Vice-President of Student Affairs Houston Dougharty talks with students and parents during New Student Orientation (this year, Aug. 21-25) about key communication issues when making the transition to college. Here's his advice:
1. What’s the communication plan? Given the many ways to communicate (cell phone, texting, Twitter, e-mail, etc.), students and their parents should agree on how – and how often – they will communicate to keep parents informed while fostering the student’s sense of independence.
2. Who sees the grades? Student records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Students and parents should discuss what level of disclosure is mutually expected and acceptable.
3. What about sex, drugs and alcohol? Many students have experimented while in high school, but for some, there will be new temptations. Success in the first year of college is often linked to a student’s capacity to make good social choices.
4. How to manage time and freedom? Good time management skills don’t come naturally. Also, when the winter holiday break brings students back home , do the old high school years’ rules still apply?
5. Whose experience is this, really? Parents and students need to have a plan for taking advantage of campus resources so that 1) families are confident their student is having a positive learning experience, and 2) students are the active agents in creating their own experience and being their own best advocates.
Contact Grinnell Communication to arrange an interview with Houston on these or related student life topics.