Friday, September 10, 2010

Calendars, MetroCards, and Books.

We are now in our third week of the semester. The halls are crowded, the elevators are full and students are getting comfortable in their new classes. To help your student, please make sure that you have looked at the academic calendar, which you can access from the Parents Page. Busy students don't always see the many signs on the College walls with messages like "No classes Thursday or Friday, September 9-10." Some take long subway rides to find out they could have slept an hour longer.

Notice also on the calendar that there are "Makeup Days." For example, on Tuesday, September 14, classes follow a Friday schedule. So, if the student has no Friday classes, then they do not have classes on September 14. Or the reverse - the student who has no Tuesday classes has to be at school on Tuesday, September 14, to attend their Friday classes. Huh? The reason is simple. Every college credit represents a mimimum of fifteen 50-minute "hours" of instruction. So, the semester has to have 15 Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, etc. Makeup Days give us that balance, making up for days of instruction lost because of holidays.

Books? MetroCards?  The Transit Authority supplies MetroCards to students in the K-12 world who live outside of walking distance, because the state is legally obliged to provide transportation to those students. Sadly, that obligation does not extend to college students. We wish it did.

Similarly, college students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks. Textbooks are terribly expensive, and the prices rise every year. Follett, the company that operates the bookstore at the College, tries to hold down the cost, but the prices charged by publishers have risen every year. For the first time this year, Follett has made it possible for students to rent many textbooks (not all, though). Also, the Follett website allows you to link to other vendors to see if books can be purchased less expensively online.

All that said, it is essential that students purchase their textbooks at the start of the semester. Financial aid can sometimes provide vouchers for students to use for books. But the New York State TAP revisions have made these vouchers available to fewer students than before. Please do everything you can to help your student purchase books at the start of the semester. We know what a burden this is in a difficult economy. But, we know you share our strong desire to see your student get as solid a start as possible.

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