Success Center Spotlight - Dec. 2013

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The Paul L. Foster Success Centeroffers vast resources to help your student make the most of his or her time at Baylor University and beyond. The Parents Network is highlighting different opportunities presented by the Success Center in Perspectives to help you better understand resources available to your student. For a more comprehensive look at Success Center options for your student, check out our Student Success Edition of Perspectives.

It's almost finals time at Baylor University, the culmination of a semester's worth of learning, studying, preparing and, yes, cramming too.

Many Baylor students may find themselves studying with a bit more purpose than they did at the beginning of the semester, and not just because of the gravity of finals. Over 3,600 freshmen and sophomores completed a MAP-Works assessment this fall, giving them a picture of what they needed to do to ensure that their study habits could support their academic goals.

"MAP-Works helps an individual student pick up on the gaps between their academic goals and social behavior," Ron English, Academic Support Advisor for Referrals at the Paul L. Foster Success Center, said. "It asked questions about study habits, goals, social activity, homesickness and more. Once our students completed the assessment, they were given suggestions to achieve academic success."

Not surprisingly, the results showed that many students needed to increase the time they devote to studying to achieve the results they desire. English noted that it also revealed students who were nervous about two or more classes, and many who were homesick. But, it's important to note that in the period since the assessment ended just over four weeks ago, they have had time to alter behavior as they get deeper into the semester.

ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD

"The value of MAP-Works comes in seeing the report," English said, perhaps acknowledging the obvious. "The student needs to see it, because they're the ones living every day trying to reach their goals."

Parents often find themselves trying to balance learning how things are going for their student without prying. In this instance, English believes parents should at least ask their student if they took the assessment and, if so, if they have read the results and recommendations.

"If I'm a parent, if my student would tell me the results, I'd like to see them," English said. "That's not to get in their business, per se, but to try to help my child gain a better understanding."

He acknowledges that sometimes students don't like hearing what they need to do from their parents, but that asking them, "did you see your report, and have you talked to anybody about it?" can embolden them to get help where they need it-if not before finals, then in their future time on campus.

FINALS

Maybe your student didn't participate in this year's assessment. English said now is still a good time to talk to your student about the steps they are taking to ensure that they are keeping up with their classes, and putting in the work to receive the grades they want.

"The thing with getting prepared at the end-if parents want to do something very real to help their student prepare for finals-is have their student be honest with them, be real with them, about where they are in their classes," English said. "Students can think, 'Oh, my teacher is going to drop my lowest test grade,' and think they're doing better than they are. Asking them for honesty can help them be honest with themselves about where they are."

Parents can help their student wrap up the semester on a high note, making Christmas break that much better for all involved. And even once finals are over, encouraging students to start the spring semester on the right foot by taking advantage of tutoring, study strategies, or any of the other numerous resources provided by the Success Center can help them-and you-make the most of your child's time at Baylor.