Conquering College: Strategies to Make the Transition to College Easier for Your Student

on .

Never Miss an Update!

fb2 Logo 2C 48px R

Logan's high school career had been a roller coaster ride. Diagnosed in 10th grade with ADHD, he struggled with chronic disorganization and lack of follow through. He was always at a loss for what was due and when, often convinced he turned in essays and homework that somehow never made it to the teachers.

His test grades were quite good and though organizing ideas was challenging, he managed to write articulate and well-conceived essays. They often arrived late however, resulting in docked points.

lecture hall help

Logan's mother, Marcia, was his staunchest advocate, marshalling together a team of support professionals through the years, ensuring he had current testing and a 504 plan with the proper accommodations. Marcia even created a short list of colleges for Logan and designed a schedule for him to follow to file his applications on time, complete with a detailed spreadsheet for him to maintain.

Logan was accepted at a number of excellent colleges largely due to his SAT scores and excellent recommendations from his coach and teachers; he was well-liked. His successful sports career in high school lacrosse did not hurt either.

But Logan had never acquired the skills he needed to make the college transition smooth and efficient.

He struggled his first semester, dropped a course, changed his housing twice, and barely attended a couple of his classes. The college put him on probation and Logan realized he needed to rethink what it was going to take to succeed as a college student. Like many students who transition to college, Logan found his new environment overwhelming. 

Students like Logan need better preparation in high school to ensure a successful transition to college. Where had the process derailed for him? Why was he so overwhelmed?

Here are just a few reasons why Logan was unwittingly predestined to struggle:

  • Logan never advocated for himself. His mother always did and never "dialed it back" as Logan got older and more able to self-advocate. He never really even understood 504 plans or what he was entitled to once he got to college. All he knew was that this plan had gotten him extended time on the SAT.
  • Lacking organizational systems, Logan was woefully underprepared to manage the many online processes he had to deal with at college, nor could he easily track and calendar work assigned by his instructors. He had no planner; he was used to the high school's system and relied on his memory and occasional phone reminders, often unsuccessfully.
  • Before college, Logan never had to deal with as much reading and note taking from texts and lectures. He'd only ever taken notes when specifically required to for a grade and lacked an approach that worked. Often he'd not taken notes at all, and school now seemed to demand notes at every turn. Further, he had no real idea how best to use the notes he did take, rarely even looking at them!
  • The college lifestyle and lack of structure left him with seemingly more "free" time than ever. He didn't know how to manage his available time, nor prioritize his studies. When he couldn't get started on an essay for one of his classes, he would call home in a panic, asking his parents what he should do. He didn't understand how to access support on campus.

Logan's struggles could have been alleviated with a bit of foresight and planning:

  • All teenagers must practice "organization" early on in their high school careers by creating systems, using planning tools, and identifying what resources they can draw from.
  • Self-advocacy needs to become the job of the student as early as 9th grade.
  • Students need to build essential skills for finding out where to go for help on specific subject matter, leveraging accommodations, and addressing conflict and communication issues with teachers.
  • Early on, students need practice evaluating options and making choices based on a set of criteria so they are better able to make decisions, an important but often overlooked skill.
  • Students must develop strategies for taking notes, practice breaking down multistep papers, and solidify their routines for test preparation before they head off to college!

While preparing your student early on—starting in middle school through high school—is best, it's never too late to ready your teenager for the transition to college.

SOS4Students' Conquering College Summer Workshop is a fast-paced, hands-on two half-day intensive program designed to make college easier to manage for your student. Students learn to take control of their time and their workload so they can be self-sufficient, independent learners.

  • Get and stay organized
  • Prioritize and balance college life
  • Make challenging decisions
  • Communicate with college professors effectively
  • Hone time management skills
  • Study for exams and tackle heavy college workloads
  • Access campus resources and self-advocate

Learn more & sign up today for Conquering College — our summer workshops fill fast!

Warmly,

Beth

SOS4Students Offers Solutions

You can get a jumpstart on the school year by using the upcoming summer to improve your child's study habits, tools, and approaches with our workshops and unique summer coaching program.

Learn More About SOS4Students Summer Workshops
Sign Up Today


Summer Coaching is a great way to learn new strategies without the pressures of homework.
Learn More and Sign Up Today

Early booking is encouraged.

Five Ways to Overcome Communication Missteps When Talking About School with Your Teen

on .

Never Miss an Update!

fb2 Logo 2C 48px R

David is the kind of dad who prides himself on knowing what's going on with his son's education. He has a grade system app on his phone which he checks religiously, frantically texting his son when he sees zeros and asking him what's going on.

His son, Matt, usually replies that the teacher has just not entered the grades yet. 

"This gets him off my back," Matt recently confessed to me at one of our coaching sessions. 

"How's that working for you?" I countered. 

We laughed, knowing that Matt's sidestep didn't alter his dad's anxiety-fueled questions and directives. His dad just can't help himself.

parent teen

"How hard is it to get your work turned in?" He fumes at Matt regularly, eyeing the missing assignments. "Why aren't you getting the grades you should be? You can forget Berkeley (Matt's top school choice) at this rate." 

Father and son are in a constant state of verbal combat—a state of dysfunction that could be eradicated if dad were to make just a few tweaks in how he approaches communicating with his son about school. 

Let's look at five common missteps parents make when talking about school with their kids, plus some suggestions on how to make communication more effective.

MISSTEP #1. Asking "Why" questions about grades and homework, such as "Why haven't you started?" and "Why didn't you study more?"

Problem: Sounds accusatory and puts student on the defensive.
Instead: Make an observation that is a statement rather than a judgement that sounds like a grilling. "It looks like you are having trouble getting going on your homework. If I can support you in any way, let me know." 

MISSTEP #2: Saying "You'll never…" 

Problem: Sweeping generalizations framed negatively won't motivate your child. "You'll never" is also accusatory, judgmental, and threatening. 
Instead: Make a constructive suggestion to avoid a negative prediction. "Matt, if you are struggling with your stats class, can I help you find a tutor?" or "What goal do you have for yourself in this class and is there any help you need to get there?" 

MISSTEP #3: Telling students to study harder, focus, or apply themselves.

Problem: There is no specific action for a student to take with these empty directives. It assumes the student put forth a weak effort the first time. What does "harder" look like? What are the steps a student takes to focus?
Instead: Know that students don't always know how to study and that they benefit from specific and concrete suggestions. Students need techniques and processes to study for different subjects and types of tests. 

MISSTEP #4: Reminding students to take responsibility and to be accountable.

Problem: Such reminders come off as preachy and are easy to tune out. They lacks concrete actions. 
Instead: Help your student identify next steps he or she can take to solve the problem independently. For example, is excessive absence from school leading to missing work? Don't come to the rescue or solve the problem yourself. 

MISSTEP #5: Saying something to your child that you wouldn't want said to you. 

Problem: Comments from you that unintentionally hurt a teen's self-confidence or feelings of efficacy are best left unsaid. For example, "This doesn't look like your best work" or 
"You could've put more effort into this paper" are judgements that have no constructive intention. These are venting comments.

Instead: Ask what the student felt about the assignment or test. Find out from his or her perspective what worked and what didn't. Listen actively without comments. Offer to be available for help or to find the help needed on the next go.

Good parent/teen relationships start with effective communication. When it comes to education, schooling, and all matters related to your child/student, it behooves parents to work in partnership with their teens to foster more positive and productive communication.

If you want to explore how you can foster better communication with your teen or ways to boost your child's organizational, study, and note-taking skills, please contact me directly or see links below to our summer coaching and summer workshop offerings.

Warmly,

Beth

SOS4Students Offers Solutions

You can get a jumpstart on the school year by using the upcoming summer to improve your child's study habits, tools, and approaches with our workshops and unique summer coaching program.

Learn More About SOS4Students Summer Workshops
Sign Up Today


Summer Coaching is a great way to learn new strategies without the pressures of homework.
Learn More and Sign Up Today

Early booking is encouraged.