10 Tips for Chesapeake Parents

  1. Keep open lines of communication. When a problem surfaces, it's easier for parents to communicate with their student if they have already established open lines of communication. Talk regularly with your student about his or her classes, projects, and academic challenges. Know when mid-term grades will be posted. Find out when students can register for the upcoming semester. If these subjects are part of your regular dialogue with your student, there shouldn't be any late-term "surprises" regarding your student's academic achievement.
  2. Discuss the importance of a realistic academic load. If your student is working a full-time job, a full-time college load may not make the most sense. Or, if your student's strengths aren't in science or math, it may not be a good idea for him or her to take both math and science in the same semester. It is critical that a prospective student be realistic about what they can accomplish in a given semester. The "rule of thumb" is that a student should spend two hours a week studying for each hour they are in class. In other words, a student taking 15 credit hours would need to study 30 hours per week meaning that student would need to devote 45 hours a week to college. That's a full-time job in itself! Helping your student determine what credit load is realistic in a given semester based upon all of his or her responsibilities can play a huge role in determining whether your student will be successful that semester.
  3. Encourage early completion of developmental requirements. Nearly all new Chesapeake College students are required to take the Academic Skills Assessment, a nationally normed test that assesses a student's proficiency in math, reading, and sentence structure. If the assessments reveal the need for remediation non-credit classes to prepare the student for college-level coursework in any of these areas, academic advisors will encourage the student to immediately fulfill these developmental requirements. We would like to suggest that parents also promote early completion of these requirements. Developmental completion is required before taking credit-level math or English courses, and highly recommended before tackling other credit-level courses. Successful completion of developmental requirements is a key indicator for success in college-level coursework.
  4. Promote regular class attendance. College is different than high school. Students aren't compelled to attend; in fact attendance isn't even taken in some classes. Yet regular attendance is one of the best indicators of likely student success students will profit from faculty lectures, classroom discussions, and the ability to obtain answers for questions they may have from their textbook readings. There's an old saying, "Eighty percent of success in life is just showing up." The same holds true in education "just showing up" to class is an early key to success.
  5. Emphasize the importance of reading the text and other materials. When your student returns his or her text in the post-semester "Book Buy-Back," we hope it isn't in mint condition. It should be highlighted; pages should be dog-eared specifically, it should look like your student has read it. Too many students don't complete the required readings in the text and other materials and that is one of the most critical keys to academic success. In fact, students should read ahead. That way, when students go to class they will get more out of the instructor's lesson and possibly have questions that arose in their readings.
  6. Encourage your student to seek assistance. Chesapeake College has a wealth of academic support services available to its students. Encourage your student to make use of these resources. Too many students either don't access these free resources drop-in or scheduled tutoring, writing or math assistance, supplemental instruction or wait until it's too late to make a difference. Parents should encourage their student to seek assistance at the first sign of academic difficulty. Many students think it makes them seem dumb if they seek out assistance, whereas we know it's the smart students who seek help when they need it. If your student received accommodations through a 504 plan in high school, it is important that he or she contact Judy Gordon (410-827-5805, or jgordon@chesapeake.edu) as soon as possible because the requirements for receiving academic accommodations in college is much different than in high school.
  7. Support the completion of a long-term academic plan. Many students don't plan ahead. They only think about next semester's courses when they go to register for next semester's courses. What those students need is a plan specifically, a long-term academic plan. Such a plan increases the chances that students will efficiently complete their academic program, saving them time (and you money). Once students have completed an academic plan, they are eligible to register online in upcoming semesters. Students should contact Counselor Jim Davidson (410-827-5856 or jdavidson@chesapeake.edu) to schedule an appointment to complete an academic plan.
  8. Encourage involvement in student activities. Numerous studies have shown that students who are more involved in campus life drama, music, student government, other clubs or leadership activities, intercollegiate athletics, etc. perform better academically. Involvement in student activities more heavily invests the student in his or her college experience. Encourage your student to pursue activities that interest him or her. Contact Rohry Flood (rflood@chesapeake.edu) or the Student Life/Activities section of the website to find out more about Chesapeake's student activities.
  9. Discuss your student's academic progress. Students receive mid-term grades around the eighth week of each semester and receive final grades shortly after completion of each semester. (Students access these grades online in a secure environment using a password known only to them.) These are good times for parents to review academic progress with their student. If your student is thriving academically, congratulations! If not, encourage your student to meet with an academic advisor to review his or her academic performance and brainstorm ways to improve it. This may involve strategies as minor as reducing credit loads, or making sure a student's schedule provides balance between classes that may be difficult for him or her with classes in subject areas that the student traditionally experiences success. Or, it may involve career testing that may indicate your student is better suited for a career in a different field, leading to a switch in academic majors. The important thing is for academic deficiencies to be addressed as early as possible.
  10. Encourage your student to pre-register early. Current students always have a two-week window at the start of each registration cycle when they can register for classes before new students are permitted to register. Encourage your student to take advantage of this opportunity to register early. Students who register early have the pick of days, times and instructors, and have access to classes that historically fill up fast.