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Parents Newsletter, January 2012

Dear Parents

Dear Parents,

Happy New Year!

It's super to see our students returning for the spring semester. We've missed them! I trust that the long winter break has inspired them to return with a renewed commitment to make the most of their Franklin & Marshall College experience.

Before we know it, spring break will be upon us (March 10 - 18) and the last day of spring semester classes not far behind on April 26. You can view the full spring semester and 2012 - 2013 calendars here.

Hope to see you on campus or at an off-campus F&M event soon!

All the best,

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

F&M Apparel

Franklin & Marshall is Everywhere!

I hear pretty regularly from Franklin & Marshall parents who have seen people wearing Franklin & Marshall T-shirts and sweatshirts while traveling in Europe. It usually comes with the assumption that we must have more than our fair share of alumni and students who live in European countries. Each time, I get a kick out of telling the story of the Italian clothing company that has adopted our name.

Franklin & Marshall College has a licensing agreement with Franklin Marshall Apparel, SRL, and through the agreement, the clothier is permitted to use the college's name and logo on various lines of its apparel. The company's founders got the idea after finding an old F&M sweatshirt in a vintage clothing store in London (this article explains more).

We are fortunate to be a college with the rare distinction of partnering with a European firm in a way that promotes Franklin & Marshall College around the world!


Homecoming & Family Weekend 2012

The date has been set for next fall's Homecoming & Family Weekend: October 19 - 21, 2012. Mark your calendar now and plan to join in for the College's big fall weekend!

Appel Health Services

Subscribe to The College Reporter

Do you want to stay up to date on all the latest news regarding Franklin & Marshall - through the eyes of our students? If so, I urge you to subscribe to The College Reporter.

As an independent student publication, The College Reporter can provide an honest, unfiltered view of F&M. The College Reporter publishes every Monday throughout the academic year (except on holidays and vacations) and will be delivered to your doorstep every week. By subscribing, you will receive the most up-to-date news; timely opinion; information regarding the many cultural, musical, and artistic events that take place at the College; music and movie reviews; and the latest news and scores from F&M's many athletic teams.

You can choose from the Reporter's semester, full-year and multi-year plans. If you are interested, please follow the link to the subscription page, print and complete the form and send it to the address listed, along with a check for the appropriate amount. If you have any questions, please feel free to email The College Reporter at

Reaserch Fair

Summer Opportunity for Rising Juniors

Applications for the Paul A. Mueller, Jr. Summer Award are due January 30. This competitive award (up to $3,000 per student) enables rising juniors (students preparing to begin their third year of studies) to pursue worthy projects that provide important opportunities for personal growth; to develop independence, creativity and leadership skills; and to broaden or deepen some area of special interest. The award is intended to allow students the freedom to pursue areas of personal interest that they might otherwise be unable or unlikely to explore further.


Future Commencement Dates

It's never too early to begin planning for the big weekend when your student will graduate from Franklin & Marshall. Feel free to plug these into your calendar:

  • 2012:  Saturday, May 12, 2012
  • 2013:  Saturday, May 11, 2013
  • 2014:  Saturday, May 10, 2014
F&M in Paris

F&M in Paris 2012 for Classes of '15 and '14

F&M's program in Paris is a fantastic deal: students with one year of French under their belts can spend a full semester in Paris for virtually the same price as an on-campus semester. Geared primarily toward sophomores and juniors, this program is a package of courses combining the excitement of studying abroad with F&M's signature emphasis on close student-professor interaction, small-group discussion and development of research and writing skills. A class such as "Cross-Perspectives: Europe-USA," takes them out to museums and historical sites across the French capital. Native instructors teach language courses. Participants travel to Chartres, Strasbourg and other destinations. Click here to follow the adventures of the 2011 group.  Applications for Fall 2012 are accepted January - March 2012.

Question of the Month

Question of the Month:  "Why is my first-year student struggling?"

I recently 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 apply to students across the curriculum:

There is a substantial difference in expectations between high school and college, and the transition can be daunting. Morford explains that chemistry is often the first science course 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 a week. Because there are fewer class hours, daily attention to chemistry by students is necessary. Students are expected to not only memorize, which is fundamental to learning, but to also conceptualize the "why" and "how" behind the memorized facts.

Morford recommends 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.

Morford 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 1-2 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.

Upcoming Events

January 25, 2012
Creating a Powerful Professional Image
New York, N.Y.

January 29, 2012
Marvin Hamlisch, Dave Koz and the Movies at Heinz Hall
Pittsburgh, Pa.

February 2, 2012
Boston Regional Parent Gathering
Chestnut Hill, Mass.

February 23, 2012
A Conversation with President Daniel Porterfield
New York, N.Y.