Information for the parents of college students
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Posts from — May 2011

Your College Student’s Roommate Match

If your student is heading off to college and will be living in a residence hall on campus, she is probably wondering, and even nervous, about who her roommate will be.  This is only natural, as most students who will be living in a relatively small space with another student may be sharing a room for the first time.  You and your student may both be wondering how and when the college will be assigning roommates.

Different colleges use different methods for assigning roommates.  Some schools make matches randomly.  Other schools send students a questionnaire to determine some lifestyle preferences and then spend many hours making matches based on that information. In some cases students may be matched by computer. Many schools will allow students to request to live with a particular student as long as the request is mutual.

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May 31, 2011   No Comments

What is a College Summer Bridge Program?

Perhaps your soon-to-be college student has been invited to participate in a Summer Bridge Program at his college, or perhaps he is even being required to attend before he begins the regular semester in the fall.  Bridge programs may have varying names, but the purpose is similar at all colleges: to provide incoming students with the academic skills necessary to be successful in their college experience.

Bridge programs are designed to improve the preparation and ease the transition into college in the fall.  Students who attend, often students who are at risk or in need of remedial classes, may have a reduced need for developmental classes during their first semester of college.  According to a 2006 Journal of Higher Education, approximately 40% of students at traditional colleges and nearly 60% of students at community colleges take at least one developmental course during college.  According to the Economics of Education Review in 2010, fewer than 50% of students referred to developmental classes complete the recommended sequence. Students who are less prepared for college are less likely to return for a second year of college. Clearly, giving students a head start will help.

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May 28, 2011   No Comments

Helping Your College Study Abroad Student Stay Safe

Egypt, Haiti, New Zealand, Japan, Libya.  Within the past two years, political and natural disasters around the world have caused us concern and pain.  For those families who may have students studying or traveling abroad in an area struck by an unforeseen event, the pain and worry become enormous. Does that mean that you should hold your student close and not let her travel or study abroad?  For some families, the answer may be yes.  But many families realize the importance and benefits of studying abroad and want their student to be able to stay safe, but still have an international experience.

If your student wants to study abroad, you will naturally worry.  But accidents, disasters, and unforeseen events can occur anywhere at any time, even at home.  Understanding the situation and the program, taking some time to prepare, and discussing a plan with your student may help ease your mind somewhat.  We’d like to suggest a few things to think about, and to discuss with your student, as you consider the study abroad experience.  We’ve written several earlier articles about helping your student consider study abroad, preparing to study abroad, and supporting your student studying abroad.  Here, we’d like to consider specifically thinking about safety while studying abroad.

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May 22, 2011   No Comments

Study Away – Alternative to Study Abroad

Perhaps your college student would like the opportunity to get away from his campus and broaden his experiences.  But perhaps your student doesn’t feel ready or can’t afford to study abroad.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no opportunity for him to have the experience of expanding his academic, cultural, and personal experiences.  Many colleges formally offer a “study away” experience which can include opportunities to spend a few weeks, a semester, or even a full academic year in another setting.

There are many advantages to exchange, abroad, or away programs.  Your student may learn more about diversity and multicultural issues, will learn to live more effectively with differences, will have experiences that may broaden her mind and help her learn more about new behaviors and ways of living.  Your student will experience a welcome break from her own campus and routine; will have new opportunities for networking, friendships, and experiences.  Costs for domestic study away opportunities may be less than a study abroad program.

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May 18, 2011   No Comments

Can My College Student Dispute a Course Grade?

For as long as there have been college students and professors, some students have been unhappy with the grades that they receive in some courses.  Sometimes a student expects the grade he receives, and sometimes he may be taken by surprise.  Sometimes a student knows that a particular grade is coming, but he is unhappy with the grade.  Grades are intended to reflect the quality of the work produced and the level of understanding which the student has of the material covered in the class.

Occasionally, however, a student is not only unhappy with the grade he receives in a course, but feels that the grade is not appropriate; either because it does not fairly represent his work or understanding, or because a mistake has been made.  As a parent, this may be one of those situations when you want to jump in and help to make it better for your student.  Like so many other situations for your college student, this is one of those times when it is not appropriate for you, as parent, to step in.  If your student feels that he has been graded inappropriately in a course, he must consider his options and take any potential action himself.  As a parent, however, if your student shares his feelings with you, you can help him consider his options.

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May 11, 2011   3 Comments

Roundup of Helpful Posts for May

May marks the end of the formal academic year for many students.  For some, it is the end of the difficult year of transition to a new environment.  For others, it marks the end of their college career and a move to another type of transition – either to career or graduate school.  As the month begins, there may still be some stress for students – final exams may still be ahead, and many students approaching graduation are still uncertain about what their immediate future holds. For still other students, the college journey lies ahead, and they are thinking about approaching that first year of college. But whatever the situation, as May arrives, the end of the school year is in sight and most students are looking ahead – to the near, and more distant, future.

Last May we listed posts that may be most helpful at this time of the year.  BE sure to check out the roundup of posts for last May here.  Here are some posts, written since last May, that may also be helpful as you, and your student, face this time of transition.

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May 7, 2011   No Comments