Specific Information for Parents

General Parent Resources

Check out two books by author David Walsh:

  1. Why Do They Act That Way?: A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen
  2. No! Why Kids–of All Ages–Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It.

Suggested Reading for Helping and Dealing With Your College Bound Student

  • Campus Daze: Easing the Transition from High School to College by George Gibbs
  • Don't Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years by Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller
  • I'll Miss You Too: The Off-to-College Guide for Parents and Students by Margo Woodacre and Steffany Bane
  • Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger
  • You're On Your Own: But I'm Here if You Need Me by Marjorie Savage

Parent Nights

Conversations to Have With Your Child Before Graduation

Student Safety

  • Encourage your student to always travel in groups or use a campus escort service after dark or early in the morning. He or she should never take short-cuts, jog, or walk alone at night.
  • Encourage your student to share his or her class schedule and phone list with you and other friends.
  • Help your child study the area around the campus and the college neighborhood. Identify potentially dangerous areas and where the campus emergency phones are located.

Tips for Students Living in Dorm Rooms

  • Remind your student that he or she should always lock doors and windows at night.
  • Remind your student not to leave valuables such as wallets, laptops or ATM cards in plain sight.
  • Encourage your student to get to know his or her neighbors and not to be shy about reporting strangers who are loitering and/or engaged in illegal activities.

Healthy Advice for College Students

  • Make sure your student knows his or her medical history. Make a written list that includes inoculations, hospitalizations, allergies and diseases.
  • Make a list of your student's existing medications and medication schedule. Get extra prescriptions and identify a pharmacy near the school for refills.
  • Make sure your student has health insurance. He or she should have an insurance card and understand when to use it. This insurance should be over and above what's covered by the student health service.
  • Encourage your student to visit the school's health facilities whenever he or she feels sick, physically or emotionally. Discuss the importance of preventative care and counseling services.
  • If your student has a chronic illness, find a local specialist before classes begin in case of an emergency.
  • Send a small medical kit with your student to college that includes band-aids, gauze tape, thermometer, aspirin and/or ibuprofen, antacid and anything else that specially applies to his or her medical needs.
  • Discuss the symptoms of the common cold and flu and how to treat them. Stress that if your student has a temperature of more than 101 degrees for more than a day, he/she needs to go to the student health center.
  • Stress that many illnesses in college are directly related to lack of sleep. Pulling "all-nighters" and not getting enough sleep aren't helpful to good health or good grades. Headaches are often a signal of too much stress.
  • Talk to your student about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV, herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and hepatitis. Students who practice unsafe sex stand a good chance of contracting one (or more) of these diseases.

Student Finances

  • Develop a budget prior to school starting and stress the importance of maintaining that budget.
  • Help your student create a plan to handle everyday expenses.
  • Determine who will supply the spending money and how frequently it will be sent. Discuss what will happen if your student runs short of money.
  • Establish a bank account in the town where your student will be studying. Find one that has a good relationship with the school and with students. If your student has a checking account for the first time, teach him or her how to set up and maintain a checkbook.
  • Remind your student to keep the checkbook and the ATM card in a safe place.
  • Record the bank's ABA routing code and the student's account number in case you need to wire money.
  • Make sure your student understands how to use a credit card in relation to his or her budget.
  • Emphasize that proper use of a credit card can help your student establish a good credit history.
  • Remind your student that over-charges and late or missed payments can cause severe damage his/her child's credit rating.

High School Year by Year – How to Advise Your Student

9th Grade – How to Guide and Advise Your Freshman

When a student becomes a freshman, everything starts to "count." Freshman grades are used in determining a student's GPA, and freshman courses, grades, and credits all become part of a student's transcript. Freshman activities, honors and awards can also be listed on college and scholarship applications.

  • Monitor Academic Progress. Sit down with your son or daughter at the beginning of each grading period and help him/her set realistic academic goals for that term.
  • Encourage involvement in a wide variety of activities. Encourage your son or daughter to participate in activities outside of school and to also do some volunteer work. Most college and scholarship applications ask students to list their high school activities. Many applications also ask for evidence of leadership. Tip: During your child's freshman year, have them start keeping a record of all of his/her activities. This information will be very helpful later when your son or daughter is required to list activities and honors on college and scholarship applications.
  • Help your child select appropriate 10th grade courses. In February of your student's freshman year, review your child's four-year high school plan and make sure that your child selects the most appropriate courses for his/her sophomore year.
  • Plan meaningful summer activities.

10th Grade – How to Guide and Advise Your Sophomore

In addition to working hard in school and being involved in a variety of activities, sophomores need to start identifying their abilities, aptitudes and interests. Sophomores should also be looking for ways to further develop their talents and skills.

  • Continue to monitor academic progress.
  • Continue to encourage involvement in activities and the development of leadership skills.
  • Make sure your student is in attendance the day that Wayzata HS offers the PLAN test at the high school.
  • Consider having your child take the PSAT/NMSQT. The PSAT/NMSQT is a national test that's administered by high schools in October. Although the PSAT/NMSQT is a test primarily for juniors, many sophomores take it for practice.
  • Select courses for the 11th grade. In February of your student's sophomore year, review your child's four-year high school plan and make sure that your child selects the most appropriate courses for his/her junior year. Encourage your student to think about taking an Advanced Placement (AP) or X course if they have not already done so.
  • Explore and discuss college options. Gather information, go to college fairs and make informal visits to colleges. Think about your child's aptitudes, interests, and abilities and help your child view his/her interests and abilities in terms of possible college majors.
  • Plan summer activities.
  • Have your student update their activities list.

11th Grade – How to Guide and Advise Your Junior

The junior year is when students should seriously begin examining their college options. Juniors should take college tests, make college visits and start searching for scholarships.

  • Continue to monitor academic progress. Since most college applications are completed in the fall of a student's senior year, the last grades on a student's transcript are usually his/her junior year grades. Junior year grades are, therefore, the most important grades in high school.
  • Encourage involvement in activities and the development of leadership skills.
  • Have your son or daughter register for the PSAT/NMSQT in October. The PSAT/NMSQT is a national test that's administered by high schools in October. It is divided into five sections: two Critical Reading, two Math and one Writing. College bound juniors should take the PSAT/NMSQT for the following reasons: It's good practice for the SAT, it gives students an idea of how they will score on the SAT, students can see how their academic skills compare to those of other college bound students and students whose scores are exceptionally high are recognized by the National Merit Foundation. This recognition can lead to scholarships.
  • Think about and explore college options. Naviance is a great tool to complete this task.
  • Make sure your son or daughter registers for the ACT and/or the SAT early in the spring.
  • Make college visits.
  • Select courses for the 12th grade. In February of your student's junior year, review your child's four-year high school plan and make sure that your child selects the most appropriate courses for his/her senior year. Encourage your student to think about taking an Advanced Placement (AP) or X course if they have not already done so.
  • Look for scholarships.
  • Have your student update their activities list.
  • Meet with the high school counselor to go over your child's record and to discuss college planning.
  • Help choose meaningful activities for the summer.
  • Narrow the list of college choices.
  • Have your son or daughter establish an email address for them to use when communicating with colleges.

12th Grade – How to Guide and Advise Your Senior

The senior year is when everything comes together and students see the rewards of their hard work and planning.

  • Continue to monitor academic progress.
  • Continue to explore college options and set up a calendar for the year. Use this calendar to record test dates, application deadlines, college visitation days, etc.
  • Have your son or daughter sign up for the ACT (September, October or December) or SAT (September, October, November) if necessary.
  • Oversee completion of college applications.
  • Complete financial aid and scholarship application forms.
  • Don't forget about the May 1 National Notification Deadline, which is the date students must notify the college they plan to attend in order to guarantee their spot.