Parents & Families

Supporting your Student's Academic Success...From a Distance

Of course parents want their students to do well in College. Gentle reminders from parents about managing their time well, getting to know their professors, and taking advantage of academic resources are an important support for first year students. Further suggestions for supporting your student in his or her transition to college academics include…

Ask them about the content of their course work and encourage them to talk about what they’re learning: What do you think about that novel you’re reading for English 101? How did you choose that topic for your GRW essay? Why, do you think, is it important to speak only Spanish in your Spanish class? What’s the most interesting work you’ve done in biology so far? What issues are you covering in your political science class and what’s your take on them? A Washington College education is not just about learning content, it’s also about analyzing, interpreting, debating, and evaluating the information and ideas covered in class. Talking with you about their work helps students develop these skills.

Encourage them to get to know their professors, especially their academic advisor, outside of class: Professors really want to hear from students about how their work in the course is going; they’re happy to help students having difficulty with the material or assignments and are eager to hear about students’ other interests. And professors know about great opportunities for students, such as interesting work-study jobs, the chance to work with a professor on his or her research, internships, and programs for study off campus or abroad. For first year students, their academic advisor is their go-to person for any and all questions about course work, academic opportunities or other concerns.

Encourage them to get involved in co-curricular activities related to their academic interests: From the Student Events Board to the Lit House to Habitat for Humanity, participating in these activities can reinforce what students learn in the classroom and help them connect it to “the real world.” These activities are also a chance to learn marketable skills, such as project management, budgeting, event planning, membership recruitment and marketing.

Encourage them to use the College’s academic resources: These resources include

The Office of Academic Skills, which offers Study Skills Seminars covering study strategies, note taking techniques and test taking skills, and individual and small group tutoring with trained student tutors.

The Writing Center, where trained student tutors work with students on developing ideas for essays and papers, organizing and presenting ideas in writing, and polishing written work.

The Quantitative Skills Center, where trained student tutors students work with students individually and in small groups on material from any course with quantitative content.

Course Mentors, who are trained student tutors assigned to specific courses, such as General Psychology, General Biology, and Basics of Computing, who run review sessions and workshops designed specifically for those courses.


Patrice DiQuinzio
Associate Provost for Academic Services