Parents and Family Members: Top 10 Topics - Just for You

Parent and Student

1. It is different – how to handle the “adult college student” in your house.

Yeah. It’s different. Their schedules seem different every day – you don’t know if they’re coming or going or are late for class. So different than high school. When you ask about your son or daughter’s schedule, you might get a sharp look or a sassy answer. They’re feeling independent and may realize that all-of-the-sudden, mom and dad have less info than they did in high school. What to do? Start by asking questions – and in a neutral “I really want to know about your day” kind of way. From a safety point of view, it’s a good idea to know what your student’s weekly schedule is like, so ask for the info so you can be aware. Remember – your newly-minted college student may not want to share, but if he or she is living with you, setting some expectations and trying to keep communication clear in your household is a reasonable request. From the student’s point of view, this can be a time to try to fly solo and figure some things out, but it’s still your home.

2. Harper’s campus is a safe place.

True. We have a fine Harper College Police Department to thank for that. In addition to sworn officers, we have many Community Service Officers (CSO’s) on campus – on bikes, segways, and on foot, just to keep an eye on things and to be around, if needed. If you’re curious and want to learn more about campus safety, this link will give you lots of good info.

3. It’s perfectly fine to start as an “undecided” student.

Many of our new students are unsure and don’t want to commit to a major until they can try it out. There is no better place than a community college to do just that. In addition to dozens of services designed especially for the “undecided” student, we have courses and resources galore to help make the processing of selecting a major as fun and painless as possible. Click here to learn about the Career Development Services. We tell students in Orientation that there are many courses that can be used for a variety of majors – especially in the first semester – it can help to take the edge off of making a decision on a major when students really need time to explore. However…remaining an “undecided” student for too long can create complications – both in terms of financial aid eligibility and issues around transferring to earn a Bachelor’s degree. More on that in #4 below.

4. Transferring IS easy. Don’t believe the urban myths about courses “not transferring”.

Harper College was founded on the idea that a “community college” can be a great place to begin a college career – and earn the first two years of a Bachelor’s degree. FOUNDED on that idea. We take that job very seriously and have plenty of resources, services, transfer fairs and connections with 4-year colleges and universities to prove it. Click here to learn more about transferring. Here’s the thing, when students are undecided or unsure about WHICH transfer school to consider, it can be tricky because many schools have preferences for certain courses for certain majors. The sooner your student narrows down WHERE he or she might want to attend – after Harper – the better. That urban myth about “courses not transferring”? Don’t believe it. Encourage your student to use all of the services around transferring at Harper and it will be smooth sailing. AND – don’t forget that Harper offers many fine programs with a career focus – two year degrees or certificates that are designed to help your student move from Harper directly into the workforce and start a satisfying career.

5. There’s plenty of parking. Really.

We would love to have you visit us on campus. We were designed by an architect from Texas who loved the sprawling campus layout and clustered-building design that we enjoy today. As you drive by, unfortunately, some of the most prominent things you might see could be our parking lots. We have a lot of them and while they do fill up during “prime times”, you can always find a place to park at Harper. During Orientation, we encourage students to avoid trolling the lots off of Algonquin Road (they are often perceived to be better options but they’re just more congested). Instead, parking by the lakes – the lots that are adjacent to the Roselle or Euclid entrances – is always better - they are beautiful

AND have plenty of spaces.

6. Going to class matters.

Students learn quickly that not all professors take attendance in college classes. Yes…this is a slippery slope. It may seem like instant freedom to your student to attend class, or not, but missing class always has consequences. During Orientation, we try to stress the importance of being present for every class, all the time, whether attendance is taken or not. Some of you may have your own horror stories about skipping class while you were in college.  ☺ Nothing’s changed. Attendance still matters.

7. Almost all campus services and resources are FREE.

True. Whether it’s free academic advising and transfer planning, great support from the Librarians on projects and research or free tutoring or support with math or English is specific centers designed for those subjects – Harper staff and faculty know that your student might need help outside of class. It’s not easy for some students to say they need help but we try very hard to help them understand that acknowledging that you need help…and then following up by using services is actually the norm at Harper. We couldn’t keep doing what we do if students didn’t use the services.

8. 2 for 1 rule for managing time.

For every hour your student is in class, he/she SHOULD be spending at least TWO hours outside of class to stay up-to-date on assignments and projects. If the subject is more challenging, we strongly encourage students to increase that formula – and plan to spend at least three hours outside of class. Students who think their total time commitment each week is related only to “time in class” will struggle – and very quickly.

9. Our campus is beautiful – lots to do.

Harper is a thriving cultural arts community. We have a wonderful art collection on campus. (Yes, including a Picasso) as well as outstanding music and theater productions every semester. Check out the Harper College Events Calendar.

Even better? Our Center for Student Involvement (CSI) wants your student to become a member of the Harper community by participating in the Student Government Association or in one of the many clubs or organizations Harper offers. We also offer expert job search support and assistance with resumes, interviewing and more through our Job Placement Resource Center.

10. Curious about Harper for YOU? We can help.

Thank you for trusting us to provide an outstanding educational experience for your son or daughter. Is it time for you to think about your future? Changing your focus or career? We’re here for you, too. Consider attending one of our Adult Workshops or an Outreach Info Session.


Questions? Let me know how I can help!
Dr. Vicki Atkinson
Director, Center for New Students and Orientation