campus experience, they sit you down and reveal they’d like to take a year off. While your initial response may be to rebuke, keep listening for the reason behind their departure from school.

“Mom, Dad…Meet My Someone”

Young love. Though only 15 percent of people meet their future spouses in college , you should be prepared for your son or daughter to call you one day and invite you to meet their significant other. When you’re finally introduced to this special someone, however, they may not be exactly who you envisioned.

“How Do You Like My Tattoo?”

When your child starts attending college, they gain much more freedom than they had in high school and many take advantage of this increased autonomy to the fullest degree. They may dye their hair, grow goatees, pierce their tongues and begin quests to tattoo every square inch of their bodies because, as with relationships, college is a time for experimentation. Here’s what to do when your child comes home for winter break looking much different than when they had left.

“Can I Get Your Advice on Something?”

For years, you were probably your child’s go-to source for advice. That may still hold true to some degree when they leave for college but chances are, they would now rather go to a roommate or significant other for counsel. When they come to you saying they have an issue your expertise can remedy, it’s hard not to dive right in and begin working your parental magic.

“But I Thought We Were Friends?”

As children age, it becomes easier to think of them as friends rather than the six-year old you still remember. This mentality can become problematic, however, when you’re paying for their tuition and they make a decision they know you would vehemently oppose. You can no longer revoke their allowance or send them to the time-out chair. Disciplining a child is an already tricky topic but when that child is old enough to vote and join the military, the situation becomes even more convoluted.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Test-Optional Colleges Pledge to Judge Applications Holistically

October 22, 2020

by Izzy Hall

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and the way it has made it harder than ever to take the SAT and ACT, many colleges and universities, from large state universities to small liberal arts colleges, have announced that their admissions for next year’s Class of 2025 will be test-optional. Test-optional admissions mean that schools won’t require a submission of a standardized test score as part of the admissions process. But how will admissions officials judge applicants without a score? Will a student who doesn’t submit a standardized test score be penalized in any way? And will a student who does submit a score be chosen over one who doesn’t? [...]

Increasing Number of Students from Immigrant Families in Higher Education

October 20, 2020

by Izzy Hall

Getting a college degree is part of the American Dream. College graduates generally earn more money and have a better quality of life. So it’s not surprising that students from immigrant families or who are immigrants themselves are making up an increasingly larger percentage of associate’s, bachelors and masters-seeking students in America. [...]

Free College? Check Out These Tuition-Free Schools!

October 15, 2020

by Izzy Hall

At Scholarships.com, we help students find scholarships to pay for college tuition. But what if you didn’t have to pay tuition? There are a handful of schools in the U.S. that are tuition-free, meaning that while students may have to pay for room and board or meal plans, they do not have to pay tuition to attend the college. On the flip side, tuition-free schools may require students to work alongside their studies or, for military academies, to enlist upon graduation. [...]

Last Reviewed: October 2020