Helping Your Student Achieve Their Academic Goals

We are so pleased your student has chosen to attend the University of Colorado Denver, an institution that stresses responsibility, self-reliance, and academic achievement. As your student enters this new experience, we want you to know that your role is vital in your student’s success. Here are a few ideas to help support your student:

Attend Class: There is a strong correlation between academic success and attending class and an even stronger correlation between failure and missing class. Many courses do not require attendance as part of the grade and critical material is covered in class. Initiate a conversation about how classes are going, favorite classes, and class attendance. Encourage your student to attend every class.

Time Management: Balancing commitments (i.e. work, classes, social, family) is a common issue students face. Encourage your student to find a balance between all of their commitments and manage their time wisely.

Study, Study, Study: The number one response from sophomore students to incoming first year students is, “I wish I had studied more my first semester.”  Initiate a conversation with your student about how many hours per week outside of class they are studying for each class. The responses will vary with each class, the average should be approximately 2 hours outside for every hour inside class. For the average full-time freshman student, this amounts to 20-30 hours of outside studying per week. Strongly support your student seeking assistance from their instructor if they are struggling.

Mid-Terms: The first academic ‘check-up’ should come immediately after the first  exam or written assignments. It is important that your student review their course syllabus or meet with the instructor to know their approximate grade in each class.  If grades are below a ‘C,’ encourage your student to meet with the faculty member and with their college academic advisor for support and referral to campus resources.

Get Help: Initiate a conversation with your student about the number of resources they have tried early in their first semester.  Hopefully, the response will include the library, tutoring, writing center, academic advisor, and faculty office hours.

Dropping a class: Many college students are not aware of the option of dropping a course when performance is substantially below par and there is a threat of weak grades.  Students with academic or personal problems, including roommate issues, should talk to their academic advisor about this option.  After the 10th week of the semester, academic support options are narrowed considerably, so please encourage your student to know their ‘check-up’ grades by the middle of the semester.

Change: Being willing to change is one of the most important aspects of maturation in college.  The second most common response from sophomore students to entering freshmen is, “College is not high school.” Initiate a conversation with your student about what is different about their first five weeks in college compared to high school. If your student is not happy with their ‘check-up’ grades, ask how they plan to change.  Responses should include private conversations with faculty or teaching assistants during office hours, use of tutoring, planned study times, etc.

Continue to be a major part of your student’s support in their new university environment.  A ‘care package’ from home is always welcome.  A night out for students living at home works wonders for conversations and support.  A continuing, “Love you” and “We support you” both go a long way in toward your student’s successful transition to the university.