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Cool ways to ensure your child's success in college

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You're probably so cool that you already use innovations like Skype, Face Time, and other forms of video and text chatting resources to keep in touch with your forever baby. How often, though, do you chat about the strategies your whiz kid is using to put your investment to good use? Do you ask about your baby's note-taking processes? Do you ask about exam grades? How do you balance the conversations so that your sweetie pie doesn't think that every time they speak with you, the conversation will always be about grades?

Here are some tips that will help you stay in touch and ensure your child's progress, and not get on your college kid's nerves.

Don't always ask about grades. At least two of the conversations you have with your child per week should not be about their academic progress. Some conversations should only be about their social life, how they like the campus, the resources the school has to offer, the clubs and organizations, sororities, fraternities, and the like. You don't want your child to think that their worth in your eyes is connected to their success or how much you can brag about them. You want your child know--or think--that their value to you is unconditional and everlasting, and that they are more than a percentage or a rank.

"Show Me the Money." Many kids use laptops to take notes. How about asking your college kid to send you a copy of some notes they've taken. It takes very little effort send a file as an attachment to an e-mail. If you can afford to, you can incentivize your child to do this by giving them $5 or $10 dollars for a day's worth of notes. You can also ask your child to take a picture of their notes with their cell phone, or show you their notes during a Skye or Face Time session. Obviously, it isn't necessary to see every single class note your child copies, but asking to see notes once or twice a week will not hurt.

This may sound really corny and paternalistic, but you'll be surprised at the impression it will leave with your child about how much you care about their success. Older kids are not much different than younger kids. They want to know that you care. They just won't tell you!

Ask for a copy of your child's syllabus. Having a copy of your child's syllabus--which you might read one night before going to bed--will give you ideas about how to start conversations about your son or daughter's classes. You can also record due dates from the syllabus in your own dayplanner, PDA, or other device, and send alerts to your child about upcoming assignments.

If you already use any of the strategies described above, or do in the future, please post a reply and let us know what your experience is like!

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