Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cheers to a great summer!

The 2011 – 2012 school year is coming to a close and we would like to thank you for reading the Parent and Family University blog!  We know that each of your students have faced their own challenges this year, but we hope that the information provided here has assisted you as you assist them in overcoming those challenges.
If there is anything that Parent and Family Services can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact our office.  Have a great summer!

Crystal Nance
Parent and Family Services Coordinator
Northern Arizona University

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Preparing for Your Student to Return Home for Summer

As of today (April 11, 2012), there is officially one month left in the semester.  On Friday, May 11 at 10 AM, many students will be graduating and heading on to the next phase of their lives, while freshman students will be moving out (or have already moved out) of their residence hall rooms.  Summer vacation presents the opportunity for many things, including leisure, work, summer school, among other things.

You may have already experienced some growing pains with your student during their month-long winter break.  From that experience, you, your student and other family members may have figured out how to negotiate the changing relationship at hand.  Here are a few tips on how to make you and your student’s summer vacation at home a more enjoyable experience for all:

Encourage your student to search for a job or volunteer opportunity
Having something to consistently do for the summer will make the time better for everyone, but more importantly your student.  He/she has been accustomed to maintaining a busy schedule of attending classes, meetings, campus events, even making time to hang out with friends and dealing with that change might be difficult. Searching for opportunities now can truly make a difference.

Curfew or no curfew?
Your student has not been accustomed to a curfew for the last nine months, so getting home at 2 AM might seem normal for them, but a nightmare for you.  Talk with your student about boundaries before things get out of control, for the sake of all involved.

Has your student considered summer school?
While there is a cost involved, summer is a great opportunity to take classes to stay on track or get ahead.  Students should talk with their academic advisor about what courses to take that will assist in their degree progress and will transfer to the university.  Summer financial aid is available for students and they should talk with their financial aid counselors about such resources.

Most all of, talking with your student will prove to ease the transition.  It will be a period of adjustment, but being aware of how things can play out will allow you to have those critical conversations with your student...before May 11. 

If you have already had at least one student go away for college and return home for the summer, feel free to share your experience.  Your thoughts just might help another parent!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Internships Offer Introductions to the Post-Graduate World

       In an already competitive workforce, what will make your student stand out among the competition? Internship experience!  Internships allow students to gain practical experience in the field(s) they would like to pursue and determine if the interest is still there.  

       Now is the time for students to step up their search for internships as deadlines vary, even as a freshman in college.  The Gateway Student Success Center just sponsored a career fair on campus a few weeks ago and their staff is always available to assist with writing resumes and cover letters, as well as provide other information about career services.  As a parent, you might have some questions about how internships can truly benefit your student and we hope to address them here.

Are internships paid or unpaid?
It depends.  There is much debate about the legality of unpaid internships, but whether or not your student gets paid is dependent on the organization. Information regarding pay should be made clear up front.  Students may also college credit for internship experiences and should consult their academic adviser for particular details on how to do so.

Where should my student search for internships?
First, he/she should start with Gateway Connects, then talk with the internship contact in their respective academic department.  They can also directly search for opportunities with the company or organization they are interested in working for. 

What should my student expect from an internship experience?
Practical experience! You’ve heard the stories about the intern being responsible for getting coffee for the boss and that should not define their experience.  The assignments might start off small, but interns have been known to contribute to projects in a major way!  Overall, your student should be able to apply what they have learned in the classroom and walk away from the experience with the ability o articulate exactly what they learned.

How will my student benefit from being an intern?
They will gain more practice in learning workplace etiquette and how to properly interact with people from diverse backgrounds.  Additionally, it is the opportunity to meet people within their desired career field that may later serve as a reference for future employment or provide connections for other opportunities. 

We wish your student all the best in their quest for an internship!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Before You Drop a Course, Consider This!

We are in the midst of midterms and Spring Break is a few days away.  Your student may be feeling the pressure of coursework, extracurricular activities, work duties, along with general life obligations.  Friday, March 23 is the deadline for students to drop individual courses.  If they begin to think about dropping courses for the semester, keep reading for a few things to consider before they make the final decision.

How do you feel about your academic progress up to this point?
Encourage your student to be open, honest and realistic about this.  If they require additional assistance through tutoring or Supplemental Instruction, encourage them to seek help now.

Have you met with your professor/instructor about your progress?
This is a key factor in the discussion.  Students should consult with their professors to determine if a withdrawal is the best decision.  They will be able to have discussions with your student about their progress in a particular course.

Have you talked with your academic adviser about how dropping a course will affect your degree progress?
Your student’s academic adviser will be able to discuss options with your son/daughter and be able to show them how dropping a course could potentially play a role in their progression toward graduation.

If you drop this course, will you be able to take the course over the winter or summer school term?
Your student should be aware of course offerings for each term as every course is not offered during each term.  Summer course offerings are available online.

How will dropping this course affect your financial aid package?
Some scholarships and tuition waivers require students to achieve a certain number of credit hours within an academic year for renewal.  Students might have to take additional credits in the summer term to make up for dropped courses.  Additionally, students need to be enrolled in 12 credit hours to be considered full-time.  Consult the Office of Financial Aid to inquire.

The best thing you can do as a parent, coach and mentor to your student is to have and express faith in your student.  Remind them of past success and encourage them to buckle down, get motivated and get to work!  There are resources in place to assist, but they must take advantage of them as well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

An Alum Describes Her Love for the Lumberjacks

Linda Imonode graduated from NAU in 2003, as a Communications major.  She is currently the Staff Attorney for the Court of Appeals of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.  

I love NAU because it nurtured the intellectual, social, and emotional growth that occurred during my college years.  I took advantage of the small classes offered at NAU and truly felt engaged by my professors and classmates.  My way of thinking was challenged inside and outside the classroom on a regular basis.  I lived on campus all four years, which allowed me to take advantage of the many clubs, activities, and social events on campus.  I went to homecoming games with my hall mates and camping with friends I’d made in class.  Flagstaff is such a beautiful city that I found myself hiking, biking and camping more than I had ever done before. I built a community of friends at NAU whose friendships still sustain me today. In addition, I always felt like the faculty and staff were supportive and wanted me to succeed at NAU and beyond.

I encourage current and future students to take advantage of the smaller classes, live on campus and get involved.  Your experiences at NAU will stay with you for years to come and the growth and friendships you gain will stay with you for a lifetime. 

Special note: Linda is one of nine children, six girls and three boys.  All of the Imonode sisters have either graduated from, attended or are currently attending NAU. (left to right: Sylvia, Miriam, Linda, Neveah (niece), Janet, Jennifer and Jacqueline)