With the academic year well underway, I have a favor to ask of the families and friends of our new first year students. As you heard during drop-off day, the academic environment here at WPI can be quite challenging to even our best students from time to time. Sometime this year, and perhaps even this term, most of our first year students will receive a grade lower than they are accustomed to receiving. This can, understandably, be very discouraging. So we ask for your support in helping our students reset their expectations for themselves – to doing the best they can – rather than replicating their high school academic record, to mastering content rather than amassing A’s. And certainly the students should be encouraged to ask for help if needed, something most are unaccustomed to doing. In addition to talking to the professor, the student can utilize any of the many resources from our Academic Resources Center.
To help your student adjust to this new environment, rather than asking ‘How are you doing?’ try asking questions like ‘What new things are you learning?’ ‘How does the workload differ in college?’ and ‘What are you most enjoying this term?’ These may end up giving you a better sense of what is happening, and as well, puts the focus more on the learning. Finally, if you do have concerns about your student’s adjustment, please do contact either me, the Academic Advising Office or the Dean of Students Office. For urgent concerns, please go to our Care Team website and fill out the form. This will result in immediate action.
Wishing you all a happy fall and a great beginning to the new academic year.
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies
Office of the First Year