How to Help College Student with Poor Grades

Question:  Our son has just completed his first semester of college and was very disappointed to receive grades far below what he did in high school. What can we do to help him? -- College Problems

Answer: The first semester of college is a traumatic time of great transition for most students, involving leaving home, making new friends and being almost completely responsible for themselves. At the same time, your son may not yet understand exactly how much time and effort are required to get the grades that he wants. Plus, he may not be accustomed to receiving less frequent grades indicating how he is doing. In high school, he may have had weekly or daily grades indicating the progress that he was making, while he may only have grades from two midterms and a final in college. Furthermore, he may not have understood how important it was for him to attend class. There is also the possibility he was not as well-prepared for some of his classes as he needed to be.

Obviously, many factors are involved when students get lower first semester grades than they anticipated. It is important for you to talk about this with your son. Perhaps he did not have a realistic picture of what college is like. The real key to helping him is his determining where the problem lies. Fortunately, most colleges have support services designed to put students on the right track. Encourage him to use this support.