Questions Asked by Parents of Psychology & Addiction Studies Majors
Q1: The number one question we get asked by parents is always: “What can my student do with their degree?”
A1: This question has been addressed (very well) by the American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/education/undergrad/psych-career.aspx
Q2: The second most asked question is: “How can I get a copy of my student’s grades?”
A2: I’m afraid you can’t. All colleges and universities in the U.S. are prohibited from releasing certain information, including grades, to parents without the written permission of the student. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, also known as the Buckley Amendment), states that students over the age of 18 are considered responsible adults and are allowed to determine who will receive information about them. And yes, we know that you may be footing the bill for your child’s education, but the law doesn’t take that into consideration. Under FERPA, your student’s professors can’t even acknowledge that he/she attends NSU, much less speak with you about grades or attendance. You will need to ask your legally adult student to share this information with you.
Q3: Are summer classes required?
A3: Not at all. However, many students choose to take summer classes in order to accelerate their program--taking summer classes can shorten the time to graduation by as much as a year. In recent years we’ve seen a trend towards our students returning home in the summers to save money, which is why the Psychology Department now provides an extensive schedule of online courses during the summer.
Q4: Do professors take attendance in classes?
A4: Professors are required to take attendance and provide those attendance records to the University Registrar. NSU’s attendance policy can be found on page 28 of the current catalog http://registrar.nsula.edu/course-catalogs/. Parents should be aware that the reason most freshmen fail is because they don’t attend class regularly. Taking attendance helps us to identify these ‘at-risk’ students.
Q5: What kind of academic support does the Psychology Department offer?
A5: The Psychology Department has a serious commitment to retaining our majors and seeing them graduate. To this end, we are active in identifying at-risk students and providing services for them:
- Starting the first week, each instructor submits attendance records for every class meeting. Additionally, four weeks into the semester, instructors for every freshman and sophomore course submit grades to the Registrar. These grades and attendance records are used to identify at risk students.
- These at risk students are contacted and provided with tutoring. They may also be required to take an academic study skills course.
- If a student’s first semester GPA comes in below 2.50, they are required to meet with an academic advisor and create a plan for raising that GPA the next semester.
In addition, a tutor is available for each course from 8:00 to 4:30 in the Psychology Department Computer Lab, and at other times by appointment. These tutors are provided, at no cost to the student, by the Department.
Q6: Who should my student contact if he/she has a disability?
A6: Catherine C. Faucheaux, LCSW, Director of Disability Support & Tutoring, Student Union, Rm. 240A 318-357-4460 firstname.lastname@example.org
Q7: How does my student know what classes to take?
A7: When a student is accepted into the Psychology Department, they are assigned an advisor. This advisor will meet with them and work out a schedule of classes. A suggested rotation of courses is also available on our web site http://psychology.nsula.edu/ and on page 77 of the current catalog http://registrar.nsula.edu/assets/Uploads/Northwestern-Web-Catalog.pdf
When students are registered, their advisor will provide them with a detailed copy of their schedule showing the days and times of their courses as well as the buildings and classrooms they meet in. This information is also available for the student on their MyNSU web page.
Q8: If my student knows what he/she needs, why can’t my student enroll in their classes on the computer themselves?
A8: As part of our academic support of incoming freshmen, we require every student with less than 30 hours completed at NSU to register through an advisor. This ensures that they do not sign up for courses that they don’t need or for which they may not be prepared.
Q9: How many courses a semester will my student take?
A9: A student must take at least 12 hours to be considered full time. Most classes meet for three hours a week, but some meet for one, two, four, or five hours. Any combination that totals 12 or more semester hours is considered full time. We encourage most students to take 15 hours per semester in order to finish in a timely manner.
Q10: Are faculty members easy to reach outside of class?
A10: Yes. The Psychology Department’s full-time faculty members have offices in the classroom buildings, and they are available at least 10 hours a week for student interaction. Their office hours and contact information are posted on their office doors and they are available at other times by appointment. In addition, the faculty members check e-mail regularly. Between office hours, advising, mentoring and tutoring programs, and our PSI CHI and Psychology Club functions, it is practically impossible for a Psychology major to avoid interacting with the Department faculty.
BONUS QUESTION: What about social activities around the major?
BONUS ANSWER: We have an exceptionally active Psychology Club, which we strongly encourage our students to join. The Psychology Club sponsors speakers, participates in various campus functions and has social programs. As your student completes more classes, they may qualify for PSI CHI, the national honor society for psychology majors. Our PSI CHI group at NSU is also quite active and co-sponsors a number of events with the Psychology Club. We have found that participation in these organizations creates a supportive peer group of people with similar vocational interests, which leads to increased grade point averages and higher graduation rates. We encourage you to support your student’s participation in these organizations.
If you have questions that weren’t covered in this Q&A, I’d be more than glad to answer them. Please give me a call at 318-357-6594 or drop me an e-mail at email@example.com
Department of Psychology