Smart Ideas for Care Packages for College Students

Send Your Child a Healthy Care Package:
A Nutritious, Delicious and Personal Alternative to the Traditional Care Package
By Jen Danowitz
for CollegeTipsForParents.org

Care packages are often loaded with junk. At first, the typical college student will smile at the “snack-size” packages of candy, cookies and punch mix; but after a few days of sugar-highs, a few pounds heavier and an empty, hungry feeling lurking inside, your child will be craving something more to help successfully pull an all-nighter to write that paper. Take advantage of sending a classic care package to your college-aged son or daughter to send along items that actually support your child—and really show you care. The following include suggestions for a healthy, useful and more personal care package.

1. Food, Food, Food!
Every college student loves the excuse of heavy coursework to chow down on junk food. However, there are many alternatives to these empty calories that will better support your child, keeping him or her healthy and focused. Items such as rice cakes or oatmeal have low sugar and caloric content, yet include nutrients your child needs to stay on top of a demanding schedule. Stay away from the Easy Mac and microwaveable popcorn—your child will appreciate the opportunity to chow down on these more satisfying snacks, which are not easily found in the dorm environment. Remember that most packages are not delivered directly to your child’s dorm room, so avoid including anything perishable.

• Whole grain breakfast and/or protein bars
• Dried fruit mix
• Mix together dried cranberries, blueberries, raisins and granola for a nutritious sweet treat.
• Graham crackers
• Rice cakes
• Serving-size cereal boxes
• Nuts mix
• Homemade granola bars
• Fat-free crackers
• Low-fat cookies
• Sugar-free water-mix flavor packets

2. Personal Items
Your child will surely appreciate these personal items and toiletries that are often hard to find on campus.

• Spare contact lens cases, lenses and on-the-go solution bottles
• Toothbrushes and floss
• Vitamins
• Tissues
• Most students don’t think to pick up some extra tissues—until they have a runny nose. Stay ahead of the game and ensure your child is prepared for these times.
• Cough drops and basic cold medicine
• Air freshener or room deodorizer
• Paper towels, cleaning wipes
• Stamps

The above items are obviously on the ‘practical side’, in part 2 of this article we will include a bunch of exciting ideas & fun items to include in the college student care package. see you then…

6 Tips For Avoiding Weight Gain and Eating Healthy at College

Eating Smart in Your Dining Hall – Tips for College Students & Parents

by Jen Danowitz
for CollegeTipsForParents.org

The availability of constant all-you-can-eat style meals, coupled with the lack of parental direction for what should go on the table and the plate, leads many freshmen students to throw nutrition down the trash chute. With an eye on keeping healthy in the buffet-abyss of your dining hall, the following tips will help pile up your plate and not the pounds.

1. Quickly browse all selections before filling up your plate.
When you enter the dining hall, skim over all the selections available before filling your plate. By taking appropriate portions of what you really want, you will be less tempted to pile on too much food. This will also give you a better idea of the healthier alternatives available for your meal.

2. Check out the salad bar.
Most schools offer a variety of healthy salad bar options. Pile your plate with an assortment of leafy greens and other veggies before heading to the other food selections. It will be easier for you to take smaller portions of the less nutritious options, if your plate is already full. However, take it easy with the cheeses, croutons, bacon bits and dressings—too much of these can make your innocent salad as calorie-packed as the dining hall’s greasiest meal.
Many salad bars have a great fruit section as well. Keep this in mind when looking to jazz up your breakfast cereal, grab a quick apple or banana to snack on between classes, or couple fresh strawberries with yogurt to create a nutritious and delicious desert.

3. What are you drinking with that meal?
Filling your cup with soda is a great way to actually dehydrate yourself and pack on pounds. Opt for ice water, or a nutrient-rich beverage such as nonfat milk or 100% fruit juice. If you really want that soda, check out the diet options, or fill your cup only halfway and then add fruit juice to make a healthier (and tasty!) mix.

4. If you’re looking for carbs, look for whole grain.
If it’s not whole grain, it’s essentially empty calories. Why not go for the whole-grain versions of bread, cereal, pita, pasta and tortillas to add both flavor and nutrition to your carb-fix?

5. Get in and get out.
The longer you hang around in the cafeteria, the more you will be tempted to fill your plate with everything your eyes feast on. By piling it up, you will eat much more than your body actually needs. Head for the right choices, and then head directly out. Remember the selections your dining hall offers are probably not one-time deals, so you don’t need to grab everything you see.

6. Never eat when you are pressed for time.
If you head to the dining hall when you are in a rush, you will very likely grab the fastest dish-to-plate meal option. This is not often a nutritious option, which means you will load up on junk and still be hungry after. If you need a quick fix, force yourself to ignore temptation to grab the ready-made burger or greasy pizza slice, and choose a more wholesome option such as fresh fruit or a bowl of whole grain cereal with nonfat milk.
In addition, it’s important to slow down and think about each bite of food you take. Rather than wolfing down your meal so fast you forget what was on your plate to begin with, this will give your brain time to recognize your stomach is full, which means you will be less tempted to overeat. It will also give you time to relax and enjoy your meal.

CollegeTipsForParents.org note: The above tips are a general suggestions, your personal circumstances and needs may be different, Parents and students should always consult their personal physician regarding all health related matters.

College Tips For Parents Now on Alltop

CollegeTipsForParents.org is now featured on Alltop.com. Alltop features the best informational sites on the web. We are thrilled that they like CollegeTipsForParents.org and have elected to include it on AllTop. We encourage all our readers to visit Alltop.com.

Upcoming Posts and features
We will be posting many new articles and features designed from high school seniors and parents, who are getting ready for college or university.

Topics will include
applications, financial aid, grants, communicating with college orientation staff, essential skills students will need for college, transition from high school to college.

High School seniors and college freshman should pay particular attention to our December 25 post about reducing the risk of identity fraud and improving info security on campus. This has become a troubling problem, so students and college parents need to be aware.

Please also note the new video content on the main page. We have added a video which discusses the differences between high school and college. The video highlights important differences students can expect. It covers both academic differences, study strategy, and campus life.

9 Tips for College Students To Reduce Info Fraud Risks

Steps You and Your College Student Can Take to Reduce the Risks of Info Fraud and Identity Theft
Presented by CollegeTipsForParents.org

College Students are frequently the victims of information fraud. The victims’ parents are often asked to help fix the financial mess and spend considerable time untangling the administrative issues.

Identity thieves often know their victims; either directly or indirectly. Thieves might be their dorm-mates, friends, siblings of friends, classmates, co-workers, current or ex-boy/girlfriends, friends from extra-curricular activities, etc.

Names, addresses, birthdates, social security numbers, account numbers, and other personal data are valuable commodities on the underground market. An ex-boyfriend could easily possess all of this info. In fact, he might even know inside information such as passwords, PIN number, mother’s maiden name, etc.

What are some of the reasons young people are frequently victimized?:

-Casual attitude about taking precautions.
-Naive about security and safety.
-Trusting (often because they have never been swindled before).
-Less likely to review their credit report for unusual activity.

According to MoneyManagement101.com , parents should talk to their kids about identity theft and information security. Although the following tips may seem obvious to experienced adults, a surprising number of young people don’t follow some of the following basic guidelines.

-Never lend your credit card or debit card to anyone, and never share your password.
-Do not print your driver’s license number, birth date, or social security number on your checks.
-When you write a check at a store, don’t allow the store to confirm your check by writing in your credit card number.
-Do not put outbound mail in your mailbox for your postal carrier to pickup. Take your mail directly to a US postal mailbox.
-If your credit card or ATM card is lost or stolen, alert your bank/credit card issuer immediately.
-Avoid using passwords or PIN numbers that might be easy for a thief to figure out (i.e. avoid birth dates, common names, etc.
-Shred any financial documents or anything containing sensitive information before putting them in the trash.
-Always check your credit card statement for charges you did not make.
-Order a copy of your credit report at least once per year. Look out for creditors on your statement that you never applied for.

We will feature additional tips and suggestions on CollegeTipsForParents.org in the near future.

Parents Save Less for College

According to an excellent article in the Suntimes, many parents putting away less savings for their children’s college education. Based on a survey by the College Savings Foundation, parents have saved less this year than last year, and a great number of parents saved nothing.

Some of the highlights of the survey include:

Parents who saved less than $5,000 per child for college totaled 65%. This includes 43% who saved $0. Savings rates were higher in the prior year.
63% of parents expect their kids to shoulder debt

70% of parents expect their kids to still be paying back loans beyond five years out, and 29% beyond 10 years out.

Student loans will be the top aid source for 37 percent of parents.

Colleges Delaying Freshmen Admissions to Spring

Many college applicants may only be offered admission at mid-year, instead of the fall. This is an increasing trend at colleges and universities.
Many schools are facing an increase in the number of qualified applicants. One of the reasons they offer the mid-year admission is smooth out campus populations. For example, to fill open spaces left by students who may have dropped out in December or graduated mid-year.

Some students may be disapointed that they were only offered admission in the mid-year semester. Faced with this situation, many students take fall classes at community colleges, which can transfer to their university. The delayed admission also provides time to save more tuition money by working at a full time job during the fall.

Student Loan Challenges During the Credit Crisis

Given the recent credit crisis, there will likely be greater challenges in getting private student loans. Private loans will likely harder to come by, and may be even more expensive. However, parents and students need to make sure that they take advantage of any available federal, state, and institutional aid, before looking at more expensive private student loans. It is estimated that almost half of undergrad students do not use all available low-cost federal loans their families are eligible for. They end up seeking more expensive loans from private lenders. College financial aid officers can be excellent sources of information, regarding all available programs and sources of aid.

College Campus Security & Safety – help coming from Congress?

In light of the violent incidents that have occurred on college campuses, security has become an even greater priority at colleges and universities. Security enhancements can be expensive, so colleges are looking for federal financial help to offset these costs.

Safety and security experts believe advanced alert systems, for example text messaging, is critical to providing rapid warning to alert students of imminent threats on campus.

Bills have recently been approved in both houses of Congress which would provide federal matching funds for colleges and universities to purchase emergency communication infrastructure or enhanced safety training. These items are incorporated into a larger bill addressing the postsecondary education law, which is currently being discussed in Congress.

Given the recent tragedies at universities and community colleges, campus security is a extremely visible issue, and obviously of the utmost importance to the public. However, there has been frustration among colleges and security proponents at how long it has taken Congress to approve these measures. There is a chance that Congress could take action by April. Unfortunately, any funding would not be available until next year, since the dollars would have to be approved by the congressional budget committees and signed into law by the Whitehouse.

How to Pay For Private College Tuition

There is an article excellent appearing in the online newspaper, The Ledger, entitled ‘Aid In Paying Bills For College‘ about tips for paying for admission to top-flight universities such as Harvard and Yale. The article is written by Jonathan Clements who is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Clements frequently writes outstanding articles regarding personal financial matters.

One of the main focuses of the article is that it is often easier, than college parents might realize, to receive enough grant money for tuition to schools like Harvard. What is pointed out in the article, is how even relatively high income parents, can receive substantial grant monies.

Many private colleges have become more reluctant to saddle college students (and college parents) with substantial debt. They often provide significant grant money. For example, a premier private college which costs $40,000 per year, might offer $25,000 in grant money. Whereas a top public college, costing $15,000 might not offer any grant money. So essentially the net cost the college parent and student would need to pay for (or borrow) would be essentially the same.

The article points out that it is very important to understand the aid policies of each college. The income & asset factors considered for college aid decision are often very different than the government’s evaluation criteria.

Campus Safety and Security Resources for Parents and Students

Colleges and Universities talk the safety and security of students VERY seriously. In fact, in light of recent tragedies, many schools are adding additional safeguards, including security related staff, procedures, and technology.

The United State’s Department of Education maintains a useful website with information about campus safety and security; this site maintains information resources which may be of interest to parents of college students:
Campus Safety and Security Resources