What your student should expect in the college classroom
The college classroom is different from the high school classroom. At Hartwick, many classes are discussion-based, with fewer lectures, and there are expectations for in-class engagement. In-class topics may or may not directly correspond to out-of-class reading assignments. And most important, homework is not assigned on a daily basis, but is rather more long-term in scope.
Course Syllabus: The course syllabus is available to help students plan for the semester and know what to expect in terms of exams, assignments, and overall course expectations. At the beginning of the semester each professor provides a course syllabus, which is the official course outline. In addition to assignments, it typically includes professor contact information, office hours, and information about attendance expectations and grading policies.
Out of Classroom Study Time: Because so much course work is expected out of the classroom, a helpful rule of thumb for time management purposes is to plan on devoting 2-3 hours of study time out of the classroom for every hour of time spent in the class. If a class meets for three hours a week, the average number of hours students should plan to devote to studying would be 6-9 hours per week-for that one class alone. Multiply that by 4 or 5 classes, and you can see what's expected of your student in terms of study time!
Five and Nine-Week Evaluations: At Hartwick, we have developed a system for alerting students early that they may not be achieving at the expected level in a certain class. After the first five weeks of the semester, professors issue "Five-Week Evaluations," assigning each student a report of "S" for "satisfactory," an "M" for "mixed results or missed classes," and an "F" for "currently on the road to failure."
Students issued an "S" can gain peace of mind knowing that they are on the right track, while students issued an "M" in any class know they must improve their efforts in order to achieve success. When an "F" is issued, serious steps should be taken on the part of the student to turn things around. This includes meeting with the professor, visiting Learning Support Services in the Loft (on the 5th floor of the Library) for study skills assistance, and requesting a tutor to assist with topic specific studying.
Evaluations are issued again at the nine-week mark so students can continue to monitor their progress and take appropriate actions needed to be successful.
Note that evaluations are shared with parents only if the student has filled out and signed the Student Release of Information Form with the Office of Advising and Registration.
Mid-term and Final Examinations: Another important marker in the semester is the mid-term exam or project. Mid-term exams can be eye-opening experiences for first year students. For some students mid-terms may reveal the need to work differently and seek resources. Mid-terms are a great way for students to assess where they are in classes. Best case scenario - it reinforces that they are doing what they need to do to succeed in classes.