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Help Your Student Adjust to College AcademicsSuzanne Shaffer
Well, it’s almost here! The end of a long semester, both for you and your student. Right about now, your student is most likely working like crazy to complete group projects, submit papers, and prepare for finals. Depending on the institution’s calendar, they’re busy trying to wrap up the semester before Thanksgiving, while others may have another month to go.
What should your student be thinking about in addition to the mountain of pressure they may be experiencing? Successfully completing the fall semester and making sure they’re prepared for the spring.
Because they may not be focusing on any long-term tasks due to the pressure to finish what’s in front of them, your support and assistance is helpful. Your gentle reminders and research can help ensure they’re on track and in good standing.
At this point in the semester, students should know the following. Ask your student the following questions, and make sure they know where to find the answers.
If registration for your student has opened, the answer should be YES. If not, urge your student to register right away. Even if they are unsure or waiting on an advisor, tell them to register anyway just to get some seats. If the school offers a winter term between fall and spring, you and your student may want to explore that option in addition to spring classes.
Tools to help with registration:
Have an honest talk with your student, as I have witnessed too many parents being blindsided from news that their student has to repeat a course or that you have to pay extra as a result. Failing a course is not as devastating as it sounds, so help your student understand that it is not the end of their college career (or life) if they do end up failing.
Your student may be able to avoid failing the class through talking with the professor, accessing tutoring and support, or arranging for additional work. If failure is imminent, you may wish to ask if your student can withdraw. A “W” grade, while negatively impactful for financial aid, does not hurt your student academically.
Things to consider if failing or withdrawing from a class:
Your student’s advisor is a great resource to keep on track. Your student should know who their advisor is, where they are located, and how to schedule an appointment or access assistance.
Some things you should know about advising:
It is very common for students to get into real trouble due to lack of information about dates and deadlines. Make sure your student (and you) mark these important dates on the calendar.
The deadlines you and your student should know are:
Just as you may continue to struggle with pandemic-related stressors and are busy preparing for your student’s return and the holidays, your student is experiencing a level of stress unlike they’ve experienced before. Don’t be surprised if they are different than when they left for the semester. The transition home, even for a short time, can be stressful on the entire family.
Try to carve out a few minutes to talk with your student about their college experience and plans. It can help bridge the divide between their “old life” and their new one!
Our holiday shopping list is full of awesome ideas that are on trend with what students desire this gift-giving season.