Should My College Student Consider Withdrawing from a Class?

Your college student has received their midterm grades.  They may be pleased and feeling relieved, or may have some cause for concern.  Now is the time that your student needs to do some serious thinking about how they will approach the second half of the semester.  If all of their grades are good then your student knows that they are on the right track.  If some, or all, of their grades are weak, then it is time to think about a new approach.

Your college student may, or may not, share midterm grades with you.  If your student has some low midterm grades, they may view this as a failure.  You may need to help your student put these grades into perspective and make some decisions about the second half of the semester.

Withdrawing from a college class is not the same thing as dropping a class early in the term.  At most institutions, students have an option in the first few days of the term of dropping a class.  This is important for students who find that they are in the wrong level of a class, or that the class is inappropriate or of no interest to them.  Classes that are dropped at the beginning of the term generally do not show up on the student’s permanent record.  Withdrawing from a class later in the term usually results in a “W” appearing on the student’s transcript.  The “W” has no effect on the student’s GPA (Grade Point Average).

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Why Is My Student In “Developmental Classes”?

The step from high school to college may actually be better termed a large leap.  Students need to make important changes in their expectations, approaches, habits, attitudes and responsibilities.  For students who are moving away and living at school the challenges are even greater.  Although most students understand that there will be significant changes in their social world and in their independence and responsibilities, many students – and their parents – underestimate the significance of the academic differences between high school and college.

Although they may be ready for college in many ways, a portion of students may not be ready for college level academic work.  Most colleges recognize that some students need to improve academic skills or fill in gaps in order to enhance their chances for academic success.  These students needing extra readiness skills may be placed in “developmental courses”.  Although these courses may have different titles or designations at different institutions, their purpose is the same: to help the student gain proficiency in basic skills in order to help him succeed.

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Why Your College Student Should Talk To Her Professor If She’s Struggling

Many college students, even the best college students, struggle at one time or another.  It may be a difficult time for the student, it may be a difficult subject for the student, or there may be a teaching/learning style issue with the instructor.  Whatever the reason for the difficulty, it is often hard for a parent to watch a student struggle.  Parents may feel helpless and may want to step in to help.  Parents can be helpful, as always, by being supportive.  However, they can also be helpful by encouraging their student to address any difficulties.  By encouraging your student to take some action, you are sending them the message that you believe that they can take charge of what is happening in their life.

The first and best place for the student to begin dealing with the issue of academic difficulty is to talk to their instructor.  Students and their professors have the same goal: the student’s success.  This involves a shared responsibility.  A conversation with the instructor is a good way to explore the problem and begin to formulate a solution.  Most difficulties only get worse when they are ignored or when there is no communication.

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Ten Suggestions to Help Students Through the Stress of Midterm Exams

Midterm exam time is a stressful time for most students.  For many students, midterm exam time comes as a wake-up call.  The beginning of the semester has progressed smoothly, or so it seems, and then suddenly your student realizes how much there still is to do on that paper or project, or how many chapters are yet unread, or how much material must be memorized for an exam.  Although some students may have had large midterm or final exams in high school, for some students this may be a new experience.  This may be one of the first big college reality checks for your student.

College parents may feel helpless as their college student begins to worry or even panic over exams.  This is one of those college moments where your student needs to figure out how they will cope.  However, there are a few things that parents can do to help students through this stressful time.

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Helping Your College Student Be a Better Student: Twelve Questions to Ask

Your college student may have been an outstanding scholar in high school, or he may have struggled throughout his academic career.  His patterns of being a student have been set for years.  However, college provides a new academic start for students.  Students who breezed through high school may find themselves challenged for the first time.  Students who found themselves labeled as poor students in high school may find that the fresh start gives them new energy and perspective on their studies.

Whether your student is encountering academic difficulty for the first time in college, or has fought this battle before, you may receive the phone call in which your student worries about her grades, complains about the amount and difficulty of the work, is aggravated at the professor, and is generally discouraged.  Academics in college are very different than in high school and they often require a new approach.

What is a parent to do?  First of all, listen.  Let your student vent.  Sometimes, that may be all that is necessary.  But second, ask some questions to help your student try to figure out what he can do to make things better.  Help him think about taking action.  Here are twelve questions that you might ask your struggling student to help him think through the issue.

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Two Habits That Will Make Your College Student Stop Listening To You

As a college parent, you experience a changing relationship with your college student once she heads off to college.  During her growing years, you have functioned as caretaker, worrying and working to make sure that all has gone as well as possible in many areas of her life.  Once your student goes to college, you will have less contact with her everyday life.  This doesn’t mean that you will necessarily have less communication with her.  Conversations change from “Where are you going?”, “When will you be home?” and “You need to pick up your shoes,” to more interesting and potentially more meaningful topics.

Most of us value our conversations and discussions with our college students.  We want to know how their lives are unfolding, what they are thinking and feeling, and we want to share our thoughts with them.  Chances are that our students want the same thing.  However, even with our best of intentions, there are two conversational habits which are what Rebecca Shafir in her book The Zen of Listening calls “listening stoppers”. We probably don’t even realize that we are doing these things.

Take some time to consider whether you might be guilty of either of these habits.

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Helping Your College Student Find Support On Campus

As a college parent, you want to support your college student in any way that you can.  You talk on the phone (but hopefully not too often), you send mail (students love to find something in their mailbox), you send care packages, you listen when they share joys or worries; but there is a limit to what you can do.  In your attempts to help your student find their increasing independence and sense of responsibility, you need to help your student find and use appropriate on-campus support systems.

Your college student may continue to turn to you for help.  Or they may feel that being grown up means that they need to do everything for themselves.  In either case, your student may not be finding and taking advantage of the resources available on campus.  Be there, but help your student consider who else might best help.  Ask questions and suggest that your student investigate some of the possible support available on campus.  Here are fifteen possible sources of help.

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What To Do If Your Student Is Academically Dismissed From College

When you send your student off to college you hope and assume that he will be successful.  Most students are successful and do well.  However, some students struggle – either socially or academically. No parent wants to receive the news that his or her student has been academically dismissed from college because of poor performance.  It is distressing and disheartening news.  But it does happen, and parents need to help students deal with the situation.  Although you may be disappointed, and possibly angry, your response may be a large factor in helping your student move forward.

Here are some things to consider if your college student is academically dismissed from college.

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Ten Things To Do If You Need To Call Your Child’s College

As a college parent you’ve listened to all of the advice and you’re working hard to help your college student gain independence and responsibility.  You encourage her to handle her own problems and talk to the appropriate contact people at the college when she has questions or problems.  But something has come up and you feel that it is absolutely necessary for you to step in and talk to someone at the school.  What do you do now?

Here are ten things to consider that will make your phone call effective.

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