Shepard Academic Resource Center: Parent Articles
Hello, UP Parent, and thank you for visiting the First-Year
Parent and Family website!
Below you will find articles that address common experiences of families and students in the first year of college. These articles are a tool to raise awareness as well as provide guidance for the entire family. They will be updated on a monthly basis starting August 2015. If you would like some additional guidance or support on challenges or obstacles your student may experience, please give us a call or send an email, 503-943-7895, firstname.lastname@example.org.
March/April Article – Preparation for the Summer
It’s hard to believe, but we’re truly mere weeks away from the end of your son or daughter’s freshman year. And though they may have just returned to campus from spring break, there are only seven short weeks between the end of spring break and the beginning of summer vacation. So the following are some tips and opportunities available to your son or daughter this summer.
The sooner your students start this search, the better. The summer job search at home ideally should be started over spring break, especially if your student is not returning to a high school job – these jobs will fill up quickly when college students start to flood the market.
We do have an advantage in that U of O, OSU, University of Washington, and WSU all finish their spring semester in mid-June, several weeks after we end. However, the earlier your son or daughter can start putting applications, the higher the likelihood of his or her landing a job for this upcoming summer.
If your students are planning on staying her at UP over the summer, we may have job opportunities as well. UP remains open during regular business hours over the summer; as a result, we need students who are able to work, especially as many students return home for the summer. If your student is looking for an on-campus job, he or should regularly check our Student Employment website.
Finals Week Prep
At the beginning of the spring semester, we reached out to students who struggled academically during their first semester in college, and one of the issues we heard repeatedly is that students simply didn’t begin their finals week preparation early enough. Truth be told, it’s relatively easy for this to happen – the final few weeks of the semester are often packed with group projects and final papers, so the time to begin a review process simply doesn’t seem to be there. However, when your student doesn’t set that time aside, the pressure of that final week – filled with the stress of exams, the draw of generally beautiful weather, and the sadness that can accompany saying goodbye to close friends – can seem like far too much to handle.
So now that we’re still weeks away from that reality, your students should sit down and create a finals week studying plan. Some students may be lucky in that not all of their classes have final exams; others may find that they will be taking a test for each class in which they are enrolled. In either scenario, though, success is possible. It starts with breaking down each class into workable chunks – so if the biology exam is comprehensive, some important components might include reviewing notes, retaking old tests, joining up with a study group, and meeting a professor during office hours to talk about the questions that the student still has. If your students add this a little at a time to each week, they may be able to avoid the dreaded finals week cram sessions.
Students have two options regarding summer classes. Summer classes are available here at the University of Portland, and the summer schedule is posted online in the UP Portal. UP also provides summer housing for students who are taking classes. In addition, students can take summer classes near home, at a community college or other local school.
If your students would like to choose this second option, they should visit the website of the school they would like to attend, and print out the course descriptions of the specific classes they plan to take. They should then take the course descriptions to their school or college here at UP for approval; here, the classes will be approved or denied in terms of transferability to the University of Portland.
Students who are at less than 30 credit hours at the end of this term may want to consider this option; earning 30 credit hours or more is what defines a student as sophomore level, and a student’s class level can impact his or her registration order and the number of housing points he or she earns.
For questions regarding summer classes, your student can speak with his or her advisor, or make an appointment with us at the Shepard Academic Resource Center.
Move Out Preparation
Finally, speak with your student about the move-out plan. If plane tickets need to be booked, book them early – just to be sure to check with your student’s final exam schedule first, as those cannot be changed. If you live locally and plan on driving up to move your son or daughter out, you may want to consider making a trip or two before that final week to lighten the load and make move-out easier. During finals week, it may be hard to find the time to start boxing everything that your students have accumulated over the course of the year – which, believe us, can be a lot. The sooner you start this conversation the better; and if move-out is planned in advance, you may avoid that situation that happens every year – where parents show up to find their child, happily done with finals, putting the first piece of clothing in a suitcase or book in a box, the rest of the room absolutely untouched.