How is my son or daughter doing at Villanova?
This is a question we hear frequently from the parents of first year
students, so we've developed some FAQs that might be helpful. Generally,
Villanova students are bright and motivated and have a great experience at
Villanova. They usually get through the usual rocky patches with not
difficulty. If your son or daughter seems happy and is getting decent grades,
you can probably relax. However, here are some questions about more complicated
Q. Will Villanova notify me if my son or daughter isn't doing well?
A. For a number of reasons, we prefer to deal directly with our students, and
we assume that the students themselves will communicate with the parents. For
the most part, then, you will not hear from us about your son or daughter's
progress. The Office of the Dean of Students does contact parents if students
are put on probation (or receive a more serious sanction) for a drug or alcohol
violation. If the student is in an emergency situation, we'll be sure that the
student calls you or - of course - if the student can't call, you'll be
Q. My son is really struggling with some of his classes. He was always a
great student in high school but he is having a lot of difficulty in college.
What can he do?
A. Generally, the first semester of college is a huge transition for students,
so this is not a completely uncommon situation. The obvious suggestion is for
the student to seek help, but some of our students do have some difficulty
asking for help when they need it. The first resource is always the professor.
All Villanova professors have posted office hours, and the student should
either visit the professor at the office hours or make an appointment to see
the professor at some other time. If a student is more comfortable with his or
her academic adviser, the student should also see that person. For difficulties
with writing or mathematics, the student can also go to the Writing Center or
the Math Learning Resource Center. Many students have difficulty with knowing
how to study and with managing time. These students can check in with the Study
This program offers individual help and also classes on topics such as test
Q. My daughter says that she is doing OK in her classes, but she is not
really very happy with her life on campus. What should she do?
A. As we always say, college usually is a good experience but it doesn't happen
all at once. If she lives on campus, the first step would be to talk to the RA
(Resident Assistant) in the Residence Hall. The RA is trained to refer the
student for a variety of services. Some of these services are listed on this
resource page for parents:http://www.villanova.edu/studentlife/specprograms/parents/
Students can also contact their Orientation Counselor. This upperclassmen often
has many connections throughout campus and can help students navigate some of
the ins and outs of campus life. If that doesn't help, she should approach some
of these offices directly. The Office of the Dean of Students is a good place
to start. They can make helpful referrals to other services.
Q. My son says he is not sure he is in the right program. What should he do?
A. Often our freshman students are under tremendous pressure from the world
around them to be able to explain their future career plans to anyone who asks.
(Of course, we all know that many students have no idea what they want to do
for a career, and even the ones who think they have an idea often change those
ideas.) So there is an intense pressure on students to pick a major that seems
focused on a specific career. Sometimes we see students who are in pre-med,
nursing, engineering, or business who are in those programs not because they
are especially interested in those careers but because they feel that they must
have their career plans worked out before they enter college. Again, the
academic adviser can be very helpful in discussing these questions. Each
college also has an advising center, and students can also go there for
additional guidance. A student who is worried about careers and majors can
check in with Career Services, and they can help students think more
realistically about careers. Of course the first thing they will tell the
student is that, "Your major is not necessarily your career." Their
website is: http://www.villanova.edu/studentlife/careers/
Q. My son says he LOVES Villanova and that he is having a great time. I'm
worried, however, that he is having a terrific time socially but that his grades
may be suffering. It isn't that I don't trust him, but I'd like some
independent indication of how he is doing academically. How would I get that?
A. Your question is not untypical. Given the greater freedom of college life,
some of our students can be a bit unrealistic about how things are going. The
fact that they have fewer tests and fewer graded homework assignments can also
mean that they don't get as much feedback on their progress as they got in high
school. And a few of the less mature students sometimes have a tendency not to
be completely up front with their parents about their academic work.
There are several things you might keep your eye on. The first indication is
mid-term grades. Many faculty members post a mid-term grade. These grades are
posted on Novasis, which is our student record system, and they are usually
available about a week or two after fall break. So if you haven’t heard
anything by now, it is a good time to ask your son or daughter since it is more
than likely they received most of their mid term grades by now. You might ask
your son to show you his mid-term grades on Novasis. Three of the colleges -
Arts and Sciences, Business, and Nursing - also send a mid-term warning letter
to first year students who are doing poorly in their academic work. These
letters are typically sent to the student both at the home address and at
Villanova. So, if a letter arrived in October from your son's Academic Dean,
you might ask your son what is in the letter.
Final grades - which come out just around Christmas -- are a definite moment
of truth for a few first year students. Again, they will be posted on Novasis,
and so you should check in with your son about how his grades were. A student
who does poorly during the first semester is put on academic probation. Most of
them straighten out in their second semester. A few who really aren't ready for
college work continue to do poorly, and may be asked to take some time off to
gain some additional maturity.
Q. I am worried about my daughter's academic progress? May I contact my
daughter's teachers myself?
A. It is not a good idea for you to contact professors directly. Part of the
problem is a legal one. There are very strict Federal regulations about what
kind of information can be given out about students. A professor typically does
not know whether he or she is authorized to discuss a student's records with a
parent, and also does not know whether the person who has called is in fact the
parent. In general, professors want to deal directly with the students
Q. I'm worried about my son? When is it appropriate for me to call, and who
should I call?
A. If there are problems, the first thing for the parent to do is to advise the
student to seek help. Generally speaking, the parent should get involved in one
of three cases. 1) The student is in trouble but doesn't seem to be reaching
out for help. 2) The student has reached out for help, but the issue wasn't
resolved. 3) The parent is concerned that the student is not being completely candid
about the situation. In those cases, the parent should call either the Office
of the Dean of Students (for personal concerns) or the Office of the Academic
Dean of the student's particular college (in other words, if the student is in
Arts and Sciences, call the office of the Office of the Dean of Liberal Arts
and Science). The staff members in these offices are extremely knowledgeable
and helpful, and they can also refer questions to one of the Assistant or
Associate Deans. Again, many of the resources are listed on the page below:
Director of New
207 Dougherty Hall