Shepard Freshman 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. 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.
September 2014 Article 1 - Student Employment
September Article 2 - Homesickness Revisited
October Article 1 - Midterm Grades
October Article 2 - Volunteering
November Article 1 - Registration
November Article 2 - Transportation
December Article 1 - Finals Support
December Article 2 - Wrapping Up and Looking Ahead
January Article 1 - Getting and Staying Healthy
February Article 1 - Get Involved
February Article 2 – Majors, Internships, and Careers – Oh My!
Recently in the Freshman Resource Center we have met with students who are starting to think ahead to next year. They recently went through housing selection and decided where and with whom they want to live. Now the big decision seems to be which classes are necessary to take next semester – and related to that, the bigger questions of majors, internships, and careers.
Some of the students we meet with are feeling no conflict over classes and majors – they have started out fairly confident in their major choice, and the classes they’ve taken so far have confirmed they are on the right path.
Others started out in this first category – confident in their major choice – but the classes they’ve taken thus far have instead confirmed they are not interested in that original major at all. We are meeting with some of these students, and we are hearing they are concerned they are “too far” into the major to make a different choice now. If your child is one of these students, we want to assure you (as we do them) that no one is “stuck” in a major this early. Many majors have room for electives, so classes can transfer from major to major – and even if electives in a certain major are limited, taking additional classes in future semesters or signing up for summer classes (at UP or a local community college) can often get your student caught up in his or her new major. Talk to your student about making an appointment with us to review the specifics of any major change.
Lastly, we are meeting with students who are unsure of which major they want to choose – but think they have to know…now. When we meet with these students, we talk to them about their interests, and help them to think about classes for next semester that will work towards any major but also allow them to pursue potential interests. We also refer them to the Career Center to take interest surveys and meet with Career Service professionals.
In fact, we refer students from each category to Career Services. As noted, they can help undecided students move towards a major by reviewing interest surveys, discussing potential careers, and showing students what can be done with each UP major. Career Services can pair students who have recently decided to change majors with professionals in that field for informational interviews. Students set on a particular major can benefit from meeting with Career Services to prepare a resume for future internship opportunities and to learn how to network within that field.
No matter where your student is in deciding on a major and career, it’s never too early to get started working with Career Services!
· Are your students in a writing intensive class, or a math, speech, or language class? Send them to the Learning Resource Center in Franz 120, where our Writing Center and Math Resource Center are located, and where speech and language tutors are available.
· Is your student experiencing test anxiety or concerned about his or her time management? Refer them to Brother Thomas Giumenta, our Learning Assistance Coordinator; he helps students work through test anxiety, understand time management techniques, and he provides strategies on such topics as reading and comprehension, note-taking, studying, and learning and remembering.
· Are your students’ stress levels affecting their ability to sleep or study? Work with them to make an appointment at the Health Center, where they can meet with professional counselors to talk through issues and help them understand stress management.
· Are your students struggling in particular classes? Advise them to meet regularly with professors during office hours to get questions answered, to spend at least two hours studying for every hour they are in class, and to be active in their studying by forming study groups and working with peers.
· And if your student has any other questions about resources available on campus, refer them to the Freshman Resource Center – we’ll work with them to get them connected to the best resources.
The second and most important thing you as a parent can do during this stressful time is simply to give support. Understand that, after about 10 years of middle and high school academic experience, they have had a little more than 10 weeks to adjust to the academic standards at the University of Portland – and there’s a natural learning curve and some stress associated with that.
Send a note letting your students know you support them – email is great, but few things cause more excitement at college than “real” mail. Or, in the same vein, consider a care package; make your own or utilize one of the options UP offers.
So when you get those frantic phone calls home, the important things to remember are to listen, give support, and make sure your students are well-connected to our campus resources. And remind them that, no matter how stressful the time in between, it’s just a few short weeks until they’re home again with one semester of college under their belts!