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.