Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Let's Talk Turkey: Tips on Having Conversations with your Student during Thanksgiving.

For many first-years, thanksgiving break is the first time they have been home since the fall semester started back in September. For first-year parents, these last ten weeks with the student at school may seem like an eternity! Many parents will have burning questions they want to ask their students about life at Hofstra and how the student is doing. Here’s some advice on talking to your student, without overwhelming them with questions:
1.     Before going into your questions, make sure to hug first! Welcome your student back into your home and let your student get settled before going into any big questions about school. Remember that your students have been answering questions in class and through homework for almost ten weeks! The last thing your students probably wants to do is feel like they are taking a verbal quiz about Hofstra with you! Give your student some time to unwind and relax, and they will become much more open about school.
2.     Bring up school in a quiet relaxed setting. Around the table with family members is not the best time to bring up your students academics. Perhaps one night when the family is sitting around watching TV.
3.     When you approach your student about schoolwork, the way you present yourself and ask the questions will make all the difference in getting your student to open up about their time at school. If you come across as confrontational, you can expect the student to close up and be confrontational back. However, if you come across as open and caring listen to what your student has to say, you will find that your student will be much more open about his or her experiences.
4.     When talking about grades, you must also be aware and understanding that the student may not know exactly where their grade standing is currently in the semester. Every professor has a different way of grading, whether it is through exams, projects, class participation, papers etc. Instead, you should encourage your student to meet regularly with their professors to discuss their performance in class.
5.     Should any problems or issues arise, keep in mind that the student’s academic dean is always available to help in any way possible. You student can find out who their dean is through their portal. Should you wish to get in contact with this academic dean yourself, you should keep in mind that while the dean can discuss general academic topics with you, the dean cannot get into detail about your students records until your student waives you on their FERPA Authorization Form online through their portal.
If you have any questions about talking to your student during Thanksgiving break, please don’t hesitate to contact the Office of Parent and Family programs at 516-464-4698 or at