Top 5 Ways Families Can Help Students Prepare for Finals
Writing a great newsletter article for the Parent and Family Newsletter is a win-win situation. You can win by drawing greater attention to your programs, events, and the good work you are doing. Parent and Family Programs wins by gaining validity in the eyes of families and solidifying family support. Not to mention that it keeps families in the loop about IUPUI.
Be succinct and digestible
I am not overly concerned about word or character limit. You know what it is required to best convey your message and I want to respect that. I do request that you be succinct and digestible however. Short paragraphs with bold headers are easier for readers and it helps ensure that at least part of your message is retained. If you have important information such as dates, times, criteria, or links, include them at the top of the article where families will be more likely to read them.
Know your audience
This is a newsletter to families and its primary purpose is to inform families about IUPUI and to better equip them to support students. Keep this in mind when you are writing your article. For example, do not write “it is important to study for finals three weeks in advance” because your audience (families of students) are not taking finals. Instead write, “encourage your student to study for no less than three weeks before finals.” It is acceptable and encouraged to use families to convey your message to students, but please do so thoughtfully and with intention.
Parent and Family Programs represents the partnership between the institution and a family in transforming a student’s life. We are experts on IUPUI and families are experts on students. Educate families about IUPUI and they will educate their student. Avoid acronyms and other insider terminology and don’t assume families have knowledge about the institution. Be developmental in your writing and help families understand the college experience. Sometimes the simple statements have the most impact on a family’s understanding of the college experience for their student.
Check your grammar
Here are a few grammatical points that can ensure a unified appearance across the various forms of communication used by Parent and Family Programs. The purpose of these rules is to create a sense that these newsletters are individually sent to each family while being professional and considerate of the uniqueness of each individual.
- Avoid using ‘his or her’ or ‘they/their’ (unless appropriate) – I want to be respectful of all gender identities so avoid gender binary language such as ‘his’ and ‘her.’ Using gender neutral language such as ‘they/their’ can feel impersonal. Use ‘your student’ and ‘you’ instead because it reads more like an intimate letter than a billboard sign.
- Suffix Terminology – Using ‘-nd’ and ‘-rd’ at the end of dates can add to the busyness of an article and feel overly formal. Also, using a ‘pm’ and ‘am’ format takes up less room.
Send 3-5 pictures
Send at least three to five pictures and choose what best represents your message. Also keep in mind who you are choosing (or NOT choosing) to represent you and IUPUI and the imagery you are crafting for families. Many families will only come to campus three or four times so images featuring your office or many individuals can be beneficial in creating a larger picture of IUPUI. For other families who live in the area and have known IUPUI for years, images that show the vibrancy of campus can be helpful in displaying who IUPUI is now.
Overall, your message is important and by properly conveying that message to families, you are ensuring that students will also learn. Students cite families as the number one support system through the college experience and we as a university can use that to our and our student’s advantage.