The Fall 2013 semester is upon us. The phones at Admissions and Records where I work are abuzz with the questions of students and parents asking about logging in, adding classes, and meeting payment deadlines. For those of you navigating the crazy world of college, here are a few tips:
- Attend orientation. Some colleges, such as the University of Nevada, Reno, make orientation mandatory, but it may be optional at other schools. Orientation is a great place to meet with an advisor, map out the courses you want to take, and familiarize yourself with the campus. Parents can even attend!
- Familiarize yourself with your college’s website. A great search term is “Academic Calendar,” which will bring up information about key deadlines, such as the last day to add or drop a class without being charged a late fee. Many students wait till the last minute and miss deadlines, and scholarship deadlines are often months before the first day of school. Do your homework, and your preparation will pay off.
- If you’re receiving financial aid, be sure to log in to your college’s system to check if you have any pending items. Check your email frequently to make sure you receive important updates regarding missing documents. For many students, financial aid means all the difference between attending college or not. Don’t let a missing form stop you from achieving your college dreams.
- Watch out for holds. If you discover that you can’t register for a class or you can’t enroll online, there may be a hold because a required item in your file is still pending. For example, UNR requires that all students submit immunization records before registration. The TD shot is only good for 10 years, so if your TD is out of date, you may need to get it updated at the Student Health Center or your local Walgreens before you can register for your classes.
- Communicate. It is common for parents of young freshmen to call in and follow up on their sons and daughters. However, a federal law that protects students’ privacy, FERPA, can often block staff members from releasing any information other than what is commonly found in a directory (such as a student’s name, dates of attendance, and honors or awards). Students need to list their parents in as a Third Party Release in order for the parent to receive information regarding the student’s record.
Students, I hope you find these tips helpful. Parents, do you have a son or daughter who is entering college? Are you considering going back to school? Are your full-time college days over but you are perhaps looking to take one or two classes for fun? Pass this info along and feel free to join the discussion! Don’t forget to go to www.WritingandEditingToday.com and enter your email to claim your Top Ten Career Tips so you won’t miss the next newsletter!