Fall semester is well underway. This issue of Northern Parent News is designed to guide you, as ONU parents, through relevant topics that promote awareness and facilitate student success as the school year progresses.
Keeping students safe
In our contemporary world of taking precautions, ONU's Justin Courtney, director of residence life and Polar Careers, offers timely advice to parents who can help to influence their students toward safety and security:
Living in a positive, caring and safe community is all about teamwork. As a campus community member, your student is responsible not only for his/her own safety but also for doing their best to contribute to the safety of those around them. Because they can often tune out anything you have to say regarding their safety, here is a different twist - "Safety Don'ts." You can offer these pointers to help keep your student and their friends even safer:
Don't act like it's all about you.
Don't prop open outside doors - you never know who might get in.
Don't tamper with fire equipment - you'll want it ready to go in an emergency!
Don't disregard your gut instincts - if something feels "off," it could be a sign to take action.
Don't just "get to know" fellow community members by following them on Facebook or Twitter - do face-to-face, too!
Don't be alone with people you do not know well or where the comfort level is not strong.
Don't slam doors.
Don't vandalize others' property.
Don't let your choices about alcohol and other drug abuses negatively impact others around you or impair your judgment.
Don't let things like burned out lights, broken glass, water leaks and more go undetected - report them right away!
As a parent, have you wondered where your student could go for help or just a caring chat? Dr. Michael Schaffer, director of ONU's Counseling Center, wants you to be aware of their services:
Sending your student to our University has been an exciting milestone in your life as a parent. The years of attending school programs and supporting their academic efforts have finally paid off. With all that you, as a parent, have invested to this point, it is understandable that you may experience a little apprehension as you dropped your student off and watched the campus slowly disappear in your rearview mirror. Who is going to be there to remind them to get enough sleep, not to procrastinate and to do their own laundry? Not surprisingly, most students also commonly experience anxiety as they, too, begin this new phase of life. Challenges arise as they face living on their own and engaging with others. They enter an environment where no one is aware of their many high school accomplishments and where the favorite high school teachers are replaced with new University professors and different expectations.
While most students successfully make this transition to college life, some may need some extra help and attention. The Counseling Center at Ohio Northern is an important resource for students who are struggling with their adjustments to a new college life. Homesickness, anxiety and the stress of managing competing demands are just a few of the problematic areas for which students seek assistance. Our center is staffed with licensed mental health professionals with decades of treatment experience. Services are provided at no charge, and appointments are available at the convenience of your student. In addition to providing individual counseling, our staff also is available for consultation when faculty (or a loving parent) has concerns about a particular student.
Please encourage your student to take advantage of this important campus service if needed. You can find out more by visiting our website or by phone at 419-772-2190.
Parents, ever wonder if your student is getting their point across? In as little as 30 minutes, ONU students can improve their written work and presentations. That's all it takes to review a two- to three-page paper or a short speech at ONU's Communication Skills Center (CSC).
According Melanie Caw Woods, CSC director, this is a great way to improve these important skills. Some students are required to visit the CSC by their professors. However, many others might not be aware that there are students working at all levels, and in all courses, that can benefit from this service. In a 2013 survey, 98 percent of the respondents said they were helped by their appointment to the center.
The CSC gives students feedback on writing and presentations, allowing them to complete assignments with a better understanding of how the reader or audience will respond to their work. Professional assistants staff the center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. During selected evening hours, student tutors help students who are taking specific introductory courses, such as Writing Seminar and Public Speaking. Writing sessions include reading the draft aloud and discussing ways to improve issues such as organization, clarity, grammar and formatting. Public speaking assignments can be reviewed in two sessions: one covers written presentations and another video records the speech. Assistants make suggestions; they do not grade or lecture the students. Their focus is to teach students methods for reviewing their own work.
To schedule an appointment, students can call 419-772-2186 or stop by the office on the second floor of Heterick Library.
Polar Parent Pride ONU parents are proud to share the positive experiences of their students:
"My son, Lucas, has attended ONU for two years and is into his third. I know he did choose wisely when he picked this small school I had not heard of! He has a terrific advisor and gets plenty of personalized attention. This has helped him as he ensures his major/minor elements are in place to graduate on time. I appreciate all of the assistance that is available from financial aid, residence life and all else in general at ONU. I have no doubt that Lucas will graduate from ONU and be ready to face the real world confidently and successfully.
I am also pleased that my daughter, Anna, is attending ONU this fall as a freshman. I know this is the right school for her as well. She will be comfortable but also challenged at Northern. I am happy to be a Polar Parent for four more years!
Deborah Campbell is from Hilliard, Ohio, and is a new member of the ONU Parent Advisory Council
"My son, Joshua Simon, has entered his senior year in the Dicke College of Business Administration (marketing/entrepreneurship) this fall as an official business owner. He has been gifted a franchise for Sonara Home Healthcare Caregivers for Scottsdale, Ariz., by the sole owner after his successful summer internship. He will work as he can from Ohio as he finishes his last year and then will hit the ground running when he returns home to Arizona after graduation in May 2014. Josh searched for a university where he could flourish and develop his talents and potential in sales, marketing and entrepreneurships. He also wanted to be a part of a challenging and successful football program.
During his time at ONU these past few years, he has been a contributor to the business college, competing and placing in several Polar Bear Exchange competitions. He has been an officer and active in his fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, and he has been a starting defensive end for the football team.
Going so far away from home has been challenging for Josh and our family, as we have not been able to share in his experiences in college. However, it has been worth it. To his family, the young man he has become and is continuing to become from his guidance and experiences at ONU has been worth every lonely day. We look forward to his continued success at ONU. The day when he can bring his degree and outlook for the future in his new business home will be one filled with Polar Bear Pride. His compass was fixed on his personal "True North" at ONU. Thank you ONU for living up to your promises and reputation.
Dr. Linda Simon is Polar Proud and hails from Scottsdale, Ariz.
ONU parents, show your student pride and write a testimony! Please send it to Karen Condeni, email@example.com
Experience new cultures ... and a career
Dr. Brian Keas, assistant vice president for academic affairs, has worked with ONU students who seek the extra dimension of a student-abroad experience. He enthusiastically shares the enrichment experience of a recent ONU student success story:
The benefits of studying abroad as part of a college education are often associated with increasing cultural understanding, improving fluency in a foreign language, taking major courses in a more exotic location or learning independence as a global traveler away from the U.S. for the first time. However, for some students, a study-abroad experience opens up an entirely new career path.
Nicholas Jantzen, a senior Spanish and international business & economics major, studied in Chile during summer 2012. During the next school year, he worked in the Study Abroad Office as a study-abroad student ambassador, helping students find a study-abroad experience of their own. His passion for international education led to an internship where he explored the career possibilities gained from study abroad. Here is the story of Nicholas and a perspective you, as parents, may consider as you weigh this experience for your own student:
I studied abroad with the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC, one of ONU's study-abroad partners) in summer 2012. My study-abroad experience was life-changing and career-altering. I departed for Santiago, Chile, as a simple student of Ohio Northern and returned a more complete citizen of the world with a heart and mind filled with possibilities. I made more memories and friends in a summer than I could have anticipated. I took a vacation to Easter Island, went sand-boarding on the dunes of the driest desert in the world, and found a home with a loving host family.
Melanie Weaver, ONU's director of financial aid, relates the changes with federal loans and news parents should understand:
Federal Loan News
Student and parent borrowers of federal direct loans will want to take note of the recent changes to federal loan interest rates. In early August, President Obama signed a measure that reduced direct loan interest rates for the 2013-14 academic year. Undergraduate subsidized and unsubsidized loans (also known as Stafford loans) will have an interest rate of 3.86 percent. Also, Parent PLUS loans will now have an interest rate of 6.41 percent in 2013-14 versus the 7.9 percent from previous years. For graduate students, unsubsidized loans will be at 5.41 percent (down from 6.8 percent), and Graduate PLUS loans will have an interest rate of 6.41 percent, like that of the parent loans. These interest rates apply to loans borrowed in 2013-14 only. All previously borrowed loans will stay at their current interest rates.
The financial aid office is always available and willing to talk through any student loan questions that families might have. We can help students understand loan options that exist, provide summaries for students on their current loan obligations or help students plan for payments after graduation. Our office can be reached by phone at 419-772-2272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask a question or set up an appointment with a counselor.
Parents Advisory Council
The Fall Semester meeting of the ONU Parent Advisory Council brought 15 members to campus on Sept. 28. The parent volunteers heard from several ONU staff members including President Dan DiBiasio, Chris Burns DiBiasio, Larry Lesick, Adriane Thompson Bradshaw, Justin Courtney and Karen Condeni. Discussion and reviews of important University plans and progress made for an engaging event. The ONU Parent Council provides feedback, suggestions and ideas representing the larger audience of ONU parents. Get involved.
Join Klondike and other Polar Bears for ONU's Homecoming, Oct. 18-20
Along with efforts to increase positive communication University- and community-wide, we are trying to increase positive communication with prospective and admitted students and their families. This past spring, for the first time, we reached out to parents of current ONU students and asked them to write postcards to parents and families of admitted prospective students - and hopefully future Polar Bears! It is our hope to make them feel like one of the family.
If you would be willing to help us take on this wonderful endeavor and volunteer to write 10-20 postcards this coming spring, please contact Brenna Roy, admissions counselor, at email@example.com with your name, address, current student and the best way to contact you. We look forward to hearing from you.