Tips for families & friends
- Listen – While students will interact frequently with faculty, staff and other students, you will likely still be their primary support system. Many of our students are juggling full time work, family, college and other responsibilities. It can be stressful. Sometimes students just need to vent. Be there to listen to them.
- Ask generalized questions – Ask your students about classes, study, peers and professors. Show them you are interested in their education without prying. It’s important that you know what the experience is like for them so that you can provide support and advice.
- Have a discussion about “Facebook” and “MySpace” – Many of our traditional aged students subscribe to one of these websites. These electronic sites can have a lasting effect on a person’s life as what is posted there is forever archived. Students often post information that is too personal. This can come back to haunt them when applying for a job, looking to enter the military, etc. Encourage them to think about the long-lasting impact of what they post.
- Encourage your student to resolve problems on his/her own – Most certainly there are times it may become necessary for a parent or partner of a student to intervene and make contact with a GCC faculty or staff member. We are more than willing to talk with you (and/or listen) but we strongly prefer trying to resolve issues with the student him/herself. Explore our website so that you can be knowledgeable about resources and know where to encourage your student to go to seek solutions.
- Attend GCC events including family and friends orientation – A wonderful way to become more familiar with the campus is to attend an event at GCC. We feature concerts, speakers and other programs that are open to the public. Additionally, at the start of the fall and spring semesters we offer family orientation. This gives you the opportunity to meet other family members, faculty and staff and get your important questions answered!
- Familiarize yourself with FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) – While faculty and staff at the college are always happy to talk with you about your concerns and questions, FERPA limits the information we can share with you about your student. FERPA protects the rights of students and philosophically we want to encourage students to become more autonomous and self reliant. It is often productive to have conversations with your students about what information they will be willing to share with you. For example, grades go directly to the students and we are unable to share information with you about your student’s grades. Discuss in advance how you and your student will share information.
- Trust them – For many college students (particularly those who are traditional aged), college marks the first time they are truly testing their independence. In doing so, they are bound to make mistakes. College students will occasionally fail to study as hard as they should for that important test, miss a class or struggle with priorities. It’s normal and part of the human experience! College also gives students the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and improve their skills for the work force. So trust them!