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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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 their college, or perhaps they are even being required to attend before beginning 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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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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Study Away — Alternative to Study Abroad

Perhaps your college student would like the opportunity to get away from their campus and broaden their 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 to have the experience of expanding their 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 their mind and help them learn more about new behaviors and ways of living.  Your student will experience a welcome break from their 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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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 they receive, and sometimes they may be taken by surprise.  Sometimes a student knows that a particular grade is coming, but they are 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 they receive, but they also feel the grade is not appropriate; either because it does not fairly represent their 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 to step in.  If your student feels they have been graded inappropriately in a course, they must consider their options and take any potential action on their own.  However, if your student shares their feelings with you, you can help them consider their options.

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