1. Learn about the University's academic expectations.
Everything from graduation and major requirements to GPA standards and academic deadlines are available through the Registrar's office. The Undergraduate Catalog is the source for detailed information regarding admission policies and procedures, graduation requirements, academic regulations, expenses, housing, financial aid, and other student services, as well as detailed descriptions of academic majors, minors, and course offerings. Many departments post handbooks online for their students which can include additional departmental policies, career information, faculty specializations and contact information.
2. Be aware that SIUE has mandatory advising.
More information is available by visiting the section on Advising.
3. Become knowledgeable about SIUE support services, resources and opportunities.
Visit the Resources for Success section to see what is available to SIUE students.
4. Actively explore academic and career options and be open to the direction this exploration takes.
It is very common for students to change their intended major multiple times as they learn more about themselves, their interests, their strengths, new subject areas and the world of work. In fact most students entering college admit uncertainty about their major and up to half of college students change their major at least once. Be patient with them as their interests evolve and crystallize. This aspect of their development requires students to actively be involved in the ongoing processes of academic advising and academic planning. Tools to assist students with academic and career planning and exploration are posted through the Career Development Center and Academic Advising.
5. Set specific academic and career goals each semester.
Academic and career goals may entail striving for a specific semester or cumulative GPA, researching internship or co-op options, seeking opportunities to work alongside faculty in their field, or earning a leadership position in an organization just to name a few. Students should use the Comprehensive Education Plan to track their goals throughout their career. This plan, available in Academic Advising, will help students design their own educational experience. There are four sections for students to list courses of interest, planned career development activities, anticipated co-curricular activities and key questions. The key questions component is designed to help students understand what they need to do and why.
6. Establish a parallel plan.
It is very important for all students to realize that there are many paths to success, and often students become disillusioned with their first major. By taking the time early on to broadly examine their long term goals, being open to new academic and co-curricular experiences and increasing awareness of their strengths, values and interests students will begin to develop a parallel plan. This will help your student continue to move toward achieving their goals even if their educational and career plans change during their time at SIUE.
7. Be proactive and patient in the "settling in" period each semester.
The college experience is full of transitions. Every semester your student will go through an adjustment period as they get settled in with new courses, new professors, new teaching styles, new classmates and differing academic expectations. If your student calls with a concern about a class remind them of this and encourage them to be patient but proactive during the settling in period. Ways they can do this include meeting with their professor during office hours, making an effort to get connected with classmates, studying their syllabus and seeking clarification, identifying campus resources that may be of assistance, setting aside specific time to study for each course, and utilizing electronic resources (websites and CDs) that accompanying their textbooks. If your student has a specific concern about a course, there is a process to follow. The student must meet with the professor teaching the course to discuss the situation. If further discussion is needed, consult the departmental chairperson. While we know you want to help your student navigate new situations, it is important that the student work through their concerns. It is not appropriate for parents to contact faculty members on behalf of their students.
8. Interact with faculty outside of the classroom.
Many students are hesitant to make contact with professors outside of class. It can be a very intimidating interaction. However uncertain your student may be, remind them that all professors at SIUE are required to hold office hours each week. This is designated time to meet with students and it is often underutilized. Early each semester, encourage your student to take the time to use office hours to introduce themselves to each of their professors. In the event that assistance is needed later in the term a foundation has already been established to be comfortable seeking help. Students should not hesitate to contact a professor to schedule another meeting time if they have a conflict with posted office hours.
9. Become their own best advocate.
By knowing the resources available, being willing to seek assistance and communicating openly with you, their professors, advisors and other members of the SIUE community students can make the most of the support available. Also remember that we all have a common goal, to see students grow, develop and be successful at SIUE.