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Old Man Winter has arrived in Spokane, Washington, which has some of us feeling the seasonal blues.  The weather may not be the only thing discouraging your student from the Gonzaga campus.  It is not uncommon for students to have doubts about their college selection at the end of their first semester.  For some, they may have had a hard time connecting or finding their niche; others may feel lost academically after their first major doesn’t work out like they’d hoped.  Whatever the reason may be, please encourage your student to reach out to a University faculty or staff member.  There are many resources available to students to help them get connected, like the varied selection of Clubs & Organizations, University Ministry groups and retreats, and residence hall activities.  If your student doesn’t know who to ask, direct them to Crosby’s Student Activities Office or Information Desk.  Your student is also welcome in Academic Services.  We can provide academic and referral resources to students for a myriad of opportunities across campus.

Here are some other topics that may come up over the Holiday break, and some tips on how you can help your student conquer these challenges:

  • Registration Woes: Spring semester is the first opportunity for your student to be in charge of choosing their own classes.  This academic freedom is not without stumbling blocks.  Many courses are full, but there is no need for panic yet!  Have your son/daughter try the following suggestions, if the course they need is full:
    • First: Clarify NEED versus WANT.  Encourage your student to be flexible in their course/instructor selection.  As first year students they have last pick of classes.  If their desired course is a NEED (usually only pertains to nursing, human physiology, special education, science and engineering majors in freshman years), then have your student pursue the following course of action:
      • Using a Course Authorization Form, see the Professor, Department Chair, and finally, Academic Advisor to get signed into closed courses.
      • No luck?  Go see the department chair and express concern, ask about waiting lists
      • Still don’t have a full schedule?  Off to the Dean’s Office!  Each College/School has it’s own Dean, so be sure your student knows where to go.  If not, ask Academic Services, advise@gonzaga.edu.
      • Keep checking Zagweb through the Holiday break.  Students will be making changes to their schedules now through January 20th, the last day to add courses to spring schedules.  The course your son/daughter is looking for, may open up.
      • Your student will have a full schedule before spring semester starts.  If he/she runs into road blocks, have him/her see their advisor, or visit Academic Services.
  • First Semester Grades: Your student can see his/her first semester grades on Zagweb shortly after Christmas. If you wish to see grades as well, ask your son/daughter to log on and show you. You may also request grades be mailed to you by the University if a FERPA waiver is on file. To learn more about this Federal law, click here.  To have your student complete a waiver, click here. Send completed waivers back to our office via e-mail, advise@gonzaga.edu or via fax, 509-313-4062.
    • Are the grades not what your student (or you) were expecting? The transition to college-level course work can be rocky, depending on your student’s level of preparation and study habits brought into their academic life at Gonzaga. Your student may be accustomed to A’s and B’s, and if they’ve set this as their standard, the grade reflecting their work here may be less than expected.  College-level work usually requires more effort on your student’s part. He/She may also need to re-evaluate their study habits.  What worked in high school may not be working now. There is hope! Encourage your student to engage in activities and seek resources for the spring semester that will help build confidence and academic success for future terms.  Perhaps an Academic Success Coach could help.  Academic Coaches work with students on:
      • Time Management
      • Study Strategies
      • Organizational skills
      • Building relationships
      • Getting connected to campus activities and resources
      • Procrastination challenges
      • Academic success skills

Looking ahead to January:

A new year often brings about resolutions, and perhaps, your student could try something new in their academic world.  In January, we’ll provide you with a few ideas to share with your student, as well as provide you with the basics of spring semester, an academic calendar and finals schedule to plan your student’s trip home for breaks and the summer.  See you then!

One Comment

  1. Very helpful information . Thanks. My son , a freshman is finding the work demands different study skills. he has to review the whole semesters work for math. in highschool they were tested section by section.

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