Field of Science

Prospective students visit campus

This is the season when lots of prospective students vivist campus hoping to impress and be impressive. A few end up in my office, so here's a couple of tidbits of advice to the parents of would-be students. 1.When a member of the faculty asks your offspring a question, let them answer. Anyone would feel quite sorry for this one young lady. Certainly she was shy, and while her Father seemed nice enough, he never let her answer. The message was clear; he'd be an OK student, but not so certain about her, although certainly she would do better out from under his thumb. Altering the situation without being rude is difficult. In this case, while looking directly at the student and asking a question about her career interests, when the Father started to answer, a forefinger was held up to suggest his silence while waiting for the answer from the questionee. Ah, she could speak and fairly well. Both parents and students need to avoid doing this to each other. 2. It's great to have career goals, but when they are totally unrealistic, out-landish, and virtually impossible, there isn't much advice that can be given especially when you reject every similar opition. Great, go for it, reality bites, but eventually you'll figure this out. Probably too early to burst their balloon. 3. Dress nicely. That's a really nice tatoo placed high upon your thigh. How do you get that cock's comb of purple spiky hair to stand up like that? Is there a cocktail party scheduled for later where you sequined little dress would look great? Do you need a belt to help hold those pants up so they cover your little diamond printed boxer shorts? None of this indicates how you may do academically, but it does cause one to worry about your judgement. 4. Listen politely and thoughtfully to advice. Well, you see it's impossible to be a biology major and graduate in less than seven years if you won't take a chemistry course and a biology course in the same semester. Oh, it's you won't take any 2 science courses in the same semester. Well, your undergraduate experience will probably be looked back upon one of the most enjoyable decades of your life. And you want to go to medical school? Certainly. 5. Pay attention. After seeking me out, it's a real bad idea to fiddle with your phoney thing as if talking to me were the last thing on Earth you wanted to do. 6. Which majors lead to jobs paying the most money? Well, you could major in physics and engineering. What, oh, no math or science. OK then, well, philosophy and social work are sure bets. 7. What has made your students successful? Huh, a good question? This may sound a bit weird, but the single skill that has led to more opportunities for my students than any other is knowing how to identify plants. How do you get good at that? Practice, lots of practice. Parent: Can I come and learn that?

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