Freshmen: over half are unsatisfactory

Peijia Zhang, Co-Features Editor

More than half of the freshmen have received yellow or orange warning cards for one or more unsatisfactory mid-term grades this year, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Newman said.

“That’s typical (of the number compared to previous freshmen classes).”

Newman said, among the 440 freshmen who received one or more unsatisfactory grades, 137 students received three or more unsatisfactory grades and 303 students received one or two unsatisfactory grades.

This freshman class has about 700 students, he said.

Newman said he introduced the warning cards this year because he found some students ignored warning emails he sent to them about their unsatisfactory grades in previous years.

Students who received the cards were advised check their midterm grades in Pitt Portal of their My Pitt account, see an email sent by Academic Success Center staff and see instructors immediately for classes with an unsatisfactory grade.

The only difference between a yellow warning card and an orange one, Newman said, is that an orange card suggests students call him and set up a meeting.

Students who received an orange card had unsatisfactory grades in three or more classes. Newman said he tries to talk to each of the 137 students.

He said he talked to 10 students one day and talked to 20 another day. Registrar Office staff sometimes helps him with speaking with these students.

On the back of a warning card, there are 13 referrals listed with their email addresses and office number. The referrals include Health and Counseling Services, the Academic Success Center and Disability Services.

“I firmly believe in making contact with students and listening to students,” Newman said.

Sophomore Chris Pollick, a mathematics major, said the difficulty for him during his freshman year was transitioning from high school to college.

“The classes in college were much more difficult.”

Pollick said while he did not need to study much in high school to get good grades, it took him much time outside classes in college to keep up with school.

He also mentioned being away from family, friends and his Pittsburgh home, which is 60 miles away, also made it more difficult for him to adjust to campus life.

There are few activities at Pitt-Johnstown in winter, compared with how many there are in spring and fall, mostly due to the heavy snow, Pollick said.

“It’s a voided place (in winter).”

Junior Kandace Long, an accounting major, said she adjusted to the campus well since she was from nearby Ebensburg.

Freshman Wang Yisong, a mechanical engineering student, said food provided on campus is not good, so she goes out for meals whenever she can.

She said her communications with professors had been mostly good, and she thought the school was good academic-wise.

Newman said although students differ in their academic abilities, they should strive for the best for themselves.

“If it’s an A-, and you want an A, go talk to your instructor.”

“I want all students to be this way and really strive for their highest achievements.”