I was speaking to a friend of mine whose daughter Amanda is away at college for her freshman year. When she spoke to Amanda the other night, it sounded like academics had really taken a back seat and that her daughter’s life revolves around a variety of activities at college. She has become quite involved in several different clubs this year, which is great. But each club seems to be having some sort of spring event, and Amanda is fully involved in all of them.

As you can imagine, my friend is worried about her daughter’s GPA. While it sounds like Amanda is having a great time at college, it’s understandable that her mom is concerned. After all, she wants Amanda to be able to return to college in the fall and to have a strong GPA for future opportunities.

Are you finding your college student in the same situation as Amanda? If so, it may be a good time to have a conversation with them about their academics. During that conversation, you may find that they do have their course work under control, along with their extracurricular activities. If you get the sense that they really are prioritizing their school work and are using good time management strategies, then they are likely on the right track.

If, however, you feel that your student is having difficulty managing their time, you may want to recommend that they meet with a learning specialist to look at how to better balance academics with clubs and social commitments. Learning specialists, who typically work in a college’s learning center or tutoring center, can help your student identify the time needed to complete key tasks, reflect on what behaviors are effective and ineffective in managing commitments, and identify areas that they may want to improve. The college’s website will likely provide more information on how to schedule an appointment with a learning specialist.

If it proves to be the case that your student’s academics have in fact suffered this semester, it will be important for them to talk to their professors as soon as possible to find out whether they can improve their grades. Your student’s academic advisor can also present them with options related to maintaining their GPA.

To sum up, here’s some advice to pass along to your busy college student:

  • Prioritize your school work over other activities.
  • Use a planner or other means to organize your time and commitments, both academic and social.
  • Talk with a learning specialist if you have difficulty with time management. Check out your college’s website to find out more about their learning specialist services.
  • If you are having difficulty maintaining good grades, speak to your professors and your academic advisor.

Managing the multiple pushes and pulls of life on campus can get tricky, and often takes more than one semester to master. But, there are great campus resources that can assist. So, encourage your student to get involved, but at the same time to seek help if it gets to be too much.


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