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Parents Newsletter, January 2014

Parent Newsletter -- September 2013

Dear Parents,

Happy New Year from all of us at Franklin & Marshall College!

If you have your F&M student home for the winter break, I hope it has been a restful and refreshing reunion for your family. As the parent of two college students who are home, I know that this long winter break can present both opportunities and challenges for families. It's great to have the chance to reflect with our college students on their progress and growth, in and outside the classroom, to celebrate their successes and reflect on obstacles they have faced. On the other hand, transitioning from the full independence to which they've become accustomed at college back to living for several weeks under their family's roof may sometimes be difficult. All the best to your family in managing these changing dynamics!

Here's to a happy and healthy 2014.

All the best,

Maura Condon Umble '83
Director of Parent Relations
Franklin & Marshall College

P.S. If you're moving your student back to campus this Sunday, please consider attending a gathering of parents to discuss the College's efforts to reduce high-risk alcohol use among F&M students with Dean of the College Margaret Hazlett. This discussion will take place from 3 - 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, in Druker Humanities Common in the Barshinger Life Sciences Building. Light snacks will be available.

The College House System at F&M

The College House System at F&M

Dean C. Hammer, F&M's John W. Wetzel professor of classics, a professor of government, and the don of New College House, gave a Common Hour presentation in early 2013, explaining the reasoning behind the College House system. All F&M first-year students are assigned to one of the five houses, and older students may choose to live there. The College Houses, as Professor Hammer says, "…extend the boundaries of the classroom..."

Watch his presentation here to learn more about the College House System.

Senior Boot Camp

Senior Boot Camp

The Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD) and the Senior Class Caucus present Senior Boot Camp on Monday, Jan. 13.

This program is for seniors who plan to find a job before graduation and are not sure where to start or how to expedite the process. The topics covered include:

  • Where to Find Opportunities

  • How to Sell Yourself: Beyond the 30 Second Commercial

  • Making Contacts Now and Through the Semester

  • How to Tackle Tough Interview Questions/Mock Interviews

  • Preparing Job-Specific Application Materials

  • Understanding Compensation and Benefits Packages

Advice and mentorship will be provided by OSPGD staff, F&M alumni and other friends of the College. Lunch will be provided. Students must e-mail by Jan. 9 to register.


Welcome to F&M's Newest Students/Families

Thirty-one first-year students will arrive this month for their first semester at F&M as part of our Spring Admit Program, now in its sixth year. The entire campus community is eager to greet and get to know these new students and their families. Kabi Hartman, senior adjunct assistant professor of English and director of the Spring Admit Program, suggests that "the best way we can help these students transition successfully to F&M is to be open and friendly and to introduce them to all the wonderful things F&M offers. Ask them their names, where they are from, and what they did this past fall."

Many of the spring admit students studied and traveled this fall in such places as Ireland, France, Mexico and several African countries. Two students participated in National Outdoor Leadership School programs.

Feel free to read the blog of one of our new students here:

Future Commencement Dates

Future Commencement Dates

In case you are looking ahead on your calendar, below are the dates of Commencement for the next few years.

2014: Saturday, May 10
2015: Saturday, May 9
2016: Saturday, May 7

Jennifer Morford, Ph.D.

How to Be a Successful F&M Student

A couple years ago, I spoke with Jennifer Morford, Ph.D., chair of the Chemistry Department, and asked her why students sometimes struggle during their first semester, particularly in chemistry. Her thoughts and advice continue to apply to students across the curriculum and so we thought repeating this article might be valuable to you -- especially if you plan to discuss your student's academic progress over the winter break.

Morford suggests that there is a substantial difference in expectations between high school and college, and the transition can be daunting. She says that chemistry is often the first science course at F&M for many students, so the difference in expectations becomes apparent in this course.

Even in Advanced Placement chemistry courses in high school, teachers often emphasize memorization with many teacher-led drill and repetitive exercises during the four or five classes students have each week. College chemistry courses often meet only three times per week. Because there are fewer class hours, daily attention to chemistry by students is necessary. Students are expected not only to memorize, which is fundamental to learning, but also to conceptualize the "why" and "how" behind the memorized facts.

Morford recommends that students prepare for each class by reading ahead, taking detailed notes in class, memorizing key concepts and facts, completing practice problems (whether they are assigned or not), understanding the logic behind the reasoning in complex problems, and applying the fundamental concepts to new types of problems. Not all students adjust immediately to these demands.

The professor feels many incoming students struggle with the new and varied demands of college while trying to find their footing in a new environment and living away from home for the first time. Some Franklin & Marshall students who excelled in high school with minimal effort discover that they lack the intensity and focus toward studying that they need to succeed at the college level.

Morford offers the following advice for students. Feel free to share:

  • Treat academics as an opportunity to embrace subjects that will broaden and enrich your life. Schedule schoolwork with consistent hours every day, with one to two hours devoted each night for each class. Don't just passively re-read the textbook! Active study involves grappling with definitions, internalizing concepts and wrestling with recommended problems. Group study can help to reinforce concepts, but is not a replacement for individual, focused study; group study should be considered after your own foundation is sound.

  • If you're having trouble in a class, see your professor during office hours. Don't expect the professor to review the previous class or to teach you how to do a problem if you haven't spent your own time on it. Use those office hours to ask specific questions that will help you better understand the material. See your professor while you're struggling with a problem so that he or she can identify where the "train left the tracks" and get you moving in the right direction.

  • Spending hours in the library does not always equate to effective studying. Multitasking among texting, Facebook, iTunes and chemistry will not lead to quality learning.

  • After the semester's grades are published, take time to reflect on the concrete feedback that your grades offer. Allow yourself to consider what impact your study tactics had on each class. Then, make a plan for the next semester based on what you've learned. View this process as an opportunity to develop essential skills that will create success in future courses. Take advantage of the support and mentoring of faculty at F&M to realize your potential and maximize your growth during your college years.

F&M Works

F&M Works in Lancaster

F&M Works is an innovative year-long paid internship program for selected sophomores, juniors and seniors under the direction of F&M's Ware Institute for Civic Engagement. Launched two years ago to build sustainable relationships between the College and the community, F&M Works in Lancaster provides F&M students work opportunities at various nonprofit organizations where they can further develop professional leadership skills and awareness of community issues.

2014 internships will be posted in mid-February and rising sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible to apply between Feb. 17 and March 3. More information is available here.

Please Support the Franklin & Marshall Fund

Please Support the Franklin & Marshall Fund

Start your new year with a new gift -- to the Franklin & Marshall Fund. Every student's life will be touched by your generosity. Parents, alumni and friends give to support the academically challenging, supportive liberal arts education F&M provides.

Our fiscal year ends in June. If it is convenient, please consider pledging a monthly amount starting now and continuing through June. Parents are already supporting their children significantly by sending them to F&M, but if you are able to also support the Franklin & Marshall Fund we gratefully welcome your investment in excellence.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

Upcoming Events

January 14, 2014
Happy Hour and F&M Women's and Men's Basketball Games vs. Muhlenberg
Allentown, PA

January 16, 2014
Ben Franklin's 308th Birthday Bash
New York, NY

January 21, 2014
Monthy F&M Luncheon
Naples, FL

January 22, 2014
Happy Hour and F&M's Men's Basketball Game vs. Dickinson
Lancaster, PA

January 24, 2014
"Manhattan Comedy Night" with F&M Reception in Morristown
Morristown, NJ

February 8, 2014
"Think Pink Floyd" with F&M Reception
Englewood, NJ

February 8, 2014
Meet & Greet with F&M Wrestling Coach Mike Rogers
Philadelphia, PA