Preparation for College Life – Part II

Preparation for College Life Part II—Questions to Ask and Where to Ask Them.

by Shelly A Meyers, M.S. Ed. 

August, 2007 

The college campus can be a very exciting and intimidating place. Locating the appropriate buildings, finding services, and surveying the off-campus community can be daunting in the beginning. So where do you start? There are questions you or your child can ask that will make this part of on-campus living much easier. 

Where are my classes? When students receive their schedule there should be a building location and room number indicated next to the class number and title. Usually a campus map is not attached to the schedule. When your freshman goes through orientation they should receive a student handbook or planner—the map is usually located there. If not, find the dorm resident assistant (R.A.) to ask for directions. Usually during move-in weekend there are designated faculty, staff, and students to assist with this as well. Be sure not to wait until the first day of classes to locate the classrooms. Classroom numbering doesn’t always make sense, and on a big campus such as a state university this may mean the difference of several miles between buildings.  

Where do I eat? On a small campus there may only be one dining facility or cafeteria. The easiest person to ask is a fall athlete. Chances are they have been there for a few weeks for camp and are now seasoned veterans. On a large campus there are several dining facilities, and your child’s meal plan may only work for one. Be sure to ask wherever you purchased the meal plan, usually student services. Again, the R.A. is a good resource as well. 

When is tutoring or study hall? If your child is an athlete, these times will be made known by the athletic coach or NCAA/NAIA athletic coordinator. If not, contact your disabilities services office and make an appointment with the director or coordinator to schedule your tutoring. Be sure you read the guidelines pertaining to absences. Some programs will discontinue services if attendance becomes a problem. The best disabilities services will have one-on-one tutoring that will be catered to your child’s schedule so be sure to ask if these services are available.  

Where are counseling/ medical services? Your disabilities services office should have this information as well. If you have decided not to use those services, you can check with your student services office as well. Usually an R.A. would know, but there is a confidentiality and confidence issue that should be considered. 

One last point—There are many opportunities to get involved at the collegiate level. There are sports, clubs, societies, intramurals, and socials. If your child suffers from any sort of depression, encourage him/her to get involved. Be sure that the disabilities services office is aware of the signs of depression as they present in your child. Call often the first few weeks, even if they don’t answer the phone. Knowing they still have support can mean the difference in a successful first semester experience. 

by College Coach, Shelly A Meyers, M.S. Ed.   

Preparation for College Life Part I

What to Expect and What Not to Expect   
~ by Shelly A Meyers

The anticipation of sending a child to college can be overwhelming. For the first time your child will be responsible for doing the laundry, finding food, doing homework, and managing money without the help of you, the parent. So what should you expect? College is tough for the “regular” kids—and your kid happens to have ADHD. This poses a few additional worries. For the first time your child will wonder what happened to the laundry fairy that brings the fresh clean clothes…she’s on vacation!! So, teach your child to do the laundry at a laundromat before you send them off. When you go for the campus visit ask where the facilities are and how much it will cost per load. Stuff a roll of quarters into the suitcase so that laundry can be done at least until fall break.  

Finding food is the next venture. If you have bought the meal plan, it should last the entire semester depending on the plan, so be sure to read the fine print. Some campuses allow students to eat every meal every day; others only have a set amount of meals before the student is cut off or has to pay an additional fee for additional meals. If your child is an athlete it is imperative that he or she stays healthy—so you’ll have the aid of athletic trainers. One thing to remember is that appetite is altered by some ADHD medications, so the trainers need to be made aware so that modifications can be made if need be. You may have to educate the head trainer for the signs that you child has not eaten. Trainers monitor for rapid weight loss, but there may be other signs unique to your child’s situation. Also, be sure your child budgets for eating out. Cafeterias may only serve two meals on weekends, so make sure the schedule is posted or can easily be found in your child’s dorm room. 

HOMEWORK, done, done, donnnnne! The good thing about homework is that on college campuses there are loads of resources for getting academic support. Talk to your disabilities services advisor, as programs differ drastically in the services they provide. Some allow students to schedule appointments for tutoring while others have unlimited one-on-one tutoring for each class. Some colleges have a tutoring center that operates on a first come, first served basis. Do not expect the professors to call you and tell you that your child is struggling. You will find out when the mid-term report card comes or when your child fails the semester. Don’t wait to ask questions. Here’s a tip—we live in the digital age which means that grades are now posted on-line, usually through the college website. Ask your admissions rep what the policy is on parental access. Some colleges do not allow parental access without student consent, so you’ll want to handle those situations appropriately.  

Money management can be the toughest. Do not send your child to school with a blank check or a credit card. Most banks now have a debit card system that allows you to control how much money is allotted and spent. Chances are, the first semester will be a very expensive one. Teach your children how to manage the money they have before you send them off to the land of pizza and beer…yes they do become two major food groups. Even if your child doesn’t drink, he/she will spend—so teach them to do it wisely. It may not be a bad idea to have them apply for on-campus jobs to make their own spending money. Many colleges now have their own debit system that works at on-campus facilities such as cafeterias, book stores, and laundry facilities. Check with your admissions rep for details. 

Note:There are many more facets of college life that parents need to be aware of. Next month’s article will discuss questions you need to ask and where to ask them.  SM

*You can reach Shelly Meyers at: smeyers@limestone.edu