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Media Contacts

Michael Beam
Director of Summer Freshman Programs at Indiana University Bloomington

Carol Kennedy
Department of Kinesiology faculty member, Indiana University Bloomington

Jacqueline Blackwell
School of Education, IUPUI Professor

Carol-Anne Hossler
Clinical Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction and the director of the Transition to Teaching Program at the Indiana University School of Education

Back-to-School Tips

Editors: Indiana University faculty and staff offer insights that can help students, parents and teachers begin the new school year on the right foot. The last item on the page is an audio-streamed feature. Reporters may use it for quotes or you may refer readers to the feature at:

High school to college is a BIG transition. Getting out and meeting people will help you feel more at home in the college environment. Elective classes on martial arts, dancing or fitness can help balance mental work with some physical/social work. Those who don't feel a connection often have a more difficult time studying and being comfortable at college. Carol Kennedy, Indiana University Bloomington faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology, facilitates a course called Living Well. She has found through this course that students who get connected to the university and take advantage of all the lifestyle resources available to them make the transition to college more smoothly. College is a place to learn and grow intellectually, Kennedy says. "We must not forget that intellectual wellness is only one component of the wellness continuum. It's important to balance work and play, fun and activities that enhance healthy living." For more information on Living Well, offered in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, contact Kennedy at 812-855-6083.

Most college students arrive on campus expecting a challenging course load. What they find, however, is that the pace and freedom of campus life often can be more challenging than the academic rigor of their courses, said Mike Beam, director of Summer Freshman Programs at Indiana University Bloomington. The difference between the feedback provided in most college classrooms and the feedback received in high school often leaves students unsure of their grasp of the material until their first test or assignment. Successful students use study groups, office hours and discussion sessions in order to gauge their understanding of concepts and material. Also helpful are writing workshops -- such as IUB's Writing Tutorial Services (WTS: -- which allow students to discuss and develop writing assignments before turning in their final product. More college transition tips can be found at The Indiana Career and Postsecondary Advancement Center, To speak with Beam, contact him at 812-855-3839 or

Asking questions and introducing children to the school environment reduces anxiety in first-time kindergarteners, said IUPUI School of Education Professor Jacqueline Blackwell. "First-time students naturally wonder what will happen to them when they get to school, if they will have a friend and if the teacher will like them," said Blackwell, who also serves as president of the Association for Childhood Education International. "It's a good idea for parents to ask their children what they expect in kindergarten and what they would like to do. The answers can be eye-opening and should be shared with the teacher." Blackwell said children and their families should experience the beginning of school together, because many times it's the families who are feeling separation anxiety. "Many schools offer parents the opportunity to visit prior to the first day and to have an extended time to spend at the school or to say goodbye on the first day. If not, take time in the morning so the child doesn't feel rushed. The day should start on a calm note." Blackwell said it's also important to take time at the end of the day to discuss how the child's expectations matched with the reality of school. "But don't be disappointed if your child has nothing to say," she said. "Your child just needs to know you care and are available." Blackwell can be reached at 317-274-6830 or

Testing, as well as the usual nuts and bolts of the first weeks of school, makes it difficult for teachers to collaborate with other teachers and education professionals. According to Carol-Anne Hossler, clinical associate professor in the IUB School of Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the director of the Transition to Teaching program, those collegial, collaborative discussions are important as teachers prepare to lead their classrooms. "We talk about kids working together in cooperative learning groups and the importance of schools working with parents, business and community leaders, but teachers also appreciate working with colleagues," Hossler said. "School systems are challenged to find time for teachers to meet and discuss teaching, learning and professional practice, as well as issues related to school improvement." These conversations can be important to teachers' short-term and long-term planning, involving such matters as the academic and developmental needs of students assigned to their classrooms and new school initiatives. Hossler said teachers value these conversations, but quite often they are only likely to happen outside school time. "State-mandated mentoring programs are designed to support beginning teachers as they improve their practice, but generally, experienced teachers are not as often provided the time for important discussions about teaching and learning," she said. "It's important for school corporations to provide time for teachers to engage in these professional conversations at the beginning, as well as throughout the school year." For more information, contact Hossler at 812-856-8158 or

IU Home Pages Conversations Online: Oh, how the season races! High school commencement is becoming a sweet memory, summer new-student orientations have begun, and deciding what to take and what to leave at home is becoming a very real consideration for members of the Class of 2008. Okay, you know you can't bring the hot tub to your dorm room and the pet ferret is unwelcome in most all lecture halls you're likely to encounter. But what about the more pithy considerations related to the college transition: managing money, stress and academic responsibilities, to name a few. Listen to two seperate conversations -- one for parents, one for incoming students -- with three IU staff members who make their livings promoting student success. They are: Jeanne Jacobs, an academic adviser, University Division, IUB; Sara Ivey Lucas, residence manager, Division of Residential Programs and Services, IUB; and Kathryn Brown, Health Educator for Health and Wellness Education, IUB.

Making the transition to college:

Helpful hints for incoming freshmen (listen to the entire conversation or listen by topic)

  • Introduction of Jeanne Jacobs, academic adviser
  • College is different from high school
  • Importance of good grades
  • Choosing classes
  • Academics
  • Advice to freshmen
  • Challenge of college
  • Introduction of Sara Ivey Lucas, residential programs and services administrator
  • Helpful hints for living on campus
  • Getting acquainted
  • Encountering and handling stress
  • Personal safety concerns
  • Managing money
  • College is an opportunity
  • Introduction of Kathryn Brown, health educator
  • Health and wellness
  • Stress
  • Being safe
  • Alternative activities
  • Balancing everything

Advice for parents (listen to the entire conversation or listen by topic)

  • Opening by Dave Fleming
  • Introduction of Jeanne Jacobs, academic adviser
  • College will be different from high school
  • Choosing a major
  • Getting a job after college
  • Freshman year and the college experience
  • Challenge of academics
  • Introduction of Sara Ivey Lucas, residential programs and services administrator
  • First days on campus
  • Moving in
  • What to take to campus
  • Parents helping students
  • Student's connection to home and family
  • Staying on campus
  • Parents and the transition to college
  • Introduction of Kathryn Brown, health educator
  • Finding out about health and wellness services
  • Managing stress
  • Safety on campus
  • Activities on campus
  • Fraternities and sororities
  • Balancing everything
  • Parents talking to students about the college experience