Your student is on campus and orientation is over.  During the brief few weeks of the semester, students likely have gotten to know their roommates and their professors but may not remember the whirlwind of support services personnel and campus staff members that they met during orientation. With classes started and social activities happening, students should be cultivating those important relationships that will help them succeed over the semester.  Here are three key people that students really should get to know as they move into the depth of the academic year:

  1. Disability support provider: With only about a third of the students with disabilities who enroll in a four-year college or university graduate within eight years, the disability support provider is an essential advocate for students with disabilities in college.  The disability support provider is the one person on campus dedicated to really learning about a student’s areas of strengths and challenges, the accommodations and strategies that will work best for them, and what accommodations, supports, and services can be put in place to access their educational environment.  Knowing and understanding specific challenges that arise due to a disability also uniquely poises them to share with your student on-campus support services that can contribute to their college success.
  2. Academic advisor: An academic advisor’s job is to create an educational plan with the student based on an assessment of abilities, aspirations, interests, and values. This exciting process can help to put together a bigger picture of how specific sets of skills developed in classes create readiness for career placement. With a number of courses that usually fulfill any defined requirement, a student should take advantage of being active in the course registration process by getting to know their advisor early.  The first year of college can be a great time to explore and confirm their academic path!
  3. Resident Assistant: While classes and studying likely take up forty hours of a student’s week, the rest of their time is spent building social connections often in the residence halls. The resident assistant, also known as RAs, often plan great floor programs in order to help students build an instant living community. In addition, a large part of a resident assistant’s job is to help with potential roommate challenges.  In many cases, it may be the first time that a student has ever lived in the same room with one or more roommates.  You can imagine that with differing schedules, routines, and living preferences, knowing their resident assistant can help them navigate those more difficult living conversations when necessary.

It takes a community to support a college student and these three key people are dedicated to helping students navigate their college years successfully.  As we know, these college years will fly by so they more they get to know their resources, the more likely they are to fulfill their academic dreams!

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