Friday, December 16, 2011

10 Tips for Parents of Struggling College Freshmen

Too many college freshmen see the first semester as an experiment. They treat it like high school with greater freedom. During high school managing time was not important and it was easy to earn good grades. In fact some high school students regularly studied for their examination while on their way to school. College has been a rude awakening in terms of the amount of time that a student must devote to studying. The best thing that a second semester college freshman can do is develop a success plan and follow it. A parent can sit down and ask what the students biggest frustrations where during the first semester. Often the student will say that they had no one to be accountable to and the freedom through them off track. Listen first then work on a list of changes together. Recognize that your freshman may be frustrated and feel boxed in.

Some freshmen don’t know what to do when they run into a difficult class and they do not like an instructor. All of their high school instructors supported them because they were one of the brightest students. A freshman must adjust to the unique teaching styles of their instructor and ignore their personal emotions. Talk with your freshmen about their experiences and how they differed from high school. It will help them to identify the habits that they must change. Procrastination does not work in college because there is too much information. Here are ten tips to turn around a freshman’s second semester:

1. Get a time management daily planner and increase your study time in your daily schedule.
2. Don’t procrastinate and study for examinations at the last minute. (Study 5 days before each examination)
3. Purchase books for all classes and begin reading them right away. Follow your syllabus and stay ahead.
4. Meet every professor in their office throughout the semester. Go to their office with prepared questions.
5. Get tutoring where appropriate
6. Get involved in study groups where students are earning A+ grades.
7. Focus on maintaining a positive attitude by reading motivational books or listening to recordings.
8. Organize and review your notes daily.
9. Ask your instructor questions right after class.
10. Go to the library to study and avoid friends who area distraction.

The first year in college is difficult for many freshmen. They are making a lot of adjustments on their own for the first time in their lives. There are breaks in between classes that can easily become social time. You can help your student by letting them know that you are listening versus lecturing. Some freshmen are still maturing into the person that they will become as a young adult. Get your student to follow the tips in this article watch your freshmen’s grades improve. College will be the stepping stone to your child’s future.

Dr. Stephen Jones is a college coaching and study skills expert. You can get a copy of his book the “Seven Secrets of How to Study” at or to obtain college coaching for your son or daughter call 610-842-3843.

Friday, October 28, 2011

College Bound Students Flocking to Social Networks

College Bound Students Flocking to Social Networks
Dr. Stephen Jones

The road to college is paved with social networks. Thousands of students are racing to social networks to fulfill their thirst for information about college life. Students are all meeting their new roommates on line. They can share their high school experiences and discuss likes and dislikes before arriving on campus. It’s a boom for Facebook where students are able to share pictures and videos. The college roommate surprise will never be the same again. Today students can read what upper-class students are saying about their campus. There is no lack of information. These are great times to identify the college of your choice. Colleges are working feverishly to keep up with college student trends on social networks. There are a lot of social networks targeting the college bound student.

Some of the social networks that are getting the most activity are Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Colleges are starting fun Fan Pages on Facebook that cater to high school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students. These pages have become a gateway into college life. A student and parent can find out what’s happening on campus every day. The social networks make it easy to learn about guest lectures, theater, concerts and sports events. A student can also learn the best time to visit a college.

A student can get an idea of the type of college that they want to attend by taking advantage of information that students are posting. The college bound student can ask questions and add comments that were previously answered during campus tours. Every high school student wants to know how current students like the residence halls. College admission offices are also offering students an opportunity to register on an internal website that feels like a social network. It is a great way for students to stay in touch regarding admissions dates, open house and campus visits.

Some colleges are able to immediately answer questions regarding financial aid and other issues like international studies. The colleges get undergraduate students involved in taking videos that give a taste of college life. Some campus staffs hire a professional video person to do a video recording of the best aspects of campus life. The videos get a lot of hits from individuals who are seeking college information. Students are able to view the videos on their cell phones and they can make comments too. A very creative video can go viral and generate a lot of buzz and that’s what colleges want.

Many colleges are tweeting information on Twitter. Twitter allows that participant to make many short statements about a variety of campus topics. Twitter gives a college an opportunity to give a moment by moment time line of an event that’s happening on campus. You can learn about and event and receive a link to get further details. A college student can also make a follow up comment about the event on the page were the event is tweeted. Twitter provides a quick response since the person who is commenting can only use 140 characters. You can follow several comments that are made about an ongoing event and arrange to meet the person live. Students are getting on twitter to get news and to learn about topics that they are discussing in class. There is always someone who is willing to help by sharing information on twitter.

Although Linkedin is a social network that targets professionals there are undergraduate and graduate students who are connecting on Linkedin. They have uncovered the tremendous amount of career support that’s available through the professionals who participate. As a student expands their network on Linkedin they are able to meet professionals who are in their career. There may also be a college alumni association that offers valuable career information. Alumni can be a great resource in terms of their experience and many are willing to be a mentor. Linkedin is a great place to get noticed when a student is searching for a job. The professionals are willing to answer questions when individuals join groups. Most groups are named right after their college, for example the Villanova alumni network. You can get to know people by being consistent in your level of participation on social networks.

The trend toward the presence of colleges on social networks will only continue to grow. Students want as much information as they can obtain. The colleges want to increase interest and potential applicants and they are very motivated to be active in the social networks. You can count on colleges getting even more creative in terms of how they are using social networks. Students are benefiting from the boom in social networks and continue to fuel the internet in how college can meet them where they live on the internet. To get more information daily “Like” my fan page at or contact me at 610-842-3843.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Secret to a Successful Principal and Teacher Relationship

In order to establish a successful principal and teacher relationship it’s important to begin with the end in mind. The start of a successful principal and teacher relationship begins with ones expectations. Great relationships are founded on good communication and trust. When there is a positive relationship both the principal and teacher have major enthusiasm regarding each students success. Today is an important day in the history of the principal and teacher relationship. Schools have been an easy target for budget starved governments. It’s time to be proactive in working together toward innovative leadership and instruction.

During the past few years, I’ve witnessed the total reorganization of entire school districts. The principals and teacher who were committed to a school for two or three years are changed with no warning. Many principals and teachers must change in order to receive the same level of success that they experienced in past schools. Starting in a new environment can be positive when the new principal and teachers work together. A book that I suggest is “Who Moved my Cheese.” It’s important to look at life from an opportunity perspective. Each day is a chance to do better than you did yesterday. When principals and teachers seek common areas of agreement much more can be accomplished throughout the school year. The important thing to recognize is the value of making changes to lead your school ina new direction.

One key priority for the principal is establishing a sense of confidence in the school staff. Each principal serves as a role model for teachers who aspire to become principals. Good relationships are established when there is ongoing concern for the resources that will help teachers to be successful. The principal should find ways to interact with teachers throughout a week. It may be convenient to work until the next meeting but addressing issues as they arise will make staff meetings less cumbersome.

The principal must have the same heart for the children as the teachers. A principal who teaches a class during the year has a better awareness of the students needs. This principal can collaborate with teachers who are providing similar interactions . For example, a principal who is teaching one of the sections of Algebra I can get ideas from other teachers. This will foster a greater sense of collaboration.

It’s important to have goals and objectives for the entire school. The principal and teachers should come together to create goals and share ideas. The summer should not be the last time that the principal, his staff and teachers meet. Everyone in the school should be aware of the goals and objectives. There should be some visible ways in which everyone knows that the school is making progress toward these goals. During regular staff meetings the goals can be part of the ongoing discussion.

Finally, it is important to expect the best for your school. When the principals and teachers are working together and they have high expectations for the student great things can be accomplished. The principal and teacher relationship is a key element of each school’s success. Today students need schools where they can learn how their knowledge applies in their homes and communities. If you are interested in your students success start with building a solid principal and teacher relationship. Dr. Stephen Jones is an author, professional development presenter and national speaker. You can reach him at 610-842-3843.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

8 Rules for Selecting a college

During the senior year parents engage in the annual ritual and conversation about selecting a college. Today college cost is frequently at the top of the list of issues that parent’s must confront. Even today money should not be the only reason that you select a college. The ability of your student to live within the philosophy of a college can make a big difference in their success. Sure colleges can put up an advertisement and send you a mailing every week but there is nothing like visiting a campus and talking to the faculty and students who have made a commitment to a particular college. The truth is there are over 6,000 colleges that a student can select from and all; very in size and mission. Some colleges are owned by your state, some private and others are community colleges.
There are eight rules that will help you to select a college that fits your needs. There are some simple rules that you can follow to reduce your stress. These practices will help you to make a reasonable decision about the top colleges that you select. Here are the 8 rules:
1. When you go on a college tour always arrange a meeting with a faculty member and student.
2. Always talk to the financial aid office after you have received their financial aid package.
3. Attend a classroom lecture to get a sense of the class sizes.
4. Check out what students are saying about the college on the internet.
5. Ask if advising is mandatory or voluntary. Advisors can be a critical part of a student’s success.
6. Ask if their professors teach classes or mostly teaching assistants.
7. Ask how many students from your high school have attended the college. It could be a sign that your former classmates really liked the college.
8. Take several friends with you and go on a campus tour together. Sometimes it is good to get more than one perspective on the college you are visiting.

It is never too early to start your college search process. Colleges are putting out all kinds of information every day. You can go on some college websites and download videos and podcasts about the college. Some colleges also offer CD recordings of several aspects of the college. Some colleges even offer a virtual tour of their campus. Dr. Stephen Jones is an author, keynote speaker and educator. His books are the Seven Secrets of How to Study, the Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide and the Ultimate Scholarship Guide. You can reach at

Monday, January 24, 2011

Athletes Need Drop Out Prevention Help too

According to Dr. Stephen Jones each year more than 50 percent of African American students drop out of high school and college. This has a significant impact on athletes who play sports. The drop out rate is greatly affected by poor college preparation and study skills. The lack of academic preparation is evident in middle school and high school. Too often athletes are accepted into college without the preparation they need to graduate. The student athletes’ athletic prowess is valued more than their intellectual abilities. Some athletes are also blindsided when they uncover the huge academic deficits when they start college classes. This crisis will continue because of the abundance of athletes who can replace the athlete who is in academic difficulty.

This problem must be attacked head on. Athletes deserve to be prepared to succeed at all levels. The NCAA requires colleges to have an academic support center. Unfortunately often the academic gap is too large even for the tutors that are assigned to students. Although these students have graduated from high school these students arrive to college academically three and four years behind their peers. Middle schools and high school students must get academically caught up prior to enrolling in the college. Many of these students are coming from schools that are not making Adequate Yearly Progress according to the standards set by No Child Left Behind. There are some very basic elements of the education process that are critical for students to succeed in college and they include the ability to read and compute.

This crisis is not one that we can ignore. Too many extremely bright African Americans are ending up in prison. This includes former college athletes who do not have a degree. Every so many weeks it seems that there is an article about some athlete who is escorted into a court room and sent to jail. This is especially detrimental when they leave a stable wife and children to make it by themselves. This foretells a disastrous educational outcome for their children who cannot afford to attend the better schools.

Some organizations and colleges are tracking the exceptional student athlete as early as ten and twelve year old. Yet attention and devotion to ensuring that they maintain high levels of academic performance is given little attention. It seems that there is a viscous cycle of poor study skills and academic preparation that’s repeated in inner city communities throughout the country. A fundamental academic requirement must be established for athletes early in their K 12 experience. Colleges and school districts must make a greater commitment to these students. There must be a break in the pattern of the deepening despair that has become a viscous cycle for so many athletes who do not graduate. Too many families can point to athletes in their family who have never competed a high school diploma or college degree.

Dr. Stephen Jones is a nationally recognized author who has written the “Seven Secrets of How to Study and the “Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide.” You can contact him at 610-842-3843 and at or visit
Posted by Dr. Stephen Jones at 3:09 PM 0 comments
Labels: Athletes, coach, College, counselor, education, high school
Monday, September 22, 2008
Time to Manage Your Money
We are living in a time of financial crisis. Corporations are laying off thousands of employees. According to the United States Department of Labor and Statistics, the number of unemployed persons rose by 592,000 to 9.4 million in August 2008. While banks and insurance companies like AIG are on the verge of bankruptcy. It seemed that no one knew exactly what to do. So the government is bailing them out. There are too many people talking about the crisis and too few that offer solutions for the common person. Panicking will only add to the confusion that is pervasive in the country. The financial crisis should force each family to review all personal bills, financial investments and family insurance plans. It’s time to manage your money.

A smart financial plan begins with your own research and study of your financial circumstances. If you have not heard from your retirement company give them a call. You want to maximize the amount of information that you use to make good financial decisions. Don’t feel pressured to move money around or to take your money out of the bank and hide it. Remember your money is insured up to $100,000 for each bank where your money is deposited. It is still a good idea to have a conversation with the bank manager about your money. Get everything in writing so that you know what your bank will and will not do if it fails.

This is one time when procrastinating does not work in your favor. Everyday you could be losing money. It’s time to have a plan of action that you will follow. Your job may offer a financial planning workshop. Make time to attend a session. Prepare a few questions prior to the meeting. Ask if there is some type of financial planning website that you can review.

Most adults have never attended any type of money management class. They do what their parents did with their money. Their bills were continuously behind and the house was loaded up with the things that they wanted. When a person who freely spends marries a thrifty person their can be conflicts over money. This type of conflict can strain any relationship. In fact financial management issues are one of the primary reasons that married couples break up. Agreeing to manage your money with some flexibility must be a priority. Each single person and married couple should have a financial plan.

One of the effective things that you can do at this time is cut back on unnecessary expenses. Eliminating fast food from your diet may be one way to save money. If you decide to make this change you will improve your health and financial situation at the same time. If you go to Dunkin Donuts in the morning, McDonald’s during the afternoon and to a restaurant at night you can easily spend $50.00 a day and by doing this several times each week you will spend hundreds of dollars. Taking control of your budget means looking at every aspect of your life and considering the changes you must make.

Your goal should be to pay off bills and cut up all credit cards. Did you know that if you are late paying one bill your interest rate on other credit cards can go up? Paying your bills on time is an important habit. When possible pay a little more money on each bill. Get a copy of your credit report and eliminate any statements that are not true. Remember that banks and credit unions will look at your credit report score when you want to make a loan or ask for a line of credit. Manage your money by putting yourself in a position to pay off your financial obligations.

We each have a free will to choose how to manage our individual financial obligations. Learn to be content with what you have rather than letting your friend influence your buying decisions. Purchasing a $4,000 flat screen television may not be in your budget. Remember you can enjoy freedom when you manage your money and plan to live a stress free life. While the country is in this financial crisis you can still have peace by following your financial plan. Dr. Stephen Jones is author of the "Ultimate Scholarship Guide "available at