Taking a Break
If your child leaves college for a semester or two because of poor grades, try the following tips to get her back on academic track when she returns:
-- Debrief without shame and blame "Have someone who is objective debrief the situation," advises ADHD coach Jodi Sleeper-Triplett. It could be a psychologist, clergy member, or a trusted family friend who can review what the student did—and did not do—in college. Be sure the person talks with your student about forms of support she will need when she returns. "It's important that the student be encouraged to figure out what worked well at school and what didn't—and to get through this often-painful process without harsh judgment."
-- Stay active Students should spend their time away from college working at a job, traveling, or engaging in self-study, suggests Carl Thum of Dartmouth's Academic Skills Center. "Have them do something productive—not just play video games," he says. "Ninety percent of the time, students are more focused after a year of doing something meaningful." The benefit of staying active is that the student can regain the self-confidence she lost.
-- Seek more support Experts advise students to return to campus with a proactive approach to getting help. "In almost every case, students who had to leave college for some time didn't take advantage of support while they were there," Thum says. "When they get back, they need to talk with their professors and deans, and find out about—and learn to use—supports at college."