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Overcoming obstaclesVicki Nelson
Support your new college student by reminding them to use all the college resources that are available, particularly academic advising.
Their academic advisor will be a key ally throughout college. Meeting with their advisor and learning about course registration is an essential first step on the college journey, and regular meetings with the advisor can help your student stay on track to an on-time graduation.
Your student may receive a faculty or department advisor if they have already declared a major, or they may work with someone who specializes in first-year or undecided students.
Encourage your student to meet with their advisor as early as possible. At larger schools, the first meeting may be over phone/Skype or by email during the summer; at smaller colleges, students may meet their advisors to register for courses during move-in/welcome week. Either way, a prompt meeting means your student is more likely to get the courses they want and need during their first college semester.
The academic advising office helps students in academic difficulty, but it is also a very useful resource for all students. If academic advising can’t answer a question, they will put your student in touch with the appropriate department.
Over the summer, students should prepare to make the most of their higher education experience. To be ready for college, they do not have to know their major field of study. They do need to understand themselves as learners. Their motivation to study and work hard (and college coursework will be much harder than high school) will come from a commitment to reaching their goals and seeing their dreams come true.
Did your student take a personality assessment in high school like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? If not, counselors and therapists can administer the Myers-Briggs instrument or it can be taken online. There are also free online personality tests and your student can also visit the “Know Yourself” page on The College Board’s BigFuture website.