I keep comments turned off because of a virus source called comment spam which can take down a website. But sometimes hearing what students or parents are saying can be encouraging to others. Names have been changed and some edits done for privacy or clarity. My comments are in blue.
“I stumbled upon your website and blog and viewing that as a Godsend. Our son has had a tough time at college and we are going to withdraw him so we can regroup and make a better strategy. Working with you to help may be a great gift at this time. Thank you in advance, ‘Maggie.’”
Jeff: Part of the reason that I write, in addition to working directly with students, is to let parents and students know that they shouldn’t give up hope. Reaching graduation is often more of a journey that some families have to take, but I’ve seen students reach the finish line.
“Hello Jeff, I am college student that failed out of California State University, Fullerton. I am trying to find a way to go back to school, at my university and am having a hard time doing that. I want my bachelors degree more than anything for myself, to have kids in the future and tell them the value and importance of an education, and say that I have a BS or BA. I currently have a relatively stable job without my degree, maybe showing I can succeed without my degree but I want to go back and finish. ‘Max G.’”
Jeff: Max’s has clearly recognized why a college degree is important at many levels, which I was glad to see. A college education is correlated with not only greater lifetime earnings, but benefits for the social and personal aspects of one’s life. It’s even linked with having a greater overall health status across one’s lifetime. No one ever regrets finishing college, and I was happy to hear that Max wanted to resume his studies. Some of the guides I’ve written are the same information I share with my clients regarding heading back to school, dealing with bad grades, and otherwise being successful there.
“Hi Jeff, I came across your page after years of frustration regarding our daughter and her current situation…prior to reading your page, I was from the school of thought that if one fails out of school, they mustn’t want it bad enough and we should (as the parents) have it be a teachable moment and life lesson for them. Could we arrange for you to consult with us about our daughter? I don’t know your schedule and availability, but we’d be happy to meet when it’s convenient. ‘Jill S.”
Jeff: College success is a multi-factorial process, it’s not something that parents can just “cause” in a student. Earning good grades and being successful in a higher education program isn’t a parenting issue per se, although parents certainly play a large role. The right skills, choosing the right college where they can excel, the right major, needed supports, and many other factors play in to whether a student will be successful or not.
“Hi Jeff, our daughter, ‘Emily,’ is in her junior year of college. Her performance in high school was outstanding. However, she has struggled through college since the beginning. We have tried to address the causes in various ways over the years, (counseling, medication, professional academic coaching, leave of absence, attending local college for a semester), but she continues to struggle. The whole experience has resulted in her having very low self-esteem, a lack of confidence, and constant negative self-talk which have all led to depression and anxiety. She has no motivation, procrastinates, avoids seeking help, skips classes because she oversleeps or is afraid because she didn’t complete the assignment. I haven’t seen her be happy for the last 3 years, with the exception of her camp counselor at a residential summer camp for kids with learning disabilities last year. She absolutely thrived in that environment with the responsibilities, demands, and expectations of the job were high. It’s just heartbreaking to see her go back to her sad, depressed cycle during her fall semester at college. I just want her to thrive, like I know she can. I don’t know how much more of the stress she can take. She cannot continue holding onto the ledge with white knuckles for the next year and a half. I hope you can help. ‘Tammy D.’”
Jeff: Complex situations fit my background very well, and they are more surprising than you might think. About 60% of the students I’ve worked with have some form of disability or medical condition they’re struggling with: Anxiety, depression, attentional issues, cognitive processing deficits, and more. But the reality is that I’ve seen them succeed and reach graduation. There is typically no single causative factor that leads to doing poorly in college, it’s usually multiple factors at play that were not adequately addressed, if at all. I spoke with Tammy, and her daughter was a good fit for my program.
“Hello Mr. Ludovici, This is ‘Elana R.,’ I am one student in the public system of United States specifically new York. I want to say thank you for the time that you take writing so good information for the students. I am in a big problem now after I read the article about re-applying as a freshman, because you opened my eyes and now I don’t know what to do. What do you recommend? Thank you so much in advance!”
Jeff: I’m always happy to hear from students, and even happier to hear that the time I’ve put in to creating articles and guides to help them has been beneficial. The issue of re-applying as a freshman can get complicated, especially because colleges usually make such a clear demarcation of applicant types. In general, a student simply can’t apply as a freshman if they’ve any type of educational program after high school. This includes four-year colleges, but also community colleges, career schools, or other programs that are considered part of the post-secondary education system. A college will want to know about these when they apply, largely to see how the student performed in the classes. Grades count for admission decisions, so a student can’t simply conceal that they’ve attended elsewhere, or they risk expulsion if found out. As one Director I spoke with succinctly put it, “there are no do-overs” in college. There are better ways to deal with bad grades rather than hide them.
“Hi! I have read a few articles in your blog and our family is in the same boat as many of the others who have contacted you. Our son just finished his freshman year at SUNY ESF in Syracuse, NY. He is struggling academically and will be on academic probation. His GPA is below 2.0. We cannot put into words how sad, demoralized and stunned we are. We are trying to address this dark hole that he has dug himself and are at a loss as to how to proceed. We need help in how to proceed, how to get him the help he needs and to decide if he should take some time off to reset. He is a “good” kid and as far as we can tell is not partying, abusing substances, or anything like that. This has been an emotional time for all of us and I think we need some direction as to how to intervene to get him on track. Reading your articles is a bit scary but also makes us a bit hopeful that we can turn things around for him. Thank you in advance for your time. ‘Regina B.’”
Jeff: Not being successful in college is hard for families in many ways. It affects the student’s self-esteem and confidence, plus creates a GPA that can be very hard to overcome. But parents also feel the weight of a student’s lack of success at different levels, not just financially for lost tuition dollars that resulted in few or no credits. Parents often tell me that they can feel hopeless and lost when trying to find a path forward, this is because getting a student back on track can include multiple issues that must be addressed. It’s usually not as simple as find a tutor, very often there can be hidden issues or prior bad decisions that need to be re-evaluated.
“Hi Jeff, your articles were helpful, they gave me some hope. My freshman daughter just got most of her final grades from University of Delaware and she did terrible. She even failed a class so far. We live in NY so I’m paying expensive out-of-state fees. I’m at a loss. I’m overwhelmed and disheartened. I don’t know what to do. ‘M.G.’”
Jeff: College, and anything related to it, is expensive. Tuition, the outrageous cost of books, pricey college town leases, and the many other costs associated for college all add up to making it almost a one-try affair for most families. But as M.G. said, there is hope, I’ve personally seen students turn around and graduate, and it was my privilege to see them make strides as we worked together.