Sometime or other, every college student is likely to have a personal emergency that could impact their attendance or performance in classes. Typical examples include:
- Death of a member of the family or close friend
- A health issue requiring hospitalization
- An injury restricting mobility or the ability to do academic work
Most universities have policies that support students through these tough times. Here’s what you should do when your student is confronted with an emergency:
- Have your student notify each of his/her teachers. Describe the emergency and ask for help. In most cases, your teachers will not count your student absent. They may be given extra time on assignments. Whether you can make up a scheduled test is more problematic. Some faculty are very strict about missing tests.
- Have your student notify his or her advisor or the campus student services office. In some cases, notes can be sent to teachers to let them know of the situation. While this may be redundant with step (1) above, such notice generally is more accepted than your student’s own notification.
- Have your student identify a classmate in each course to get notes and assignments from. While faculty will generally be sympathetic to an emergency, they expect the student to get caught up with his/her work.
- Have your student develop a specific plan to get caught up. Put the plan on paper and share it with your student’s teachers. This plan will help your student stay focused, but it will also make it more likely that their teachers will support them.
- If your student struggles with the emotional aftermath of the emergency, seek out help. Most campuses have grief counselors or others who can help them adjust.
The key to all of this is not to let one emergency lead to another: your student’s failure in college..