Parent & Family Live Q&A

 

Carolyn: Okay, hi everyone. Welcome to our Facebook live session for a Q&A to help parents think through some of the questions and issues that we know that you're probably starting to really process, to get ready to send your student off to Penn College. So my name is Carolyn Strickland, I am the vice president for enrollment management and associate provost here at Penn College, and I'm in my 15th year at the college. I've worked in a number of offices, but I am delighted to be here to talk with you about questions you might have tonight. And with me.

Brenda: My name is Brenda Wiegand, and I've had two children both go through Penn College, and so hopefully I can give you some good answers, some perspective from a parent's point of view, and answer any questions that you have.

Carolyn: So we know that there are questions floating out there, we know that we're just starting this Facebook live, we should mention to you that this is our very first one, so we'll see how this goes, but we're interested in hearing from you, so go ahead and start to enter any questions that you might have, whether it be about a date, or a process, or you would just like to hear our thoughts on anything that you're concerned about that might help put you at ease to get ready for this big transition that we know that your son or daughter or student that you're working with is going to go through, and we know that this is a big transition for parents too. So we have a lot of resources in place to help students and parents through this next big step of your life, and so let us connect you with all of those resources to let you know how to make it as smooth and as great as possible. It looks like people are joining, and some questions are going to a start to come in. Because we can't read the screen from that far away, we've got one up close. Let's see. All right, hi Kim, thanks for affirming it's a good college, we hope that you will all find that out very soon if you're not yet quite sure. We think it's a great place and are excited to welcome all of your students. We have some folks who are letting us know that your kids are finishing their first year, some others who are joining in just to listen, so.

Carolyn: We'll just jump in while you think about what questions you have. One that we know has been coming up is folks are starting to ask us, when is the first day of classes? There is an academic calendar that's posted on the website, but the first day of classes for the fall 2018 semester will be Monday, August 20th. That will be preceded by the welcome weekend, which is the 18th and 19th, and we can talk more about welcome weekend if you'd like to hear about that.

Carolyn: But we know that a lot of folks are also asking us, what advice do you have for those of us who are going through this for the first time? And so I know Brenda's ready to talk about that a little bit.

Brenda: Yeah, absolutely, and you know, from a parent's perspective, you're going to have lots of different emotions, you're going to be sometimes probably more excited than your student is. Welcome weekend is, it's a great weekend when you come here on campus and you're going to check in and then start to move your student into their, their room or their apartment that they're sharing with other students, and it's a really good, fun experience, and I think that if you guys have some specific questions about it, we can, we can help you with guiding you through that weekend, for sure.

Carolyn: All right, well, we've got our first one, Brenda, and I think you'd be good to talk about this. What are some good essentials to bring for your residence hall room?

Brenda: Yeah, so, you know, definitely, my daughter lived on campus her first year here. And I will tell you that, you know, she brought her comfy blanket, you know, she had to have her comfortable blanket. Her comfortable pillow. So make sure you're getting things that you know, your son or daughter that they are going to take a little bit of home with them to make them comfortable, so. Definitely you got to have all of your toiletries, you don't want to forget any of that kind of stuff. I will tell you something that was really important to my daughter was a Keurig coffee pot. She wanted her own small little Keurig coffee pot in her room, and, you know, a certain shelving unit. So, you know, just kind of ask them what they need to survive, and you'll start a list.

Carolyn: I know when I went, I took way too much.

Brenda: It happens.

Carolyn: And that's, it's about finding what is right to help them feel comfortable. There's a great list that residence life posts on the website, about what are some essentials that you might want to think about. They also let you know about the kind of items that aren't permitted in residence hall rooms. We also talk about this at Connections, our orientation program, that's a, this is a common question that comes up over the summer because it's really on people's minds at that point, because they're starting to get all the final details together, so. Let us know if you have more specifics about that, but you can check out the website, and also know that there'll be other opportunities to talk with other parents and staff about this.

Brenda: Right, and don't panic if you've forgotten something, because, you know, Walmart's right down the road. Target's not too far away, so there's always places you can go and quickly get the things that you may have forgotten, so don't panic about that.

Carolyn: And speaking of residence life, there's a question about how do students get assigned to their residence hall, and is there a process. There is. When students fill out their application for living on campus, there's information that they enter about their room preferences and a little bit about themselves. The residence life staff then goes through a process to try to pair students with some similarities together and also those asking to live in the same kinds of residence halls. So that is, all that data, if you will, is being collected right now from students as they register for housing, and then residence life will start in a month or so to pair students, and early to mid-summer the housing assignments will be posted on the student's SIS. That's their student information system. So they'll be able to look in there and see what residence hall they are living in, what room they're living in, and they will also receive their roommate contact information. Let's see, what else is coming up? It is not too late to choose residence halls, so we got that, is it too late? Definitely not. You want to make sure you get on to the SIS and fill out your preferences for residence halls, though, so that you get included in that process when it comes up. Let's see. What are the most overlooked necessities for the residence halls?

Brenda: You know, I don't think my daughter forgot anything. She was probably one of the ones that brought too much.

Carolyn: I think probably just the general toiletry items.

Brenda: Right.

Carolyn: Laundry detergent, those kinds of things. Your towels, your sheets.

Brenda: Just your day-to-day living things, just think about what you use day-to-day to get through, starting with your toothbrush in the morning to what your ritual is at nighttime when you go to bed. So just kind of think about that, that whole day process, and make sure you have those items with you.

Carolyn: So a little bit of a different direction, there's a question about whether we have scholarships for international students. We have a scholarship process that is open to all students who apply and are accepted to the college, so international students are welcome to fill out that common scholarship application form that we have. Now is the time to do it. The scholarship application has been open for a while and we are about ready to start the process for our financial aid office to start awarding scholarships, so you can find that on our website, fill that out, get that submitted. And it's one scholarship form for all of our scholarships. We then do the matching of students to the criteria for scholarships. As scholarships are awarded, you will receive notification of that and have that information posted in your SIS as well.

Carolyn: Let's see, what else? Do you see another one? What do we have down here?

Carolyn: Welcome weekend.

Carolyn: Yes, okay, so with welcome weekend being the same time as Little League, what about the hotels, where would, might we be able to stay? Do we need to plan on being there overnight? So let us tell you a little bit about the welcome weekend schedule. We occasionally overlap with Little League, it doesn't happen every year, but we know that it does cause some hotel issues for families and can be of concern. But a little bit about the weekend might put your mind at ease about that. On Saturday, August 18th--

Brenda: Yes.

Carolyn:  First-year students will start to move in. We have the students broken up for check-in time by their last name, so it's alphabetical order. When students arrive, you will find that we have one common check-in place for all of your, anything you need to do to check in, so it's, you pick up your residence hall keys, let's see, what else is there?

Brenda: There's a whole packet that you're picking up, maybe, of stuff you have, guidebooks, but--

Carolyn: If you have a parking permit already paid for, it's there. If you need to do any turn-in paperwork for your immunizations for student health services, it's all in one place. Once you get checked in, then we get you into a pretty short, fast-moving line for residence, your residence halls. We have a whole army, I don't know what color shirts we'll be wearing this year, but we're pretty visible. They will swarm your car and help you unload your belongings and get them up to your room so that you can quickly move your car to long-term parking and then start the wonderful process of unpacking in your residence hall room. We offer lunch on the lawn by, in Rose Street Commons, that's where our first-year students who are living on campus are all corralled. That takes the worry off of you about where to go, that's free of charge for students and families. And then you help your student get settled. Quite honestly, we ask parents to depart just prior to dinner time, so--

Brenda: Right.

Carolyn: Did you do that, Brenda?

Brenda: Yes, yup, absolutely I did.

Carolyn: So at that point we start to have meetings with students, and we start to have programs specifically for students. And we try to get the focus to be on students meeting each other, and there are a couple of activities on Sunday to take them around on campus tours to look at their specific classrooms, with their schedule in hand to put them at ease for what's going to happen on Monday morning, which is that first class. So parents do not need to stay in Williamsport, there is not a reason to come back on Sunday, at least not a formal program. We know that some parents want to stay close by, maybe you've been driving for a long time. And because we are overlapping with Little League this year, you might want to think about just heading a little bit out of town. So head down towards Lewisburg or even down towards Salladsburg, but that's the area that you're coming from. You're still in close enough distance if you need to get back, you can. But it gets you out of the fray and probably into an area where there are residence hall rooms. So there are different kinds of options around the area, and a little bit outside the area, but we do know that this is a very busy couple of weekends in Williamsport when Little League comes to town, which is very exciting for us in many ways as well. All right, so we've gone ahead and posted the list of what to bring, so if you still have questions about that, you now have a link to that. Let's see.

Carolyn: Ah, blue bins are the best. So that's that team of staff and students and faculty who will swarm your car, and we literally have big blue bins to help you unload - I think we surprise families - unload all of your belongings very quickly, help you get them up.

Brenda: It's truly amazing. They come at your car, the driver doesn't even get out of the car, and by the time I parked my car, the bins and my daughter were already up into her room and she was unpacking them. It's a really fast process, so.

Carolyn: All right, we have another question about when it comes to paying for the residence halls, is the meal plan included or required? We, we will, we do require meal plans for our first-year students, but the cost for residence life and for your meal plan are separate, and they will be posted to your bill. We have a required minimum for students who live on campus. If you want to upgrade your meal plan because you want different options or know that you'll eat more, that is certainly available to you at that time. But you'll see that those costs are reflected individually on your bill. Bills usually come out mid-summer, right around the July 4th holiday, and then the bills, tuition is due on August 6th. So that is for the fall 2018 semester.

Carolyn: Let's see, we have lots of people joining, so from all over, it's good to see all of you. What are other weekend activities that are there throughout the year? Do you want to talk about that, Brenda?

Brenda: So, yeah, I know that my daughter went to a lot of different activities. So, you know, we have athletics, so there was definitely athletic games that she went to. They, student activities hosts a lot of different events, from comedians and different bands, so sometimes there's musical events. There's always something to do. So there's lots of things going on all the time. There's also, that they, it's called our stall wall. It hangs in the bathrooms and so students are always informed, because there's a stall wall in every stall, and they can actually read what's going on every week. So it's a great information piece, and students get a lot of information from it.

Carolyn: The tagline for that publication is "Everybody knows because everybody goes." So there's, you have students say, can't find information, you can ask them about their stall wall. I always tell parents that if you hear from your son or daughter, student, that there's nothing to do here, that they maybe haven't just gotten connected yet. Because several nights throughout the week, between athletics and the student organization activities, there are a variety of options. On the weekends there are events planned for both Friday and Saturday night, often during the day on Saturday, and sometimes on Sundays as well. It may not always be something they want to do, but there are lots of options. We have usually over 60 student organizations, sometimes that number increases to over 70, because we develop new student organizations based on student interest, so we may have a whole new group of first-year students coming in this fall that have an interest, a common interest in something we don't have, and they can get together and go through the process to form a student organization.

Brenda: Yeah, I just wanted to mention there's bulletin boards all over campus where student activities posts several fliers about all the upcoming events. So I don't think you can walk down one hallway and not see a bulletin board, and see all the different posters and flyers about the events that are going on  campus.

Carolyn: So we're getting some good comments from former students and some parents of some current students, you know, attesting to that we have really great residence halls on campus. I know that they are not like anything that I lived in when I went to college. So if you haven't toured yet, it's not too late to do that, we have lots of options for getting on campus and touring, and we think that you'll be really impressed by the residence hall options. And then some testaments about move-in experience. We really pride ourselves in making sure that that is as good of an experience as possible, because we know that it is otherwise a stressful day for families, and we want to help mitigate that and make it a memorable one, not a stressful one, so I think you'll be pleasantly surprised when you come for that weekend.

Carolyn: All right, we've talked about weekend activities, could we repeat the tuition due date? Yes, it is Monday, August 6th. So tuition is due on Monday, August 6th. Welcome weekend then is the 18th and 19th, and Monday, August 20th, all the fun starts with the first classes early in the morning.

Carolyn: So here's a question about when do students find out about financial aid? Please remember that the first part of that process is to make sure you fill out your FAFSA. That is the critical piece of information that we need to get that process started for you. Once your FAFSA is in, the financial aid office gets busy right away working on reviewing your information and starting to identify what aid you could be available for. Financial aid comes in several forms. They could include grants, aid, or scholarships, so we are looking at your FAFSA from a holistic perspective, the scholarship process, as I mentioned, has started, and so financial aid will start to post any aid that you have to your student's SIS account. So they can get out there and watch that information being added as it comes in, and if you at any point have any questions, because we know that financial aid is an area that--

Brenda: That can be intimidating.

Carolyn: Yeah, and a lot to take in. And so from--

Brenda: Just call them. If you have questions, call. They're there to help you and answer your questions. You know, my personal experience, you know, they were always very helpful, and you just need to give them a call.

Carolyn: Okay. So we have a question about when is parents' weekend. That is in October, October 5th?

Brenda: Through the...

Carolyn: I think it's 6th, 7th, and 8th.

Brenda: Yeah, 6th, yeah.

Carolyn: That first weekend in October, October 6th, 7th, and 8th. It is not too early to start booking rooms for that weekend. We don't know of anything major happening in town, so it's not a worry that they'll book up because of competing events, but it's just, the dates are out there, you can go ahead and start to get those plans made. Parent and family weekend is a great weekend. I don't know if you can talk about any--

Brenda: There are a lot of events that--

Carolyn: Events that you've participated in--

Brenda: Yeah, there is a lot of events that happen on campus, and the best thing to do is, once the time gets closer, you'll see a website go up with all the events that are on campus, some that you may have to register for, but there's, you know, there's different brunches that you can go to and just a bunch of different fun interactive activities, there's different tours that you can do, so certainly just make sure that you, you know, check the website often for the updated list of events and plan that weekend, for sure.

Carolyn: The general schedule is out there now, and like Brenda said, you can decide to participate in any programs you want. Other, it's a little different than some other programs that we have, where we give you the schedule and then follow that. This one you get to participate at your own speed. We have some parents who will come and sign up for every event that we offer, others who come and they just want to be on campus that weekend and see their student, and so they're here participating but not doing any of the scheduled events, and that is, that is totally fine, so it's--

Brenda: It's always a fun time, they always have the tour of Williamsport during that weekend, so it's always fun to sign up for that and hop on a trolley and you get the tour of Williamsport, so.

Carolyn: What time do most classes start in the morning? Usually eight o'clock are the earliest classes that we have. If you are in a hospitality program, you may find that you have some very early classes. But I don't know that any other courses start before eight o'clock.

Brenda: I don't think so.

Carolyn: And we do have some programs that have classes that go well into the evening, nine and ten o'clock, so students can have pretty long, pretty long days. Do we post about off-campus jobs for students? We do. We have an office that helps with students finding jobs, that's a function that comes out of our career services office. Their office is in the campus center, up on the second floor, and we have a coordinator of that program that shares information about job opportunities for students to have while they're in college, so these aren't jobs to get for beyond campus, or beyond your time at the college. We have lots of support for finding those kinds of jobs, but this is to help students find part-time jobs while they're here as a student.

Carolyn: What else? Didn't take long to move in, that's great.

Carolyn: Yes, FAFSA has been submitted around fall time frame, great.

Carolyn: How much is required for a deposit for living on campus? I'm, I believe that's $300, $200, so I've got a little fact-checker over here. I was going to say we'll check on that, but it's a $200 deposit for your on-campus living. So, oh, here's a question we get asked pretty regularly.

Carolyn: Do parents have access to student grades and if so, when does that information become available and how do we get it?

Brenda: Yeah, you don't have access to your student's grades. But stay in communication with them and talk with them about it. And ask them, ask them how they're doing. They do have the ability to give you certain access to their SIS, right?

Carolyn: Mm-hmm.

Brenda: I didn't have that access, I didn't ask my kids to give it to me, but we were, we were pretty open about it. My daughter and I had a great relationship as far as, she shared her grades with me all the time. My son, maybe a little bit different, when I would ask him how he was doing, he wasn't quite so forthcoming, but, you know, I trusted that he was doing well and you just keep the communication open. And it'll be all right. But just, you know, whatever your relationship is with them now with their grades, you just kind of keep that going, and don't be afraid to ask them and ask them more than once, so.

Carolyn: And we understand that concern from parents. You're investing a lot in this too, and you want to know how they're doing. Are they, are they on track? We talk a good bit about this at Connections in a session that we have for parents. It's all about communications with the college. So when students enroll in a post-secondary institution, access to their grades is limited to them unless they give the college permission to share those grades, as Brenda mentioned, with others. And they have to tell us who those others are. They can't tell us Mom or Dad, but they have to tell us Carolyn Strickland or Elliot Strickland. And we talk you through that process of how students can do that, we share that with students, we share that with you. Our philosophy is one of wanting to make sure you know how to engage with the college. We don't say if you have to call us, but when you need to call us, call, and if there is a communication limitation because of the access, which is guided by FERPA, a federal regulation, we can talk with you about that and give you information that we're permitted to give you but also give you guidance in how to talk to your son and daughter. We really believe in engaging parents as partners in this educational process, and so we're doing that to the best of our abilities, but also really starting to prepare students for their adulthood, and making sure they're taking responsibility for their information as well.

Carolyn: Which one?

Brenda: New classes, and when the students schedule their new class or classes.

Carolyn: Okay.

Brenda: So as a new student, you don't schedule your classes. They're assigned for you, so when you, you will get a pre-made schedule, and if I remember correctly, it's not set in stone, so if there's something on there that doesn't quite work, if you truly are not an 8:00 a.m. riser, and you can't handle an English class at 8:00 a.m., it's okay to call and get that switched, if I remember correctly, I think we, I think I had to do that.

Carolyn: Yeah, you can, you can definitely try. So, we are, we are in the process right now still, having students go through placement testing, and students going through the advising process. So the advising process is what follows placement testing, where students and their families come back, and they get the results of their placement test, and talk about what the implications of those results are for their schedule, and start to talk about academic expectations and life as a student with their faculty or dean, whomever you talk with at advising. We're doing all of that so that come late April, early May, we will start to do the auto-scheduling process, as Brenda mentioned, for all new students. We then post those schedules so that students can see them. If they do have questions or there's something about it that they have concerns, they absolutely can call in. We can't always guarantee that they'll be able to switch and get the most ideal schedule of what they would want, but they, we try to work with you to the best of our ability.

Carolyn: Beyond this first semester, then, when students, new students come to campus in the fall, they will take a freshman year experience course, and we spend several class sessions in that course talking to students about the scheduling process, because then they schedule themselves for every semester beyond that first one, when we do it for them. So we want to make sure they know how to do that. Then they really have even more control over what, what courses they select when, and at what times, and sometimes even what, what professors. They have an academic profile, though, that they're following, so they're, they have much guidance and they work with their academic advisor to plan that schedule each semester.

Carolyn: And there was a question about when do they get their academic advisor. We're also starting that process up very soon. Your, by the time your son or daughter comes to campus, they will have an academic advisor assigned to them. It's a faculty member in their program, and they'll be able to confirm who their advisor is on their SIS. You're probably noticing a theme here. There's a lot of information on the student information system. Many advisors will reach out to their students prior to the start of school, if not prior, in their early, early weeks of the first semester so that they can start to make connections with their, their students. Our academic schools also do new student orientations, so that's after school starts, it's in the first couple of weeks, and that's yet another way that, outside of classes, that we can bring students and faculty together to help them make connections with their academic advisor, so we're trying to make sure there are lots of different ways for students to connect with the resources that they need.

Carolyn: Do you have an academic probation should students' grades fall, and if so, what is that process? We do, we have several benchmarks that we're asking students to achieve. If a new student earns under a 1.0 in their first semester, there is a one-semester suspension for grades at that low level. Otherwise, we are looking for students to achieve at least a 2.0, if they don't earn that grade point, then they are placed on academic probation, but that does not prohibit them from returning. We identify our students who are on academic probation, and we have several outreach programs to try to connect with those students and provide assistance to get them off of academic probation. If a student earns any three semesters on academic probation, then they face a suspension. But that can be three semesters in a row, or it can be three semesters over their time here. I've mentioned suspension twice. We do not terminate students immediately for these grades, whether it's under a 1.0 in your first semester or a prolonged time on academic probation. Our goal is to have students maybe step out and get focused on what they need to do to come back, and then we have a process through which they appeal to come back and we then provide them with some assistance on their way back in the door again to try and hopefully help them be a stronger student when they, when they return. So it's not meant to be a punitive process at all, it's meant to be a developmental one, and we've had a lot of great success with that process. We also have these benchmarks set based on many years of data, figuring out who our students are, when they really are in academic trouble, and most importantly what we can do to help them. Did you find another one on here? Let's see.

Brenda: You know, I saw one about campus safety.

Carolyn: There was one, do you want to talk about that? Just, what, what is campus safety like?

Brenda: Yeah, so, we do, there is Penn College police, and so there's police that are monitoring, driving around all the time. And so I don't think, from a parent's perspective, I was ever nervous about my daughter or my son on campus at all, and I know that my daughter had some late-night classes, and she would be walking all over campus and she never felt nervous about it at all. Things seem to be well lit, so I don't think there was ever a problem. Off campus, my daughter actually moved off campus after her first year, and the campus police patrol, I believe it's 500 yards around campus, and so, you know, it wasn't odd to see the campus police driving around the neighborhood of where the off campus students are living. So it's pretty safe. If you have real concerns, though, you can call the campus police, because they're there to really help you, you know, and understand the neighborhoods and can talk to you more specific about safety, for sure.

Carolyn: We take safety concerns from students and their parents very seriously, and we try to be proactive in addressing those concerns by making information available, by talking about safety at many of the standard programs that we have, certainly at Connections, we do a session on that. We have an alert system that we encourage all students to sign up for upon entering. It's a, we collect cell phones, faculty and staff enter their cell phone numbers too, and then we are kept up to date on everything from what's happening on campus if there is an emergency and we need to be alerted about, to if there is a snow closure or delay because of inclement weather. Which we had snow again today. Not enough to cause any kind of delays, but it is March and we are ready for spring, so we're hoping that soon goes away.

Carolyn: Let's see, when do we find out how our student did in placement testing? Shortly after you take the placement test, it takes several days for the placement test to be evaluated. Some of it's automatic, but there are some parts of it that we have actual humans reading tests and assigning test scores. Placement test results are posted to the SIS. They don't always mean a lot to students, because without any context for how to interpret them, so we invite all students, upon completion of a placement test, to come back for an advising session. And it's in that advising session that we'll pull up your placement test scores for you individually, and you will sit with someone, usually a faculty member, who will talk to you about what your placement test results are, and what that means for your first semester scheduling. So we try to make that process be as helpful as possible to get you ready to start that first semester. And

Carolyn: I also saw a question earlier about what, what do we cover in the parent session while students are taking their test? We do have a session for parents to sit through, and during that we talk about the placement tests and possible outcomes of those. We share information about the rest of the enrollment process, about getting ready, some of what we're covering tonight, getting ready for the first day of class, and there is a pretty significant financial aid component to that, so it's a good summary of all things that you need to know to get you ready for the semester.

Brenda: Yeah, they're really important sessions, and they're really informative, and it helps, as a parent, it just really puts your mind at ease to have the information given to you in a step by step process. I can tell you from the, even the point of my son and daughter filling out their admission application, everything is sent to you. You really don't have a lot to question, because they're giving you the information either via email, or you're getting information in the mail, and everything is really laid out for you. And when you attend the placement testing meetings for parents, you get more information. When you come back and you attend the advising sessions and they're going through, step by step, those grades and the next steps, it's all really helpful, and it just puts your mind at ease a little bit more after each session you attend.

Carolyn: And, you know, we do sometimes hear from parents, this is a lot of times to come back to campus, or which programs do I really have to attend? We understand that, as they're going through, as you're going through the process. We often hear from parents after they've completed the process that now I get it and I'm really glad that I went to those sessions. Connections is a two-day program, and we hear from parents in the evaluation every summer, and it's pretty consistent, it's not just from one parent, it's from a lot, they're from a number of parents, that this was a lot of information but it was really helpful. So, you know, we try to pay attention to what works and doesn't work, and what do parents need, and maybe where did we not need to repeat ourselves so many times, to make it a process that works for you and makes this a good one for your students. We're always looking for feedback about that, so let us, let us know.

Carolyn: Here's a question about do you have specific programs for international students? We have a coordinator of international programs, and her name is Shannon, and she does a great job of connecting with international students to help them through their transition to college, their orientation once they get on campus, because we know that you can't pack up your car and just bring everything here like those who live here in the US. And so she helps students get settled, and then beyond that, she does provide some individual counseling, if you will, and advising to international students. But we also have international student groups, we have events around international students that all students, faculty, and staff are invited to, so we really try and engage our international students so that you're having a good experience, but that all students then are benefiting from having a really culturally diverse student body and making it the, the best for everyone.

Carolyn: Do students have to stay on campus? Do you want to talk about that one, Brenda?

Brenda:  No, they don't have to stay on campus. They can choose to live off campus. There is an off campus landlord list of approved landlords, and it's really helpful, and you can call those landlords and go look at spaces and look at the apartments. Don't, don't sign anything over the phone. Make sure that you're going and you're looking at the space before you sign any type of lease, but absolutely, they can live off campus. My daughter enjoyed living off campus, so.

Carolyn: They're, they're not required to. And we have a, a staff member who provides resources for students who are looking to live off campus, that keeps that information up to date about the housing list that Brenda referred to, works with some peer community educators, those are current students who will then provide some support and programming to off campus students. Kind of parallel to the resident assistant position that we have for on campus students. And then this office also serves as a place where students can go to if they are having issues with a landlord or in an off campus apartment, so we don't want to just leave those students out there without any support, but we can help with those resources as well.

Carolyn: Do students have a faculty advisor? We, we did talk about that a little bit. They absolutely will get an advisor that'll be assigned to them on day one. That advisor will stay with them all through their time here, through graduation. Sometimes students change advisors. One, if they change academic programs, they'll change advisors, because your advisor always comes from your academic program, but sometimes we find that students connect with one faculty more than another in their academic program, and so they may choose to change, request a change just because it's a more meaningful relationship, so not that there's anything wrong with the advisor that they have but that there's someone that they connect with even more. So students can request to change advisors if they need to.

Carolyn: Can students request who they room with on campus? When you're filling out your on campus housing application, there's a place where you can enter that, and then if there's a match, residence life will do their best to try and get those students together.

Carolyn: Let's see, what else? Do you recommend that parents stay all weekend in October?

Brenda: Sure. I mean, if you sign up for a lot of the activities, absolutely, stay for the whole weekend. There's, there is a lot to do every day, and there's a couple of soccer games usually that are going on, and just a lot of events. So there's stuff all weekend, so absolutely. Plan to stay all weekend.

Carolyn: Here's a question about open house, coming up on the 24th. Can we set our son up with housing or any other servicing that we may need? Our open house is a one-day program, so you would come in on Saturday morning and be here for as long as you would like throughout the day. It's nine to three. And then you can participate to the extent that you want in the programs that we have and then are able to head, head home, so. Oh, are you asking about a housing contract? Sorry, I think I misinterpreted your question. If you are here that day and would like to sign up for a housing contract, absolutely. It can be done here on campus, and we have on open house, we have offices open to talk to you about any service or program that you are going to interact with when you come in the fall. Faculty are here in full force, labs are open, our academic support office is open if you want to learn about tutoring, mentoring, or other, other programs and services we have through our, the workshops that they do, but through our academic success center. Financial aid is open, the placement testing area is open, our veterans' and military resource center is open, admissions is open, dining units are open, the library, student activities, athletics is represented in full force, so anything that you still have questions about, if you're coming to campus that day, it's a Saturday, but we are all here and ready and waiting to help you. Let's see, what else?

Carolyn: There's a couple questions about what weekend in October we were referring to, that's the parent and family weekend. That website is up and running, so you can, you can go ahead and check that out and start to get information about that weekend. We have a couple questions about, if you joined us late, or you have friends who want to see this that haven't signed in, whether or not you can watch later. Do you want to talk about that, Brenda?

Brenda: Yeah, so it'll be on Facebook. It'll stay there so people can go ahead and look and certainly listen to it, and then there will also be a link that people can access next week that people can go in and see the answers to all the questions as well.

Carolyn: And let us know what you think of this. Has it been helpful? Are there other topics you would like to hear about? As I mentioned in the beginning, if you missed this, this is our very first one, so we're both getting comfortable here on camera, and also with sort of interacting with this technology, which is a little new to us in this way. But we want to try and use it to reach out to parents like this. We know that having you come back to campus again isn't always possible, but we want to reach you where you are, so you'll have to let us know if this was helpful. Can I request a placement test online? Absolutely. There is a process for that. You can get onto the website, and the placement testing area of the website, and there are instructions for how to do that. Let's see. What am I missing here? Are there topics that you would like us to talk about? I think we've covered a lot of the big dates. Oh, there's a question, if we are taking placement tests online and we don't come for that presentation, is there another time that we can come back to campus to get that parent information that I mentioned? A lot of the information is parsed out on the website. You can spend some time reviewing it there. We do have information pulled in one place for parents on the website. It's not information that's necessarily unique to parents, but we try to pull in to one place links to all of the areas that you frequently have questions about, to try and make that more helpful to you. Connections is a great place, a great session to make sure you come to, if you haven't come to placement testing or advising. Even if you come to those two sessions, we still cover far more in the Connections two-day orientation program than is covered in those earlier sessions, but in the case you've missed coming back for one of those two, or not missed but didn't need to because you did online placement testing, I highly recommend joining your student for Connections. Parents can register to attend Connections. There is a nominal fee for parents, not for students. And you can even live on campus during that program if you would like to. It's one night, but it gives you a little flavor of what it's like to stay in the residence halls. I don't know. Did you stay in the--

Brenda:  I did not stay on campus, no.

Carolyn: Okay, all right.

Brenda: But no, Connections is, it is a great two-day session. I highly recommend it for the parents to join their students and come. You will attend sessions with your student, and some sessions you'll just be in a room with parents, and getting information specific for you. So it's a really good two days full of information.

Carolyn: All right. There are some specific areas that I see some of you are asking about. We're going make sure we get out to each of you to answer your question specifically. If anyone is feeling like, I need a lot of information, I've missed it, or I don't feel like I've gotten it, please let us know that and we will schedule someone to talk with you and make sure we address every concern that you have and can get you caught up to speed and ready to move from this point forward. We are starting to see some questions that we know have come up in other times, and so we'll keep posting answers even to things that we've already responded to, but we are super excited that you have joined us this evening and would like to thank all those of you who joined. If you have friends that have students coming to Penn College, and they haven't joined us this evening, please encourage them to watch it, and as I mentioned, if you have additional questions, let us know, if you have additional topics that you would like to hear about, let us know and we can look to do another one of these. But I think we, we've had a good time.

Brenda: Yeah, we have. I hope you got the information that you need. Thanks for joining us, and good luck, parents.

Carolyn: Yeah, absolutely. We will look forward to seeing you this summer, at Connections, and definitely at welcome weekend when you move in. Not when you move in, when you move your son or daughter in and get them started for what we hope will be a really great Penn College experience, so. We'll go ahead and say goodbye for tonight. Thanks again for joining us, and we'll be talking with you soon.

Brenda: Thanks, see you later.

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