How could this happen to me?
College is harder than high school. If you are living on campus, you are now also in charge of setting priorities and managing your time without the safety net of your loving parent. Because you are often taking only 3 or 4 or 5 classes, you seem to have a lot of free time. And you were successful in high school, so just doing what you did in high school seemed like it should be enough, right?
Figuring out the Consequences
Academic Probation: What is it?
So, What Really Went Wrong? Personal Challenges.
What Else Went Wrong? Potential Institutional Challenges.
Setting Up Success: Personal Responsibility
How do you do that? There are things you can do on your own, such as securing appropriate medical treatment, therapies, and practices. You should do that.
A good place to start is your pediatrician or family doctor. Tell them what went wrong at school in terms of physical health, mental health, distractability, and so on. Talk about things that you knew you needed to do but did not seem to be able to get done. Talk about how you wish things have turned out. And talk about whether you have identified issues that could use a closer look by a specialist.
One specialist that you should definitely look into is a psychotherapist with experience working with college students like you. You should find someone who understands your interests and your priorities and with whom you could develop a trusting relationship. Your psychotherapist can help you understand how things are going, create strategies to improve how things are going, and simply help you document what is going wrong so that you can express that to other members of your healthcare team. At this stage of the pandemic, most psychotherapists can meet via videoconference, so they will be able to continue to meet with you once you are back on campus.
The other specialists that you need will depend on what you are experiencing.
Setting Up Success: Institutional Responsibility
At the same time, there are also things that the school will do to help make things more manageable.
You will need to get registered with the college's department that oversees accommodations and disability services. They will need documentation from your doctors identifying the medical and behavioral conditions that underlie your need for accommodations, describing the disabling functional impacts that your conditions entail.
The college accommodations specialist will be able to help you anticipate the problems that may arise as a result of your situation, and identify ways to neutralize the problems. So, if your anxiety makes it impossible to complete an exam in the regular exam room, they can help you make arrangements to take tests in an "alternate setting" that provides less distractions and allows you to take breaks to keep yourself calm. If you have trouble reading long texts, they can secure audible versions of your texts. If your intermittent migraines or IBS cause you to lose several days of consciousness a month, they can help you secure extensions for work that comes due during an attack. The key is to be specific about what could go wrong so that plans can be made to deal with the situation.
A Note About Anxiety
I have worked with many students who struggle with anxiety.
Anxiety is often under-treated for a variety of reasons. Some people don't like the idea of medications. Others think that overcoming anxiety is matter of will power or character. Still others think it shows weakness and will prevent you from seeking future opportunities. Some think working with a therapist is some sort of quackery.
Here's the bottom line: you are better off doing well academically while treating your anxiety than you would be bombing classes on a regular basis. Failing academically takes a terrible toll on your self esteem, and it is an exceptionally expensive way to do school because classes need to be retaken (or worse yet, you give up and never get your college degree).
In my experience, anxiety is one of the more dangerous conditions to your academic success and to your overall well-being. Please find the courage to pursue practices, therapies, and medications that help you work to your full potential.
Navigating All of It.
All the little details involved in sorting out your academic status, changing your habits, securing appropriate healthcare, and securing appropriate accommodations can be overwhelming. I work with students sort out their challenges, discern their interests and strengths, and secure the administrative support they need to get back on solid footing. If I can be of service on your journey, please contact me.
I love getting to know my students and their families. I feel privileged to meet people who love one another so deeply, and who are committed to the student's future.
Lofty goals? Perhaps. But it is critical that we focus our college selection on this student in front of us. It helps our student refine their interest in pursuing further education, so that they know why they are going to college, especially when the student might not consider themselves to be an "ideal" student. College is a lot of work and costs a lot of money, and our student's vision for what they want out of college will help them work though the tough times that will be part of the wonderful experience of college.
My process begins with questionnaires that let me get to know the student, through their eyes and the eyes of their parents. I ask about likes, dislikes, hopes, worries, assumptions, and visions. I include a functional questionnaire for students who are concerned about inclusion and accommodations. I review academic records, extracurricular activities, any any relevant health records. And I listen. All this is to make sure that the student is at the center of the college selection process.
We can get all this done on whatever timeline you have available. I have students start the process anywhere from middle school through senior year. I recommend starting during sophomore or junior year to give the student the best opportunity to get comfortable with their priorities and with their college selections. It gives us time to find our voices, test out some colleges in person, and to get our application materials built in a timely manner. Please contact me if you are interested in my services on your collegiate journey.
UNIGO offers several scholarships ranging between $1500 and $10,000 that give you a chance to earn some money for college just for writing a fun little essay. What flavor ice cream are you? What is so great about 5? Make me laugh. These are fun little exercises in essay writing that just might earn you a little money for college. Here is the link: https://www.unigo.com/scholarships/our-scholarships and good luck!
Several students with whom I am currently working are artists. Musicians, dancers, photographers, 3D creators, all who are talented and planning to continue to pursue their art throughout their lives. I encourage all students to attend a college where they can continue to explore their expressive potential, either through extracurriculars, electives, minors or even majors. We don't know exactly how they will end up fitting their art into their college lives, but I insist that they attend a college that has the capacity to develop their interests, in whatever manner turns out to the the right choice.
I am researching scholarship opportunities for artists and have come upon an interesting list of scholarships for their consideration. I share this website with you (https://www.format.com/magazine/resources/art/art-scholarships), in case you are interested in developing your expressive voice and interested in picking up a few hundred or several thousand dollars in funding for your education or your artistic projects. It takes a little patience to work through the list for scholarships relevant to you. Much of the work I am doing now is setting calendar events to check for the start of the next application. These are services that I can provide for high school and college students, but I also recognize that many students and their family will have the time and energy to work through these opportunities on their own. I wish you the best in discovering, earning, and winning funds to help support your educational journey.
Are you attached to your dog? Think that the scariest part of moving away is not having contact with a furry friend? You are not alone.
Knox College offers regular "pet therapy" sessions with their resident therapy dog, Olive Yu (I love you, too). At Knox, you can schedule 15 minute sessions to hang with Olive and help satisfy your "puppy time" needs.
This is a real movement on college campuses. Deaf Dogs Rock reports therapy dogs on campus at Yale Law, UCONN, Occidental College, Fordham University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Tufts University, UC Riverside, Caldwell College, Oberlin College, and Mercy College. Oklahoma State and Kent State programs are featured on NBC News' report entitled "Campus Therapy Dogs Offer a Helping Paw to Stressed Students." Forbes features Caldwell College in their article declaring "Pet Therapy is a Nearly Cost-Free Anxiety Reducer On College Campuses."
If you love spending time with dogs, check out whether your college offers pet therapy. Some colleges set it up as a campus even that welcomes walk-ins, other set up regularly-scheduled pet gatherings, while other set it up as a appointment through health or counseling services. If your college does not offer it, ask if you can set it up. Most colleges encourage students to set up clubs that meet their needs, and you can work with your campus to figure out a way to set it up, perhaps by contacting therapy dog certification programs to find volunteer dogs and their handlers.
I love using my dogs as part of my practice. Students relax and tell me more when they are half-talking to my dogs, which lets us really explore the things that interest each student in a really safe environment. I hope you find your way to the level of "doggy exposure" that is right for you at college.
Yesterday, my daughter and I went to Loyola University of Chicago to check it out. I had signed up for a two hour tour, trying to make good use of the Martin Luther King holiday. Too bad that I did not read carefully... it turns out that I booked the tour for Tuesday. The University was closed, it was cold, snowy, and buildings were locked.
Well, we were there, and the beautiful facility for the Institute of Environmental Sustainability was right in front of us, so we went to take a closer look. One of the math professors welcomed us in, apologized for the admissions office not being open, and we got to see where future environmentalists learn their craft at Loyola.
Loyola takes sustainability seriously, and their program permeates the entire University. The building is designed not only for research, but to be a model of sustainable practices in an institutional facility. Loyola incorporates sustainability throughout the curriculum, invites all community members to find their niche in sustainability practices, and sees their mission as an issue of social justice. Their mission resonates with my high school junior, who sees the great urgency of slowing down, stopping, and reversing the harm that human presence imposes on our planet.
Loyola’s Sustainability MissionSustainability at Loyola is driven by our Jesuit tradition of social justice, our service to humanity, and our role as an institution of higher education. It is embodied in an educational experience for our students and activities that seek to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We are committed to an inclusive process considering social, economic and environmental impacts and exemplified in a transformative education for our students.
This was a successful visit. My daughter reviewed materials from the website about campus dorms, the art studios, and the environmental studies program. She experienced first hand the university's commitment to the mission, evidenced in the amazing facility that we were able to enter. We experienced the friendliness of the faculty, students, and staff whom we briefly encountered as they scurried in and out of the buildings. We saw the beautiful setting on the lakefront, and saw the Red Line CTA train rumble by. She can see herself living on the campus and learning in this community.
We will go back for an official tour, and to meet people in the various academic departments. But we are glad that we went, and saw, and admired the great things that Loyola offers to future environmentalists.
Knox College promotes itself as someplace that offers students "the power of experience." That commitment to student experiences is evident everywhere you go on campus, and especially through the efforts of Nick Gidmark, who brought a 55 foot whale to campus.
The opportunity: The core building of the Umbeck Science and Math Center is undergoing major multi-year renovation that began this school year. This renovation includes a two-story 75 foot long space. Through his summer teaching at Shoals Marine Lab in Maine, Dr. Gidmark was aware of the skeleton of a 55 foot fin whale skeleton sitting outside at the Seacoast Science Center because there was no space large enough for it to be inside. Once Dr. Gidmark explained the great potential the whale had to educate at Knox, the Center agreed to send the whale to Knox.
The Power of Experience: Knox is nationally-ranked, small liberal arts college with a strong sense of community and a frugal midwestern work ethic. The Umbeck core will be under renovation until 2020. There is a lot of work to do to prepare the whale skeleton for display. How better to get that done than by creating a hands-on learning experience for the students that will result in a lasting legacy at the science center?
Starting in the Fall of 2018, faculty and students have dug in. Biology students are studying anatomy of the fin whale, cleaning and preparing the bones for display, and creating 3D models to inform creation of missing bones. Art Professor Andrea Ferrigno is researching cleaning and preservation techniques appropriate to the project, as well as techniques for constructing the missing bones. Theatre Professor Craig Choma is researching lighting techniques that will best display the specimen when it is ready for installation. Throughout this project Knox College students will have the opportunity for meaningful hands-on contributions toward displaying this amazing specimen on campus.
Once the whale is on display with the completion of the Umbeck core in 2020, it will take its place with the other smaller specimens already resident on campus for students to study. I am looking forward to visiting the whale and admiring the contributions of students from all over campus that will contribute to making the whale right at home in this small liberal arts college in the small midwestern city of Galesburg. Students who are interested in doing some hands-on work with this amazing project should take a careful look at Knox College for their collegiate experience. This is a place with a can-do attitude, that respects the variety of talents that each student brings to the table, and can provide the academic training that give students the skills to do great things later in life.
$40K-$60K is pretty much what colleges end up charging as their "sticker price." Tuition is only part of the equation.
Federal law controls the minimum stuff that has to be calculated in the cost of attendance. The law is at https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/1087ll. It basically includes:
The information regarding all of these costs should be available on each college's web page.
"Net price" can be very different from sticker prices. The Federal government gives us citizens (and the general public) a good look at the net price through two websites: the College Scorecard and and the College Navigator sites. Both web sites pull from the same data source, so you don't have to search both.
But remember that the devil is often in the details. Some colleges have very similar net price for all students, while others have significantly different net price based on the student's family income. You can find a general idea of your net price by drilling down on the detail under costs, where both sites show the average cost by family income.
If you would like to see your likely net costs for a particular college, you can go to the college's website and search for the "net price calculator." The page will ask for a few specifics about your family finances, and the college will return a net price, either online or in the mail. This is a great exercise to understand where you will start out financially. Then with a terrific application, you may be able to "beat" the net price by earning scholarships that drive down your personal cost to attend that college.
As always, feel free to contact me if you believe my services can help your student navigate this exciting time of life.
Since 1946, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra has developed young musicians through weekly rehearsals, private & group lessons, and challenging performance opportunities. Over 600 musicians aged 6-18 participate in multiple orchestras and ensembles, with alumni not only serving in top orchestras world wide, but also pursing careers as "teachers, community leaders, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and business professionals." As the mother of a former CYSO participant, I highly recommend anyone who loves music to consider participating in a CYSO program.
Auditions for the 2018-2019 Orchestra Season
Auditions for new members are starting soon, and anyone interested to trying out should sign up for an opportunity now. Before signing up, review the handbook and other information posted, so that you understand the kind of commitment you are making in time and energy. CYSO is an organization that respects each student musician, develops capabilities that surprise parents and students, and demonstrates the beauty of artistry through teamwork.
So many things are wonderful about marching band. You make great friends, get some serious exercise, play cool music, wear snazzy uniforms. In any event, my friend's passions got me thinking about marching bands in college.
I firmly believe that if you love doing something regularly, you should make sure that you have a way to continue that something while in college. The size, quality, and frequency is up to you, but it is good to go in with your eyes open. To that end, I started looking at college marching bands in Illinois.
YouTube is a terrific resource for determining what a college's marching (or pep) band is like. In addition to the big marching bands with enough musicians and dancers to fill the football field, there are an assortment of other configurations that vary in size, as well as in musical and choreographic challenge. Some of us just need a bunch of musicians to play with; others need performance time; others need to be musically and physically challenged to be part of a spectacle. Many of us can be happy in a number of different environments.
Whatever your preference, if you love marching band, part of your research into a potential college should include your options for continuing being part of a marching band. I've started putting together some relevant research. This first video play list simply looks into colleges in Illinois that have some form of marching or pep band with a reasonable sample on YouTube. As you can see, there is great variety in your options. All the students look like they are having a great time. And that is the key: there is a great time to be had at any college. Knowing the kind of great time offered at a specific college will improve the strength of your application, and will help you figure out how you will plug yourself into an activity you love, as soon as you get on campus.
Shepherding our children to adulthood demands our love, our attention, and our acceptance of who they are.