1. Basic Life skills
As exciting as going off to college can be, it is a much easier transition if students have mastered some basic adult life skills. This section will illuminate which skills are a must for new students at Marymount.
2. Moving out/Moving in
This section is designed to help you as your student transitions into living in our residential program or into an apartment nearby. Living on their own for the first time is a challenging experience for even the most mature freshman so we will offer some practical advice to make the transition easier.
3. Developing habits for success
The most successful students at Marymount are the ones who develop strategies for success early in their college career. This section will give detailed information about the resources on campus that will help students develop the study habits they need to succeed.
4. Taking advantage of the freshman seminar
All new students are required to take ID 117, the Art of Being Human. This freshman seminar will help your student in their transition to college life and help them adjust to the ways college differs from high school. This section will elaborate on the nuances of this important class.
5. Creating a support network
College students must ask for assistance when they need it. For many, this is a daunting experience. Because Marymount is so small, students can easily form relationships with key faculty and staff to get the help they need. This section will focus on some of the key relationships a student may chose to engage in on campus.
6. Getting involved
Students who are involved in campus life are more successful academically and socially. The College provides many opportunities for students to enjoy a full co-curricular experience which you will learn about in this section.
7. Taking responsibility
College students must learn to take responsibility for their everyday lives and for planning out their college careers. This section will highlight new ways your student will need to be responsible.
8. Redefining the parental role
A student going to college is a huge change for their family. This section will give parents strategies that families of alumni say helped them to adjust to this life change.
Section 1-Basic Life Skills
Students entering college for the first time face a variety of challenges. Beginning college is a huge transitional period in a student’s life. There are a core group of skills that students need to have when they come to college in order to have the most successful experience possible.
These skills include:
- Communication-being able to clearly communicate to others using speech. This sounds simplistic but problems consistently arise when students cannot remain calm and tell the other person what their issue is.
- Ability to handle conflict-recognizing that conflicts will occur and being willing to work with others to resolve differences, even though conflict will likely feel uncomfortable.
- Self-confidence-being secure enough to make decisions based on personal values and desires instead of peer pressure.
- Openness to difference-a desire to learn about others and a willingness to experience other ideas and cultures different from one’s own
- Coping skills-challenges will arise and students need to be able to respond to those challenges in a calm and reasonable manner. Marymount helps students strengthen these skills though a variety of activities throughout the school year such our cultural dinner series, roommate contracts, roommate mediation, a wide variety of cultural food available in the café, workshops on sexuality, alcohol consumption, and body image, and events to recognize holidays and traditions from various ethnic and religious groups.
Section 2-Moving out/Moving in
Students attending College for the first time often have challenges with their living environment. Whether living in the residential halls, in their own apartment, or with parents with changing rules, the shift from constant parental involvement is a huge shift.
Residential students 60% of Marymount students live in one of our residential communities. This means that they are living with six other students in a town home suite or apartment. Students fill out a questionnaire when applying for one of our residential communities and that is used to match them with housemates. There is a full-time professional staff member in our residential community who oversees an area of 100 students. This Resident Director (RD) is a staff member who lives and works at the residential site. His/her phone number and office location are posted on the bulletin in each student’s unit. In each area, there is also a Community Assistant (CA) who is a sophomore or junior student who is available to help new students connect with the College community. Students who live in our residential program often face the normal adjustment issues of housemates not agreeing about noise, visitors, and cleaning responsibilities. A roommate contract filled out during the first month of school will be helpful in dealing with these issues and the RD is the appropriate resource should problems arise.
Private Apartments or Homes Students who live in private homes or apartments face other challenges. They may struggle with loneliness, too much freedom, or adjusting to the expectations of non-family members that they live with. They will have to make decisions about amenities such as cable television and be responsible for paying bills on time. They may have to work out payment plans with housemates and settle on agreements about household chores and responsibilities.
Living With Families Students who live with their family of origin when going to college experience changes as well. Although their physical surroundings may not change, their expectations of privileges usually do. Their friends in the residence halls don’t have curfews and they may expect theirs to be adjusted. They may be less amenable to checking in with the family or attending family functions.
Section 3-Developing habits for success
There are several predictors of how successful a student will be in College. At Marymount, we find that students who develop certain habits are the most successful academically.
Orientation-attendance at New Student Orientation is extremely important. It is so important that ID 117 instructors count it toward the grade in that class. At Orientation, students are able to meet other new students, set up their e-mail account, and complete a study skills inventory, participate in library orientation, get parking permits and student IDs, and connect with their Student Orientation Staff, sophomores, juniors and seniors who will help them prepare to begin their collegiate life.
Learning Center-Marymount’s Learning Center employs faculty and peer tutors who provide tutorial assistance to students in most subject areas, as well as in general study skills. Furthermore, the Learning Center distributes study skills handouts and sponsors study skills workshops throughout the semester. TVs with VCRs are available for viewing assigned videos, and computers are available for computer-assisted instruction. Unlike the library, the Learning Center is also a good place for studying in small groups.
Library-The library provides books, journals and other resources in support of the curriculum and the personal growth and enrichment of members of the College community. The collection includes 24,000 books, 200 journal subscriptions and more than 80 on-line resources, including many full-text databases. The library also has borrowing agreements with area libraries and offers an interlibrary loan service to facilitate access to materials not owned by the College. Librarians assist patrons in locating and using materials. Students may check out library books or obtain reserve-reading materials at the circulation desk with their student I.D. cards. The library offers lectures and hands-on classes in the use of the library and its resources, searching the Internet, and the research process. Librarians, at the request of faculty, campus departments or student organizations, provide classes. Computers in the library provide access to on-line resources and the Internet. In addition, any campus computer can be used to access the library’s electronic resources via the library Intranet The library is dedicated to quiet, individual study.
Academic Advisors-students should meet with their academic advisors several times during the academic year. The academic advisor will be able to help students develop an educational plan, give counsel on majors, and complete a graduation check.
Utilizing office hours-Each faculty member is required to hold seven office hours. This time is dedicated to students. Students are welcome to make an appointment to see an instructor during office hours or drop by to see if the faculty member is available. Office hours are frequently used to discuss concepts the student may not understand from class and to prepare for tests.
Using a personal planner-Unlike high school where tests and quizzes are simply scheduled when the teacher covers certain materials, College professors must provide a syllabus to students during the first week of classes outlining what the class will entail. Most instructors will list dates that tests will be given, when research papers are due, when presentations will be made, as well as when major assignments are due. Keeping track of this for 4-5 classes is difficult and students will need a personal planner to stay organized. If students need assistance with time management, they may schedule an appointment to meet with a staff member at the desk of the Learning Center.
Attending class-The College schedule of large breaks between classes can lead some students to develop poor habits regarding attendance. Attending class is the most important habit a student can develop. Many classes factor participation as part of the student’s grade while others give pop quizzes or in-class assignments that cannot be made up. Many new college students erroneously believe that simply getting notes from other students takes the place of class attendance but notes alone will not give the student the same experience as being an active participant in the class.
Section 4 ID -Taking advantage of the Freshman seminar ID 117
ID117, also called the Freshman seminar, is a required course for all new freshmen. The course is a critical examination for the liberal arts and sciences for the purpose of acquiring skills, knowledge, and values for personal, social, and physical well being. A variety of faculty and staff teach this course and they all bring their unique perspective to it. However, all sections have some common assignments or presentations:
- Establishment of an e-Portfolio of work and reflection
- Development of a four-year educational plan
- Introduction to the Library
The freshman seminar is an important tool in students' transitioning to college and launch of their BA journey. Incoming transfer students who bring in more than 30 units of college credit take ID217 instead. These courses focus on effective educational planning and establishing tools and strategies for college success. The atmosphere is closeknit and conducive to discussion about issues students are facing. Instructors who choose to teach this course do so because it is such an important building block of your student’s collegiate experience.
Section 5-Creating a support network
Students will need to develop a network of support for their unique challenges. This section will focus on some of the key relationships available to students:
Academic Advisor-Many faculty chose to become academic advisors. These faculty enjoy meeting with students and helping them map out their time at Marymount as well as helping them prepare for transfer.
Organization Advisors-Students may elect to become involved in campus life through student organization participation. All organizations have a faculty or staff member who advises the club and serves as a resource to students with that interest.
Coordinator of Disability Resources -Support services for students with disabilities are provided through the Learning Center and are individualized based on student needs. A brochure describing services is available. Students who feel they need accommodation due to a physical or learning disability should immediately make this known to their course instructors and the Coordinator of Disability Resources, Ruth Proctor.
Counseling Services-Students who are interested in speaking with a counselor may do so in the Counseling Services department. Counselors are licensed, mental health professionals who are experienced in working with students. They are available to help students with a wide variety of issues such as adjustment issues, dating issues, depression, etc. Counseling Services are free to students.
Family-Students still depend on familiar support while in college. No matter how independent your student may seem, your support of them is vital. Hearing from parents, grandparents, siblings, and other family regularly can make the student feel that being in college is the right place to be.
Friends-Your student will make new friends while at College. And, most of them will maintain friendships from high school as well. Both types of relationships are important: the old ones because they are long established and comfortable and the new ones because they help the student adjust to their new life as a College student.
Professors-Students should feel comfortable talking with their professors. Professors at Marymount have chosen to teach in our small environment because they enjoy connecting with small groups of students.
Resident Director (RD)-the Resident Director is the professional staff member who serves as a resource for students living in the residence halls. He/she has training and experience working with college students and can help with roommate problems, facility issues in housing, communication issues, adjustment issues, as well as assistance with becoming connected socially.
Student Health Center-Students may stop by the Student Health Center anytime between 9am-4pm Monday-Friday. The Director of Student Health is a nurse who is certified in college health. She, and the doctor who is on campus two days a week, are available for clinical assessment and referral. They are also available to discuss health issues with students. Most Health Services are free to students.
Tutors-tutoring is available by faculty members, staff members and student tutors in the Learning Center. Individual and study groups are available. These free services are available by signing up at the Learning Center desk.
Section 6-Getting involved
Students who chose to be involved in life outside the classroom are proven to persist longer and be more successful academically. The key is being involved enough to feel connected to Marymount and not being overly involved where coursework takes a backseat. There are a variety of ways students may get involved in campus life at Marymount:
Art shows-students in art classes present an art show in campus each year and display their artwork throughout the year on campus.
Campus jobs-taking a campus job is a great way to feel like part of the campus community. A complete listing of campus jobs is available at the Financial Aid office.
Club Day-during Welcome Week each semester, all clubs join together for a fair to recruit new members. Students may sign up to participate in a variety of clubs or just focus on one they like.
Student Organizations-students who have interest in joining an existing student organization or starting a new one will find assistance in the Office of Student Life in the Student Center.
Intramurals-students may chose to get involved in intramural sports on campus.
Opportunities include: basketball, volleyball, biking, hiking, sea kayaking, flag football, rock climbing, ping pong, swimming, and other sports depending on student interest.
Students interested in intramurals can see the Assistant Director for Student Life in the Student Center.
Theatre-students may receive college credit for participating in Marymount theatre productions as actors, directors, technical support, costumes, or hair and make-up.
Auditions are held each semester.
Volunteerism-students may chose to do volunteer work through the M.O.V.E. club or through the Office of Campus Ministry. Both groups plan volunteer events throughout the year such as Coastal Clean-up, Orphanage visits, Operation Teddy Bear, etc.
Section 7-Taking responsibility
Unlike students’ experiences from kindergarten-12th grade, a college student is expected to advocate for him or herself. This is a major shift for parents and students alike. Below is a list of areas where experience shows us some students struggle to take responsibility and impede their own success. Please note that these are tasks the student must take care of themselves.
Asking for help-freshman students have a tendency to wait too long to ask for help. Instead of talking to an instructor after doing poorly on their first quiz, they will wait until they have a poor grade at mid-term. Students need to learn to ask for assistance as soon as they have a problem. If they don’t know where to begin to ask for help, they can stop by the Dean of Students office, In Chapel Circl 200, as she serves as a resource for students who are unsure about where to go for help.
Importance of the educational plan-students will begin developing their Education Plans in ID 117. Education plans serve as a map for successful completion of degree requirements and educational goals. In ID117, students will begin to explore their academic and career goals. They will learn how to create a four-year plan designed to meet general education and major requirements. Students will make appointments to review and edit the Education Plans with their advisors. Students should meet with their advisor and Advising & Career Services to update their plans each semester.
Co-curricular transcripts-the Office of Student Life offers students the opportunity to have a co-curricular transcript sent to possible transfer institutions. This transcript lists all experiential learning activities the student has participated in while at Marymount through the Marymount Advantage program. As the student approaches graduation, they may request copies of the co-curricular transcript be sent to possible transfer institutions for free.
Keeping in touch as you have agreed-Many families find that their student does not keep in touch as much as they would like. Although in the era of cell phones, e-mails and texting, you would think communication would be easier, the College gets several calls each semester from families who have not heard from their student in days or weeks. To minimize that stressful situation, we suggest that you agree with your student how often you will communicate with them and what avenue will work best for your family.
Addressing conduct sanctions promptly-Most conduct sanctions convert to community service if not handled by their deadline. Students need to take responsibility for their conduct by addressing the consequences in a timely manner.
Handing problems themselves-this is a difficult one for many parents to master. Although it is often easier for parents to make a phone call or send an e-mail to check on a problem their student is having, that does not put the responsibility where it should be—on the student. Students need to be encouraged to handle problems themselves and parents can be instrumental in this by communicating to students that that is the expected behavior.
Section 8- Redefining the Parental Role
There is no doubt about it. Parenting a college-aged student can be challenging. Even if you have parented a college student before, this time around may be totally different. As parents of college students, it is important to realize that family dynamics will surely change. Although you can try to prepare for every possible scenario, the honest truth is that you can’t anticipate everything and need to prepare yourself to expect the unexpected. Claim your needs and wants. For many of you, a large time of our parenting has required putting your own needs on hold. You may not have had the time to spend on your personal interests or your relationships, while you have parented. Suddenly, you may have some more free time. It is good modeling for your student to see you taking time for yourself and we encourage you to do so.
Parents often ask for strategies for dealing with the changing relationship they have with their college-aged student. Below are some our alumni parents say have helped them:
- Communicate regularly-Agree how and when you will have regular contact. Some students want to talk to their families every day or so but many do not. Before this leads to hurt feelings, discuss what arrangement will meet both of your needs.
- Agree to boundaries-For many students, college is their first taste of total freedom. Talk with your student about boundaries that will allow both of you privacy and time together. Is it okay for you to just show up on campus or at their apartment? Is it okay for them to show up at your house unannounced? Will their bedroom at home remain the same or be redecorated?
- Agree on money-How much will they have to spend each month? What if they overdraw? What do you expect them to buy with their money? Will you purchase basic supplies for them regularly or is that their responsibility?
- Agree on family expectations-Are they expected to come home for family events? Do they need to call grandparents or other family members regularly? Most parents of College students face similar issues. Testing of family values Money issues-overspending, credit cards, etc Curfew-not wanting to have one any longer if they live at home Communication or lack thereof. Disagreement about new friends or who they are dating Superficial changes-hair dyes, piercings, tattoos,etc.
When it comes to your success, we take the long view.
Like our students, the careers they pursue are incredibly diverse. Film, government, medicine, advertising, social work, theatre, counseling, education, music, and finance are just a few of the fields in which they excel. They also go on to graduate school at such prestigious institutions as the UCLA School of Law and Texas Tech University. Most of our alumni credit their success to the level of challenge and support they found at Marymount California. When Marymount California graduates look back on their time here, they are amazed at how much they were able to learn and grow. We know we will be celebrating their accomplishments for a long time to come.