Parents & Families E-Newsletter - September 2009
Dear Parents and Families,
Sending your student to college gives a whole new meaning to the "first day of school." Instead of just an overstuffed backpack, you're hauling a carload or flight luggage of "the essentials." Instead of waiting for their arrival home from school with big stories the first day, you're hoping for a phone call or text message by the end of the first week.
The transition to college is a big milestone in both of your lives. Your student is excited and energized with a world of new possibilities in front of them. You're excited too, of course, and probably apprehensive as this new chapter begins and your relationship takes on a different tone.
Your student has already made some major decisions, including the decision to come to Purdue. There will be many more to make throughout your student's college life. As in the past, he or she will likely turn to you when decisions need to be made. Good communication is essential.
To assist Purdue parents and families, we have created this quarterly e-newsletter and a Web page. The Web page provides you with links to topics that Parents typically have questions about along with campus contacts and options to sign up for ongoing communications from the University.
Thank you for entrusting us with your student. Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns, or to offer ideas or interesting news, at firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your feedback.
France A. Córdova
Purdue Climbs in 2009 Rankings
Purdue jumped to 22nd among U.S. public universities in this year's U.S.News & World Report college rankings. The University is 61st among all colleges. These rankings represent a climb of four and five places, respectively. Our rise in rankings reflects an ongoing commitment to enhancing the student experience at Purdue and to the University's strategic plan. Positive trends at Purdue include higher graduation rates, more classes with fewer students, and an increase in alumni giving. Read More.
Purdue students build strong leadership skills and gain closer ties to their classmates through 878 sanctioned student organizations. These organizations help build a student's competencies — everything from financial and time management skills and goal setting to tolerance, conflict management, and motivational techniques.
Two student activities recently earned national distinction. Purdue's intramural sports program and the student newspaper, The Exponent, received kudos this month in the Princeton Review's "Best Colleges Quality of Life" report, which ranked them 15th and 17th in the nation, respectively.
View some of our student groups in action by visiting Purdue's BoilerBytes Web video site.
Purdue continues to closely monitor the flux of influenza A H1N1 cases and its campus pandemic plan. To date, 67 students have been treated at the Purdue Student Health Center with relatively mild symptoms of suspected H1N1 influenza.
In a population of 40,000 students, this current level of incidences is small. The Purdue Student Health Center is available for ill students to provide them with guidance and to administer anti-viral drugs to those who require them.
The Purdue Student Health Center has issued some recommendations for students to prevent spreading the illness, including:
- If you are ill with influenza, do not attend class or go to work. If you are a student, know ahead of time what the absence policy is. Contact your professors, instructors, or employers to let them know you are ill as soon as possible.
- If you live in a Purdue residence hall, let your residence hall advisor know. Sick meals can be prepared for you. They also can provide cleaning products for you and those around you.
- Stay home at least 24 hours after your temperature returns to normal without the aid of medicine.
- Isolate yourself. If you can, go home. If you can't do either of these, suggest your roommate relocate until you no longer have a fever and other symptoms. The ill person also should wear a mask when others are present to help prevent spreading the infection.
- Use the buddy system. Ask friends to check on you and help buy what you need.
Several efforts also are under way to educate and prepare faculty, staff, and students about the possibility of a widespread H1N1 outbreak on campus and how to reduce their risk of contracting or spreading the virus:
- Purdue faculty talked with all students during the first week of fall classes. Faculty have been asked to adjust attendance policies for ill students, make arrangements in the event of temporary suspension of classes, and create a process to alert their students of class cancellations or assignments.
- The director of the Purdue Student Health Center wrote to all students advising them about prevention, symptoms, and what to do if they or their roommate becomes ill with the flu.
- Posters and signs have gone up across campus and information is available at a dedicated Web site at www.purdue.edu/fluinfo.
Purdue plans to distribute the H1N1 vaccine this fall in addition to annual flu vaccine. The first batches of the H1N1 vaccine will arrive in late October at the earliest. Two doses may be needed. More information will be communicated when the vaccine becomes available.
"This is a fluid situation," says Jim Westman, director of the student health center. "Now that H1N1 influenza has reached our campus, it's more important than ever to stay informed about the illness, self-monitor for flu symptoms on a daily basis, and get in the habit of practicing good hand hygiene and cough etiquette."
Below are some steps that parents and family members can take to stay informed and to assist students:
- For the latest information about H1N1 at Purdue, visit www.purdue.edu/fluinfo/ The site also includes advice and links to official Web sites for related government agencies.
- Request that students sign up for emergency text messages
- Parents and family members may sign up for e-mail alert messages.
Purdue faculty and staff (and students) hope to see families back on campus for the annual Family Day event September 19.
The annual Pancake Breakfast features Purdue's President and deans of the colleges who will all be "flipping" for families. There are also opportunities to meet faculty and staff from the students' college/school, to cheer the Boilermaker football team to a victory over Northern Illinois, and to relax to a blues musical performance at the Boilermakers BBQ afterwards.
The Financial Aid office encourages students to open and read messages from Purdue in their student e-mail account. Even though the semester has started, students may still receive ongoing e-mail communication from University offices that handle registration, billing, and financial aid.
Moving from home to college brings new fiscal responsibilities to students. With the semester just starting, now is a great time for familities to have the "money talk." Discussing financial arrangements in detail can make the transition smoother and help students develop sound financial skills.
As well-prepared as Purdue students are, some do end up struggling with their coursework. With that in mind, this fall, in 13 of the large enrollment courses, those students will be singled out for help.
Purdue's information technology faculty and staff created the Signals Program. An algorithm gained through predictive modeling and data-mining from Purdue's online grade resources — Blackboard Vista and Banner — identifies students with declining academic performance. When a student's grades fall below a certain level, the Signals system notifies both the student and his/her instructors. The student also receives an e-mail offering helpful campus resources.
Piloted during the past two academic years, the double-blind study found that 67 percent of the students receiving a warning improved their effort and grade.
As students across the nation begin their first week in college, they should be aware that, on average, one in three of them will not return to the same school for their second year. At Purdue, the freshman-to-sophomore year retention rate for freshmen who started in fall 2007 was 86.1 percent, which is considerably higher than the national average of 72.9 percent* for public doctoral institutions. Two experts — one a Purdue staff member and the other a Purdue alum — have extensively studied student success during the freshman year.
Read more about their eight tips to help increase students' chances for success.
*As reported by ACT, Inc. (2008)
Students can gain employment while in school and following graduation through several Purdue resources, including the Center for Career Opportunities (CCO) and the Division of Financial Aid (on- and off-campus student employment). Visit the CCO Web site calendar for job fair events throughout the year.
Counselors in the Office of the Dean of Students offer confidential assistance for students who need help:
- understanding themselves
- making adjustments and decisions based on insight gained in a counseling relationship
- accepting responsibility for their choices, and
- following a course of action to resolve the smallest or largest of problems.
For more information, visit the Dean of Students Web site.
A Purdue Web site is dedicated to discussion on alcohol awareness and University policies. By working together, the University, parents, and students can ensure the continued health and safety of everyone on campus. More Info.
Safety and Security
Bicycle and laptop computer registration and a 24/7 safe walk program are among the many safety and security services and programs available to Purdue students. Information can be accessed through the Purdue Police Department Web site.
A number of academic help labs and tutoring options are made available to students at Purdue. More Info.