Parent Newsletter
Fall 2015, Issue 1View past issues

Residence Hall Break Closing Information

Thanksgiving Break

Wednesday, November 25 – Residence Halls close at 10 a.m. for Thanksgiving Break.

Sunday, November 29 – Residence Halls reopen at 4 p.m.

Everyone must vacate Residence Halls by Wednesday, November 25 at 10 a.m. Residence Halls reopen on Sunday, November 29 at 4 p.m. No one will be permitted back into Residence Halls prior to Sunday, November 29 at 4 p.m.

Winter Break (Between Fall and Spring semester)

Saturday, December 12 – Residence Halls close at 10 a.m. for all students or 24 hours after a student’s last final exam (whichever comes first).

Saturday, January 9 – Residence Halls open for new and returning students.

Students may leave items in their residence hall room during winter break; however, students should take care of the following to best secure their personal items and to make their apartment ready for new apartment/roommates they may receive in January.

  • ITEMS BEING LEFT: Each student should leave all of his/her items in one area of the room/apartment and labeled (for example, items could be left on the resident’s bed and desk). Students should communicate with their Resident Assistant as to where in the apartment their belongings are being placed. This is done because sometimes occupancy unexpectedly changes over the break and students moving into an apartment need to know where the open space is located.
  • ITEMS NOT TO LEAVE: Money, jewelry, other small valuables, and small electronic equipment.
  • CLEANING: Students need to clean their apartment prior to leaving for the break. In the final week of the semester, the Resident Assistants will be meeting with each room/apartment to complete a closing agreement. During this process, room/apartment mates develop a plan for cleaning the apartment prior to leaving at the end of the semester.

Student Leadership Opportunities

How to GUARANTEE your student makes the most of their Penn College experience!

Do you remember interacting with a student leader at Penn College? Maybe you remember the Connections Link that you met over the summer; the Student Ambassador that gave you a campus tour; or your student’s Resident Assistant, LLC Peer Mentor, or Community Assistant that welcomed you on move in day. Penn College offers a number of leadership positions just for students with some great benefits!

Applications are available on the Student Activities myPCT portal site for students to apply for the following student leadership positions:

  • Presidential Student Ambassador
  • Commuter/Community Assistant
  • Connections Link
  • Resident Assistant
  • Living Learning Community Peer Mentors

Our student leaders are able to make the most of their Penn College experience by getting involved outside the classroom and helping other students!

Leadership experience is not required. So encourage your student to apply for one or more of these exciting opportunities.

Read about these positions online.

Applications are due by February 3, 2016.

Athletics

What It Means to be NCAA DIII

As many of you know, Penn College is a member of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) within NCAA’s Division III.

But do you know what that means?

Most of us hear news and watch highlights from NCAA Division I schools (like Penn State, Pitt, Notre Dame, etc.). Athletics in Division III is much different than at these large, scholarship-driven institutions. At Penn College, and in Division III, the student-athlete experience is primarily about their academic pursuits. We don’t offer scholarships and virtually all students will go professional in some other field.

We are committed to providing a rewarding experience that enriches and promotes academic and athletic success, sportsmanship, fair play, accountability, amateurism, integrity, and teamwork for student-athletes. Our coaches and athletic department always place academic success, fair and equitable treatment, and the health and welfare of student-athletes first in all decisions.

While we are most proud of our student-athletes when they walk across the stage at graduation, we also are delighted at their success on the court or field.

Learn more and follow the Wildcat teams on the Athletics website.

Athletic Team Spotlight: Women’s Soccer

Coach: John McNichol

Conference: North Eastern Athletic Conference

Competes: Fall semester

Penn College finished the regular season 8-8-3 overall, 7-3-2 in the North Eastern Athletic Conference. A 5-12 team in 2014, the Wildcats earned their first-ever NEAC playoff berth this season.

Penn College outscored its opponents 37-29 and averaged just under two goals per game and were 5-2-3 at home.

The athletics department also unveiled high definition live webcasting for all home events. Streams can be accessed on the Athletics website.

College Health Services

College Health Services is an ambulatory care clinic that is open to meet your son or daughter’s urgent care needs, Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. If your son or daughter has a non-life threatening medical situation that occurs after hours or on a weekend, we ask that you contact the Penn College Police at 570-321-5555 so that Penn College Emergency Services can be dispatched to evaluate your son or daughter and a determination can be made as to the appropriate level of care. We are here to help those who are not feeling their best.

After hours and emergency services are available at MedExpress, Geisinger Careworks, and Susquehanna Health.

Parent Facebook Page

We know hearing information from other parents directly can be a valuable tool for prospective and current parents. As a way to get to know other parents, we have created a "Penn College Parents" Facebook group, which provides parents with another avenue of support for helping their student, voicing concerns, and getting questions answered (by College representatives and, better yet, fellow parents).

The College fields numerous questions from parents throughout the year – sometimes it's because the student won't ask (or won't let a parent ask), while other times it's parents seeking advice on how best to support their student. The College will continue to answer these questions; however, this new group also gives you the opportunity to ask, and hear from, parents who have been in your shoes. We hope you'll consider joining and helping to spread your Penn College pride!

Parent Access to Student Information and Grades

Pennsylvania College of Technology supports the privacy of student records, as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In compliance with FERPA, the College limits the disclosure of personal identifiable information from educational records without the student’s prior consent.

At the same time, we understand that students may wish to share such information with parents and guests in the interest of supporting the student’s educational experience. As a result, Penn College has developed the “Grant Parent/Guest Access” online application to allow students an easy, one stop method to release key educational information to parents, legal guardians, and guests.

Through the Grant Parent/Guest Access option on the Student Information System (SIS), students can create an account for parents/guests that will allow them access to student grades and other educational records. In creating this account for parents/guests, the student will assign the parent/guest a User ID and password. If a parent/guest forgets their User ID and password, it is the responsibility of the student to reissue that information.

Penn College Awarded Grant to Aid Suicide Prevention

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens and young adults, ages 15-24, and Penn College is committed to increasing awareness and involving the entire campus community in prevention efforts. We are pleased to announce that Penn College’s new initiative to strengthen suicide-prevention efforts has received federal government support. The College has been awarded a SAMHSA Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Campus Suicide Prevention Grant. The grant will provide $306,000 over three years for Penn College SPIRIT (suicide prevention through information, referral intervention and training).

Grant funds will be used for training, education, and enhanced screening and to increase the number of students accessing mental health and substance abuse services. “Penn College is thrilled to be awarded this federal grant to continue the impactful work of promoting student mental health and preventing suicide,” said Kathy W. Zakarian, Director of Counseling and the SPIRIT Project. “We hope to foster a campus climate of help-seeking and reporting. Faculty, staff, and students can make a difference by learning to recognize the warning signs of distress, developing knowledge of resources, and encouraging students to seek help.”

Parents and family members also will be included in suicide prevention initiatives through education and awareness activities. These will include a presentation during the Connections sessions in the summer, as well as a regular column in upcoming editions of the parent newsletter. For more information about the grant, please contact Counseling Services at 570-327-4765.

Penn College Scholarships

The Penn College scholarship application for the 2016-17 academic year will open the beginning of December. Awarding will begin in March 2016 so timeliness is important in order for your student to be considered for the most Penn College scholarships possible.

This application will allow students to be considered for Penn College scholarships if they meet the donor eligibility criteria – and it is quick and easy! One application must be submitted each academic year.

  • If your student is new to the scholarship application, he/she will need to provide all requested information.
  • If your student submitted an application for 2015-16, most of the information (with the exception of the essay and short answers) is carried over into the 2016-17 application. Your student will need to review that information, make any necessary changes and additions, and then submit the 2016-17 application.

Unless otherwise stated in the criteria for a specific scholarship, students must be enrolled full-time and have a minimum GPA of 2.50. Most scholarship awards will be split between the fall and spring semesters. You can view all Penn College scholarships, but remember students only submit one application.

Contact us with any questions you have regarding Penn College scholarships.

We also provide a list of external scholarships that are not funded by Penn College but have been verified as valid to the best of our ability. Students need to apply for each individual scholarship if they are eligible. Be sure to read the criteria, procedures, and deadlines for each scholarship carefully.

We also provide several Search Engines for regional and national scholarships. Information can be found at the bottom of our External Scholarships Web page.

Do You and Your Student Have Yours?

In our summer newsletter, we introduced parents to the new Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID, which is required for students and parents to complete a FAFSA and/or apply for federal student loans. We know that many of you (and your students) followed our advice and applied for your FSA ID. However, there remains a significant number of both students and parents who still need to do so. Don’t delay!

Refer to our first article in our summer newsletter, as well as this information from Federal Student Aid for more detail.

Note that there is no reason to update a 2015-16 FAFSA just because you get a new FSA ID. However, the FSA ID is needed to complete the 2016-17 FAFSA, which most families do in February or March.

If you or your student have never applied for a Federal Direct Loan (Stafford or PLUS), you will need to create a FSA ID (one to three days before you apply). View this video from the U.S. Department of Education

If you’re ready to create your FSA ID, go to this secure government site. For those who previously created a FSA ID, you can use the ‘Edit My FSA ID’ function from the same site to confirm your FSA ID. Make sure your student creates one if not already done.

Successful Transitions

Your student's midterm grades were a valuable reality check. Hopefully, those grades were used as a catalyst for a more focused conversation about how time management, routine, study habits, and learning strategies have been working so far this semester.

As we head into the home stretch for the semester, here are several effective strategies you can share with your student:

  • Check your email. Students are expected to check their college email daily throughout the semester. Most important meetings, interventions, or outreach for help will come from the college via email, but many students miss these opportunities because they don’t check their email.
  • Meet with any professor who issued a midterm grade that concerns you. Don’t attempt to have this conversation in the classroom right before or after class. Meet your professor instead in his or her office during office hours.
  • Attend a few tutoring sessions or study groups. The Academic Success Center offers free tutoring in many different subjects via walk-in, by appointment, online, or small group tutoring. Specific topics and tutor hours are listed on the portal.
  • Work with a mentor. Any student can request to be assigned a mentor to coach the student in areas in need of help - adjusting to college, managing time, juggling multiple responsibilities, etc.

It is important to respond to any academic issues as quickly as possible. In most cases, a student can still turn things around and improve their grades in the last few weeks of the semester, but the sooner they start making changes, the better.

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