UWA Parent Programs serves parents of UWA Students by providing helpful information, timely communications, and be a parent liaison to help create the optimal student experience.
Not only is transitioning to college difficult for students but it is for the parents as well. You have a crucial role in your students college education. The Office of Student Support and Parent Programs will be a resource for a parent to help navigate the transition. Our goal is to provide the resources you need to support your student, and serve as a liaison between you and the university.
Orientation may seem like a student event, but it is equally important for the parent. At orientation we answer your questions and help ease you into sending your students into the next chapter of their life. Things are always changing, and knowing how to help your student is important.
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Our mantra is “Do something that matters.” But what matters to us is giving you resources and guidance that can help you help your student to live their best life while at UWA.
College is a new experience and a time of transition for freshmen. The first-year college student is ready to become more independent of their family. Family and guardians share the same hopes and goals for their children; they want them to be happy, successful and self-reliant. UWA recognizes family and guardians as vital partners in the college search process and as “family members” once a student is enrolled.
Here are a few guidelines that may be useful to you as your student transitions to UWA:
- The college selection process signifies a milestone in your child’s life; we suggest you play a great supporting role, not a leading role.
- Familiarize yourself with admission and financial aid requirements as well as academic majors offered at UWA.
- Avoid using “we” when referring to your student’s application and enrollment process.
- Encourage a minimum of one visit (to include you) to campus. Be sure to include any special requests you may have as part of the visit.
We also know that for many family and guardians, this might be the first time you’re sending a child off to college, so we offer the following tips to help make both your experience and your student’s the best it can be.
Try Not to Call Every Day
It’s only natural to want to reach out as much as possible. Now might be a good time to let your student know that you trust them; that you don’t need to check up on them as frequently as you did when they were at home. There’s no need to wait weeks between calls, but your student likely doesn’t want you calling them daily. Strike a balance with them.
Have a Discussion About Social Media
Social media can have a lasting effect on a person’s life. Much of what is posted on these platforms is forever archived and can follow the student throughout their life. Have a talk with your child so that they are aware of the potential long-term impacts of their words and actions on social media.
Help Them Take Greater Control of Their Daily Lives
Encourage your student to take over the daily tasks of their lives if they haven’t already. Every residence hall has a laundry room. Every student is expected to keep a tidy room and bathroom. Handling these tasks now is an important part of college and young adult life and can help develop long-lasting, positive habits.
A complete college experience means more than classes and homework. Taking part in extracurricular activities, enjoying recreation and joining clubs and organizations expands your student’s horizons and helps them socialize. Experience with extracurricular activities related to your student’s field of study is also valued by prospective employers.
Send Them Something
Given the amount of electronic communication we’re all barraged by, there is still something special about getting something in the mail. Send your student a short note letting them know how proud you are, a picture or even a care package with toiletries and supplies (money is always tight for students). Opening a letter or a package is sure to put a smile on their faces.
Have a Discussion About Drugs and Alcohol
Colleges are very strict about these two things. Suspension from the university occurs if there are a significant amount of drugs involved. Although we make this information widely known and talk it up constantly, many students violate these policies and are sent packing. We hate to do this and you hate for it to happen. Students simply need to honor our commitment to a drug- and alcohol-free environment and upholding state and federal laws. Learn more about our policies here.
Talk About Credit Cards and Finances Before School Begins
Many young people get their first credit cards and control their own finances for the first time as college students. Have a frank discussion about finances with your student. Will they have a credit card? Should a parent or guardian be a co-signer and get copies of the statements? Banks bombard college students with credit card offers. They start with low spending limits and introductory interest rates but raise them rapidly. As a result, students can get over their heads in debt and even ruin their credit ratings before they graduate. Help them make educated decisions on banking and credit cards.
Be Interested, Not Critical, About Course Selection
Colleges have course selection and degree requirements that need to be addressed during the student’s first year. Generally, academic advisors give advice on selecting these courses. While you may not always agree with your student’s choices, it might help to express interest in rather than show criticism of their choices. This can open the door to a broader discussion and help you both come to a better understanding around those choices and how they fit into your student’s overall education.
Director of Student Support Services & Parent Programs
(205) 652-3640 (call or text)