Helping Your Student Balance Their Studies

College Coursework: What’s Expected?

While one key difference between high school and college classes is the course structure and frequency with which classes meet, other key differences include the expectations for your student to learn outside of the classroom. 

In high school, your student was accustomed to teachers developing curriculum to help them learn inside the classroom. They were assigned homework on a daily or weekly basis that complemented the learning that took place in the classroom. Their teachers gave reminders about important dates. Their teachers may have contacted you if they noticed your student was challenged by a subject. 

College is very different. Most of your student’s subject learning is self-directed and much of it happens outside of the classroom. Required readings, related research assignments, and homework are all outside-the-classroom learning. Professors may not always remind students about upcoming assignments; it is necessary that students track that on their own. 

Read more about what is expected and discuss with your student before they start classes.

Academic Resources and Asking for Help

Due to FERPA law, parents and guardians are not always updated on the academic progress of their student—even if you are paying for their education. If your student doesn’t understand the topic matter or is struggling in class, encourage them to reach out to their professor(s). They can attend office hours or request additional help or support.

In high school, their teacher most likely knew if they were struggling with a subject. In college, that may not be the case. Given the differences in the frequency of when your classes meet, the types of classes you have, and how the courses may be graded, the instructors will not always know if a student is struggling and may not reach out to students to provide support. It’s important for students to advocate for themselves and reach out for help. Learn what resources are available and how to help your student learn how to help themselves.

Procrastination, Time Management, and Tips for Maintaining Balance

Maintaining balance with studies requires some specific skills, and procrastination may be an issue for some students. Help your student identify how and why they procrastinate, then discover and discuss strategies with your student to help overcome procrastination. 

With so much learning expected outside of the classroom, there are some general guidelines and time management tips that can help them plan well to do well. The more they can plan ahead, the easier it will be for them to be accountable and manage their academic and well-being needs. Discuss these time management strategies with your student.

Your student will have competing priorities and interests in college. From classes and related assignments, to taking care of themselves for the first time, to exploring personal interests and making new friends, they may find it difficult to find the right balance. This may require some trial and error on their part, especially in the first year. Discuss these tips for maintaining balance  and prioritizing essential element to bolster academic success with your student.