This semester has been very busy, so I’m hoping to add more posts in early May. I did, however, want to take the time to give a brief update about the work I’m doing for this spring, 2011 term.
Colleges This Semester
I’m currently working with students at a number of colleges, and many of them are reporting both positive gains and a benefit from our work together. I’ve been able to effectively bridge the distance for most, and students have told their parents that it definitely helps. I also work with their parents as part of the process. I have more than one student at some of these colleges, and for this semester they include:
University of Maryland
University of Illinois
University of Connecticut
Carnegie-Mellon University (Pennsylvania)
Allegheny College (Pennsylvania)
Wittenberg College (Ohio)
Oakton Community College (Illinois)
Carlow University (Pennsylvania)
In addition to working with the parents of the students who are part of my in-college work, I consult with parents on their own to help them to address a variety of issues. These could be general issues for college planning, but most often I am contacted by parents who have a student with a disability who wants to attend college. I’m currently working with parents in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Washington D.C., Maryland, and Illinois.
Because I work with students who are actually at different colleges, I have an advantage in understanding what students should expect. I have a number of traditional college planning students, and I address career interests, majors, schools, and global-level trends that will affect their future. Also, the identification of skills that need improvement prior to college and disability factors that will affect their college choices have been part of this work. In more than once case I discovered key skills, such as taking lecture notes in class or writing skills that were not even close to college level. In other cases, I helped students with known disabilities decide on colleges and prepare documentation to get accommodations. Just because a student has an IEP or 504 plan does not mean they’ll get automatically accommodations in college, and there are other factors that should be considered for students with disabilities. For this spring term, I am working with students in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Michigan for college planning.
Who’s Writing Me At College Strategy Blog?
During this semester, I’ve heard from many parents, as well as some students themselves. It’s always a treat for me to hear from students directly, and some of them have shown a great deal of courage in deciding to ask for help. The majority of individuals contacting me have been parents. Some merely have a question, while others have a much more complex scenario that they want to discuss. In each case, I responded on the same day, even if it was from my Blackberry to say I’ll reply in more depth later. During this spring semester, I’ve heard from parents and students in New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Washington D.C., Maryland, Ohio, and Florida.
Also, I have heard from a few undergraduate and graduate students with regard to school projects or theses that they are working on. If you are working on a project for school that pertains to my work, I’d be pleased to answer any questions that I can.
Behind the scenes, there are some positive changes planned, as time permits. I give my focus to the quality of the work that I do with students and families first, and web updates second. Current plans include:
More Case Studies (aka “True Stories”)
I have about a number of case studies planned that will illustrate the factors I’ve found for both success and failure in college. I think it’s important understand both the actions students and families took that were effective, as well as the “lessons learned” when things didn’t go well.
I have a number of students who have expressed interest in writing for College Strategy Blog, and I’m planning an entire “student authors” category. The topics would range from essays and opinions, articles on specific issues, and more. Most important might be the students who want to tell their story of how they turned around their academic life. I think this would be very encouraging to other students. It’s difficult for them to find time to write during the busy semester, so hopefully this will begin in summer.
More Q&A Articles/Surveys
The process for the first two current Q&A articles went very well, and I have a few more planned. Of particular interest might be the ones from students and parents who really got to see how things can get better. Again, this is to encourage parents and students that their situation need not be hopeless. However, if the Q&A articles are completed by students or families that I’ve worked with, their identities will be confidential (unless they decide otherwise).
Blog & Website Upgrades
The old website and blog at studentstrategy101.com will remain up for the time being while I transition to collegestrategyblog.com more fully. I can’t help anyone if they can’t find me, so I’m doing this gradually to make sure search engines keep the articles listed.
I am hoping that you keep reading collegestrategyblog.com, and look forward to adding more posts in early summer.
Jeffrey Ludovici, M.A., is a national level Higher Education Consultant based in Pittsburgh, PA. He’s worked with students and parents across the U.S. about college issues since 2001, and is a member of CSRDE that focuses on best practices in helping students. He is also a member of NACADA, the national college advising association in the U.S. Please see the program page for services Jeff offers.