Monthly Archives: March 2014

Get involved even before you move!

You can get involved with your selected college or university even before you are moved in and ready to study!  As Joel Bauman reports here, more and more institutions are making it possible to know who is attending what event.  They are also encouraging students (prospective and current) to upload ‘favorite pics of the day/event’.  This kind of connectivity allows you to get to engaged with your peers even before you are on campus.  Your parents will also be asked to post pics.

There are many ways to think about this opportunity:

— early engagement with peers;

— quick feedback to your college/university with regard to what you liked or didn’t like about the event;

— ways to share with others (parents, friends, family) about the event itself;

These opportunities for connectivity might seem like  ‘easy advertising’ for the college; but setting aside cynicism for a minute, it can be a way to begin to look forward to the relationships and opportunities you are soon going to be exposed to daily.  Think positive!  Get engaged through social media.  Get ready for this next step . . .

True Story?: “I told my professor I was at a doctor’s appointment”

A student came to me last week for advising.  She was struggling in one of her major classes.  She was working over 30 hours a week and was missing class or arriving late to class due to being overtired from work.  She told me she arrived at class 20 minutes into a 50-minute lecture; after class, the professor asked her to stay for a few minutes.  The professor proceeded to lecture the student on the importance of being on time to class.  The student did not attend the next lecture where vital information about the mid term was given out.  The student arrived late to the midterm; the professor refused to allow the student to take the exam.  The student told the professor that she was a doctor’s appointment; the student assured the professor she could provide documentation and the professor allowed the student to schedule a make up exam.

But, here’s the thing:  the student was not at a doctor’s appointment.  She was merely uninformed about the location of the midterm due to missing class too often.  In short, the student lied to the professor.

Is this OK?  Is this ethical behavior?

What would you do?

Shared Thoughts from a College Senior

Jonathan is a college senior and he’s already received a job offer, which he’s accepted! (Congratulations Jonathan – yay for employment!) In this short article he shares, what he has deemed as three “important principles … during his time in academia.” I think they’re useful to high school students, college students, and parents of both high school and college students; enjoy!  Reflections of an Employed College Senior

Tough Conversations

Coming to terms with the fact that you are facing challenges is never easy, no matter your age, but finding the courage to talk with someone about them can be even more difficult. As a student (high school or college), often it seems like everyone around you has things figured out, is happy, organized, and living life to its fullest; more than likely not. Whenever you are going through a tough time, find someone to talk to. High schools and colleges are filled with staff and teachers/professors who are willing and able to help students with their struggles. Do your best to not be afraid of the result of the tough conversation, you will feel better once you share what you are going through and more than likely ways to manage and ultimately overcome the challenge will be identified.

Where to Enroll? Part 2

I found out some shocking news this week, an institution I know well, has a 7% four-year graduation rate. Are you planning to graduate in four years?

If you are a college student, have you met with an academic advisor and mapped out your course schedule to achieve the four-year goal? In that meeting did you carefully discuss course sequencing to ensure the goal is realistic?

This university is not alone. There are numerous institutions of higher education across the nation with similar statistics.

High school students and parents, while making the decision on where to enroll, are you taking the college’s graduation rate into account? As ‘On The Quad’ states, the published graduation rate on an institution’s website is the six-year statistic, unless it is specifically notes the percentage is the four-year rate. When deciding how much you are willing to spend for a college education, the length of time to graduation is important. Is saving $3000-5000 annually, by going to a public school, a better choice than a private school, when their graduation rates differ by more than 20-40%?

Study Abroad

If you are thinking about studying abroad while in college, it is not too early to begin your research and planning while in high school. The college’s study abroad website should have most of the important details. I suggest you research the following:
1. How well/do I need to know the language of the country?
2. Is there a GPA requirement?
3. Do I need to have earned a specific number of units, or completed a certain number of terms, before being allowed to go?
4. What is the ideal term/year to be abroad?
5. Does my major matter?
6. Will the courses I take abroad count toward my degree? Can they be used for general education/major/minor requirements?
7. May I select a study abroad program not sponsored by this college? If I do, can the units be used toward my degree?
8. How much does it cost?
9. How much money will I need to support myself, and for incidental expenses, while being gone?
If you talk with students who have been abroad while in college, my guess is 99% will tell you the experience is completely worthwhile. Start planning early so you are able to make the dream a reality!

Mid Semester Challenges?

Are you struggling in a class?  Are you ready for the semester to be over (already)!?  You are not alone!

There will be peaks and valleys in each semester.  If you find yourself in a valley due to a challenging course here are some things to consider:

Why is the course difficult?  Is it the content?  Is it the professor?

If it is the content, reevaluate how much time you are spending outside of class studying for the class.  Adding  an extra 1-2 hours a week will give you the extra edge you need to feel less stressed and more confident.

If it is the professor, have you gone to the professor’s office hours?  We really encourage you to visit the professor in her/his office hours.  Professors (like all people) act differently in different contexts.  In class, the professor may just talk and go through the lecture without much interaction.  But, in an office situation, you may find the professor to have a different interactional style (perhaps one that is more helpful to your own learning style).  Try visiting office hours; write down at least two questions related to the class that you would like to have answered.  Approach your professor with those questions.

Faculty office hours are part of the campus resources that students have access to; use them!

Do you have a disability? Do you want to go to college?

If you, or someone you know, has a disability (physical, psychiatric, or intellectual) you CAN go to college!  While most people with disabilities state that they want to attend college,  only about 60% enroll (as noted in this article).

Coming straight out of high school may mean that you had access to resources (longer testing times, accommodating texts, etc) due to either a teacher/counselor or parent that advocated for you.  K-12 education has been increasingly successful in helping students with disabilities compared to colleges.

So, what does this mean for you?  You can be successful at college; but, you need to do your homework.  Once you have indicated where you intend to enroll, find out where the office is that is set up specifically to help students with disabilities.  At our university it is called “Services for Students With Disabilities” (SSWD).  Call or email the appropriate office to find out how to schedule an assessment as well as to find out what resources are available to you.  Find out where the counseling center is for advising and psychological services.  Your student fees pay for these services, take advantage of the resources and services you need to be successful.  These services may not be as automatic as you found them to be in high school; that’s OK.  Exercise your assertive skills and seek out what you need to graduate!

Where to Enroll?

Have you been accepted to more than one school of your choice?  How will you choose?

Go back to the notes you took about each of the schools where you have gained admission.  Re-read what you noted:  What is the atmosphere of the campus?  What struck you about the students?  Is it the rigor you were hoping for (too easy or too challenging?)?  Does it have one of your possible majors?  Remember the worksheets from Chapters 1 and 3 in the book – find those worksheets and take some time to reflect on your responses and information.

Check out student reviews of colleges at,, or StudentsReview. You can read what students think about many colleges.

If the schools did not offer you a financial aid package that will work for you and your family’s budget, then that fact alone may make your decision.

Be confident in each of the schools you applied to; take heart in knowing that there was a set of criteria that made each school you applied to a ‘good fit’ for you (or else you wouldn’t have applied).