Questions About SMU? Ask Deanie

An SMU graduate of 1970, Parent Liaison Deanie Kepler can answer just about any question parents have about the University or Dallas – and if she doesn’t know the answer, she’ll find out. Deanie works closely with the SMU Mothers’ and Dads’ Clubs to assist their goal of ensuring students’ success.

Deanie also writes “Ask Deanie,” an advice column on SMU’s Web site for parents. Here’s her advice about students struggling with early college performance:

What if my student struggles with grades?

Students sometimes find the transition to college harder than anticipated and may fall behind. They don’t understand the class lectures. Their writing may not yet meet the professor’s expectations. Or maybe a part-time job cuts into study time. All these concerns are normal, and there are supportive things a parent can do:

  • Express your full confidence in them – you are there through thick and thin.
  • Don’t ask what you, as a parent, need to do. Ask your student how they plan to handle the situation themselves. For example, they can meet with the professor to discuss difficulties.
  • Remind them that the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center has one-on-one academic counseling, free tutoring sessions, a writing lab and workshops to strengthen study skills, note taking, test preparation and GPA 101, which covers coping with bad results on first tests. Just call (214) 768-3648, or visit
  • Encourage your student to persevere. It’s not too late to turn around classroom performance.

Have something to ask Deanie? Contact her at [email protected] or (214) 768-4797.

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