Kansas State University


K-State Parents and Family Program

Category: Issue 59, December 2018

WildcatLink Provides K-State Students with a Network of Alumni and Mentors

Establishing a professional network early can be the key to a successful job hunt and can help to bridge the gap between the college education and career. Launched in Fall 2017, WildcatLink was created to connect K-State students, faculty and staff, and alumni and friends for career-related support.

The two main parts to WildcatLink are networking and mentoring. Users may participate in only networking, only mentoring, or both. These preferences are selected during sign-up and can be changed at any point in the future.

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K-State 360: A Tool for Collecting Experiences

Director of K-State 360 Christa Dell’Isola

Christa Dell’Isola, the Director of K-State 360, met up with PFA Intern Sadie Polson this week to share all things K-State 360 with our parents and families. Dell’Isola, a Missouri native, studied entertainment management at Missouri State University. She previously taught Algebra 2 for Teach for America and has worked for Financial Guru Dave Ramsey, Walt Disney World, and the Kansas City Chiefs prior to joining the K-State Family in August 2018.

PFA Intern: Christa, thank you for allowing PFA to learn more about K-State 360. We greatly appreciate you sharing information about this important program with us.

Christa: No problem! Thank you for asking me!

PFA Intern: Of course. To kick things off, can you share a couple sentences that describes what K-State 360 is to parents and families?

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A Premier Education Abroad Opportunity

Crystal Miller, K-State in Italy, Summer 2018

At K-State, over 800 students study, intern, volunteer, or research abroad every year. Students earn credit toward their KSU degree requirements, build collaborative international partnerships, and develop skills and competencies that give them an advantage as they enter a global economy and competitive job market after graduation.

Ask most education abroad returnees, and there is a good chance they will credit their experience abroad as one of their most influential and rewarding experiences in college. Upon a student’s return, their parents, too, often notice the difference in their student’s confidence and adaptability, their ability to act more independently and take initiative, and the way they manage stress and cope with adversity. Each of these skills and competencies acquired abroad is transferable to life back at K-State and after graduation. According to one parent of a study abroad student, “it was initially difficult for us to ‘let go’, but our daughter returned to campus with new perspectives, not only of global cultures, but observations of her own U.S. and Kansas culture as well. We feel that her K-State international experiences played a big role in determining her career trajectory.”

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Thrifty Giving with Powercat Financial

Powercat Financial’s Thrifty Gifting Holiday Budgeting workshop held in early November provided students tips and trick to reduce holiday financial stress. Trained peer financial counselors helped students learn ways to manage and save money during the holiday season on gift buying, travel, etc. A few of those tips can also be found on the Powercat Financial blog. We provided free food, fun bingo games and lots of wonderful prizes including two Country Stampede tickets. Students who attended also took one step closer to completing the K-State 360 College Financial Planning Badge, as this event qualified for one of the elective options towards earning that badge.

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10 Best Ways for College Parents to Stay Involved, on and off campus

Halfway through your student’s first year of college, you may or may not be used to this new phase of parenthood — where you follow the events of their life from a distance, waiting for them to tell you what’s new. After years of attending games and concerts, chaperoning field trips, and volunteering in classrooms and at their activities, you wonder if it’s possible to feel even a fraction of that connection to their new campus life.

It turns out, there are many ways for you to assist the college or university. Budgets are tight and schools appreciate family members stepping up to support their student and the institution. Your interest and energy is welcome both on and off the campus!

Here are some ideas for staying involved.

Attend family events on campus

The Office of Parent & Family Programs at your student’s college plans many events to bring you back to campus. Family Weekend (usually held in autumn, but sometimes second semester), Grandparents Day and Siblings Weekend allow you to reconnect with your student and enjoy all the campus has to offer. Be sure to sign up for the online family newsletter to keep up with campus news.

Be a Family Ambassador

Parent ambassadors are needed to help with campus events and as a resource for new parents and families throughout the year. As an Ambassador, you’ll get to share what you have learned about being the parent of a first-year college student.

Volunteer to host a Summer Roundup/Sendoff for new students

At Summer Roundups and Sendoffs, students entering college in the fall are able to meet other students, and sometimes faculty and staff, before the school year starts. It’s also a chance for parents and families to mingle and share useful information.

Volunteer as a mentor through the Career Center

Offer to assist the Career Center as a mentor. Support the students by sharing your expertise in resumé writing, interviews and internships.

These are just a few ways to stay connected. Keep an eye on the college’s website to see what activities are coming up, and check with the school to find other volunteer opportunities.

Attend campus performances and athletic events

College and university dance, music, improv and theatre productions offer high quality entertainment and are a fun way to spend time with your student and their friends. Look out for student art exhibitions, too. And of course it’s always exciting to cheer on the school’s student athletes.

Join the Parent & Family Council

This group represents the family perspective to university administrators and fundraises for the Parent & Family Association and the school. It is a great way to get to know other parents while learning about and supporting the college’s current priorities and projects.

Help the Office of Admissions welcome new families

The Office of Admissions loves having family members of current students write letters of welcome to the families of newly-admitted students!

Support the local community

Colleges work hard to have a productive relationship with the city or town where they are located. You can be a part of this. Collect food for the Student Food Pantry or contribute to a local non-profit where students volunteer.

Be a voice for the college with local, state and national government

Lending your voice to a cause that can improve your student’s college, or advocating for higher education in general, is quite impactful.

Talk to your student

Of course you already do this! But over winter break, and at other times, try asking open-ended questions that can lead your student to reflect and share more. These conversations will stay with both of you for a long, long time. This is, after all, the best way to be involved with their college experience.


Content provided by Priscilla Childress, Collegiate Parent