By: Jill Culley, Associate Director, Academic Advising & Assistance
Center for Student Academic Success
Congratulations on the completion of your student’s first semester at Gonzaga University! Your student will be joining you around the family table soon, and may be looking to you for help navigating and making sense of their first semester experience. The following are themes that may emerge over the holiday break, along with ideas and information to share with your student that may be helpful in overcoming these common first semester challenges:
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 student to log on and share. 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. Waiver forms can be obtained from the Registrar’s Office, College Hall 229 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are the grades not what your student (or you) were expecting? Stepping into college-level course work is a significant shift in thinking and doing; it is a space of changes and, in some instances, it comes with its challenges. Is your student accustomed to A’s and B’s? If they’ve set this as their standard, the grade reflecting their work here may be less than expected. If the strategies they used in high school are not complimenting their new academic setting, suggest they try something new! The following offices and resources can help your students be academically successful:
- Talk to the professors. No one is more invested in a student’s success than the professors. They hold office hours because they want to help their students learn and do well! Encourage your students to see their professors often to go over course material, get clarification on a concept or assignment, gain better understanding of course material, or to go over recent exams and quizzes to learn from mistakes. This is an invaluable resource, and it helps your student learn self-advocacy skills, which are so important to success in all facets of life.
- Seek on-campus resources for study strategies and tutoring. Some departments host weekly group tutoring sessions for students, while others have tutoring resources (like the Mathematics Lab and Writing Center). Tutoring and academic mentoring is also available to students in The Learning Studio, within the Center for Student Academic Success. To learn more about the resources available, visit them online at gonzaga.edu/learningstrategies or in person, in Foley Center Library.
- Not the right fit? Undecided on a major? Explore your options! Students change their minds many times while in college, and for some, this means a shift in their academic course of study. Others have a hard time choosing a major from the beginning. This is normal! A great way to learn about potential majors that may be of interest, or whether the new field of study selected will meet the graduation timeline, is through advising conversations with the professional advisors in the Academic Advising and Assistance Have your student contact us today to schedule an advising appointment.
First Semester Blues: It is not uncommon for students to have doubts about their college selection at the end of the 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.
Registration Issues: This spring semester was your student’s first opportunity to enroll for courses on their own, through Zagweb. For some, it was a huge success, but others may have experienced difficulty getting into the classes they wanted. Help your student understand the difference between a course need and a course want. As a new student, there are plenty of course options available to meet degree requirements. Encourage your student to consider all options available for registration. If they need assistance exploring these options, send them our way. We are available via email, email@example.com, by phone at 509.313.4072, or in person, in Foley Library 122. We are here over the break and happy to assist your student assemble a full-time schedule that puts them on track to a degree.
We wish you good health and happiness in the New Year, and look forward to welcoming your students back to campus soon!