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Parents: Ten Things You Should Know About Your Student At School

  1. This is a huge adjustment for them, one of the biggest in their lives. It would be hard to conceive another time when they will be exposed to new food, the stress of balancing up to five classes, making new friends and social connections, sharing a bathroom with non-family members, learning to balance new found freedoms….
  2. They are going to miss home. They may or may not say it, but it will likely bother them if you move to another state or redesign their room into a media center. This is a transition period for them. Give them a semester to adjust before putting in the hot-tub, craft room or putting green.
  3. Mail is king. Every day, like so many lemmings moving towards the edge of a cliff, your son or daughter will likely make the trek to their mailbox looking for signs that the outside world hasn’t forgotten them. Rally the family members, make a phone call to Aunt Helen and Grandpa Joe…try to get something in the mail to them. Even a post-card will help stave off the disappointment that comes from looking into empty mailbox.          
  4. Remind them of home. Send them a photo of Rex or Kitty. Subscribe to the home-town paper and have it delivered up to school. Mail them some homemade goodies the second week of school when the initial excitement of being away at college starts to wane.
  5. Send Money. They have none. A five dollar bill in the mail means they can skip a meal on campus and get a sandwich in town. Having a little cash in the pocket makes them feel better.
  6. Don’t send too much money. Spread it out over the semester. You don’t want them paying for everyone’s pizza on their floor that first week of school because they have $500 in their debit account.  It’s not the best plan to give them total financial independence on top of everything else all at once. Mail money or gift cards in small amounts throughout the semester.
  7. Set up a weekly phone time where you will call to check in. Whether it is at 3pm on Sunday afternoon or 6pm on Tuesday night…pick a time that you can catch up with your student. Learn to text message to send regular messages of support and love.
  8. If you are worried, call someone at the school. There is a team of professional staff dedicated to making sure your student gets connected and is doing well at college. If you are worried, call to check in with your student.
  9. Co-curricular activities help students be successful at college. Whether it’s joining a varsity or club sports team, joining one of the many clubs offered on campus or connecting up with student government…students who do well at college are the ones who are connected to other social groups and organizations. Encourage your student to get involved.
  10. Trust your instincts. No one knows your son or daughter as well as you do. Follow your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. If you are worried you are calling too much…you probably are…dial it back to once or twice a week. Stay connected to them and talk to them about your concerns and the things they do that make you proud.

August Parent Tips

  • Encourage your student to participate in campus activities and to check the UMNewsNet and umcampuslife facebook page weekly for upcoming events. Becoming involved in organizations like SGA, CAB, Campus Ministries, or clubs is a great way to make new friends. (251.442.2563)
  • Reassure your student that the adjustments he or she is experiencing are common and expected for first-year students. If there are significant adjustment problems, encourage the student to talk to the Student Success Center’s Counselor. (251.442.2292)
  • Remind your student to check his or her UMobile email account regularly. This email account is considered the official form of university communication and may contain important information. (For more info, contact the Registrar’s Office (251.442.2536)
  • Establish a routine for phone calls; remember that email, regular letters, and care packages are important reminders to students that they have support in their new endeavors.
  • Important: If you wish to request information regarding your student’s records at any point in time, he or she must have submitted written permission to the Registrar’s Office. Now is a good time to discuss this with your student. Also, monitor the number of credit hours your student is taking to ensure completion of college in a timely manner. Remember, scholarships are based on a four-year plan.

September Parent Tips

  • Reassure your student that feeling overwhelmed is normal for new students learning to manage academic demands and new personal responsibilities.
  • Encourage your student to join study groups, make appointments at UMobile’s Learning Center for tutoring or for further help in Academic Success Coaching call the Student Success Center. (251.442.2292)
  • Remind your student that attending class regularly and keeping up with assignments are essential to academic success. Having a planner to keep up with a schedule is important.
  • Homesickness can arise, so encourage your student to meet new friends through campus organizations or campus ministries. This is a crucial time for establishing connections to campus.

October Parent Tips

  • Encourage your student to maintain focus with classes. Midterms are during this month.
  • Remind your student of the value of exercise and a healthy diet. Suggest using UMobile’s Fitness Center or joining an intramural sport.
  • This is a stressful month, so try to listen to frustrations and allow students to vent their stress. Trying to “find” one’s place at school is a normal part of acclimating to a new environment. This, on top of mid-term grades can be a stressful time.
  • Mid-semester grades will be online on the student's MyUM account - Student Central - My Academic Info and Registrar's Office - Grade Report - View Midterm Grade Report. You will need your student's login information.
  • If you would like to discuss concerns about your student's progress you may contact Shirley Sutterfield, the Director of Student Retention and Success at 251.442.2414 or ssutterfield@umobile.edu

November Parent Tips

  • Registration for Spring classes takes place during this month, so encourage your student to make an appointment with his or her academic advisor in the first week of November.
  • Beginning preparations for final exams happens toward the end of this month. Remind your student that adequate preparation time for final exams is important to his or her success.
  • Reinforce the value of adequate amounts of sleep, proper eating, rest and relaxation, in addition to following a routine of study habits. Encourage your student to visit her or her professors during office hours to get help with academic performance.
  • If your student seems overly depressed or anxious encourage him or her to talk to the Counselor at the Student Success Center: (251.442.2292)

December Parent Tips

  • Making travel plans for the holidays is essential before students leave for the break. Talk to your student about plans while at home during the holidays. Be supportive of your student during this month and the short holiday.
  • Finals are in this month, so time management is a very important topic to discuss with your student. Help your student to remain focused up to and through final exams. Send a care package for your student to share with friends while they study for finals.
  • Talk with your student about academic major choices. The Student Success Center offers guidance in this area through assessments.
  • Semester grades will be online on the student’s MyUM account - Student Central - My Academic Info and Registrar's Office - Grade Report - View Final Grade Report. You will need your student's login information. Look to the future for positive results and encourage your student to seek additional resources if grades fell below what either or both of you expected. Come up with an agreement on spring semester goals that are practical and obtainable.
  • If you would like to discuss concerns about your student's progress you may contact Shirley Sutterfield, the Director of Student Retention and Success at 251.442.2414 or ssutterfield@umobile.edu

January Parent Tips

  • Remind your student to check his or her grades for the fall semester before spring semester starts. This is so that questions can be addressed with professors if possible changes need to be made.
  • If your student’s grades were not as high as he or she hoped, both of you should review UMobile’s Catalog policies on academic warning, probation and suspension. Encourage your student to enter into Academic Success Coaching in the Student Success Center.
  • If your student is still feeling like he or she does not fit in well, discuss how to become involved in campus organizations to meet people. Call the Campus Life office for details. (251.442.2563)
  • Monitor the number of credit hours your student is taking to ensure completion of college in a timely manner. Remember scholarships are based on a four-year plan.

February Parent Tips

  • Remind your student of the importance of visiting professors, especially if he or she has concerns about schoolwork. Establishing rapport with instructors is important early on, before problems arise.
  • If your student has not yet settled on a major, now is the time to start investigating options. The Student Success Center offers career counseling to those whose majors are undecided.
  • This is a great time to evaluate your student’s financial needs. Are they spending too much? Do they need more assistance? Revising a budget is important.
  • It's time to renew FAFSA information for the next school year. Visit www.fafsa.gov for details.

March Parent Tips

  • Remind your student that while spring is a time of increased social activity, balance is important and academics should come first.
  • Spring Break is an important event for all college students, but that does not have to mean rambunctious fun. Ask your student what his or her plans are and ask about alternative spring break and service opportunities, which can be uplifting and valuable events.
  • Encourage your student to speak to his or her academic advisor in preparation for summer and fall registration.
  • This is a great time to discuss living arrangements with your student for the next year. Call Residential Life for more information. (251.442.2990)
  • Mid-semester grades will be online on the student's MyUM account - Student Central - My Academic Info and Registrar's Office - Grade Report - View Midterm Grade Report. You will need your student's login information.
  • If you would like to discuss concerns about your student's progress you may contact Shirley Sutterfield, the Director of Student Retention and Success at 251.442.2414 or ssutterfield@umobile.edu.

April Parent Tips

  • Encourage your student to get plenty of exercise, healthy meals and sleep as spring semester comes to an end.
  • Summer jobs and internships should be lined up and confirmed before spring semester ends. Remind your student to finalize all plans and ask his or her academic advisor for guidance.
  • Help your student to remain focused up to and through final exams. Send a care package for your student to share with friends while they study for finals. If additional help or resources are needed, the Student Success Center is available. The Learning Center is also available for tutoring purposes.
  • Make sure that your student is registered for summer and/or fall classes and that a college course plan is in place. If more guidance is needed, remind him to speak to his academic advisor or the Student Success Center.

May Parent Tips

  • Review with your student the past year. This may be the first time your student has time to reflect on the meaning of his or her academic experience. This can be a time for increased motivation toward original goals or alter plans. What changes should be made in budgeting, goals, activities, grades, etc.?
  • Let your student know you are available to help him or her move home for the summer if he or she is not attending summer courses. Discuss plans for the summer. If your student is returning home, discuss expectations for living at home (acknowledge the possible differences in your lifestyles after living apart for the past year).
  • Semester grades will be online on the student's MyUM account - Student Central - My Academic Info and Registrar's Office - Grade Report - View Final Grade Report. You will need your student's login information.
  • If you would like to discuss concerns about your student's progress you may contact Shirley Sutterfield, the Director of Student Retention and Success at 251.442.2414 or ssutterfield@umobile.edu

June Parent Tips

  • If your student has returned home for the summer, take some time to get reacquainted. Invite his or her new friends to visit.
  • Discuss your thoughts about summer employment while your student is at home. Suggest he or she gets involved in a community activity while at home.
  • Discuss the value of your student having developed a positive sense of campus life and plans for involvement next year.

July Parent Tips

  • Discuss how living arrangements will impact your student’s upcoming year.
  • Explore the need for career counseling to establish career or academic goals. Encourage your student to visit the Student Success Center before the fall semester starts. (251.442.2292)
  • Encourage your student to email and/or text campus friends to stay in touch and to stay up to date with campus happenings. (www.umobile.edu/MyUM)
  • Make sure you and your student have established an academic plan for the next full year. Set realistic goals to achieve.

Parent Resources

 Care Packages for your Student

You will have an opportunity to order a care package for your student at the parent meeting on move-in day.  This package will be delivered the second week of school. They are $35.00 and we will have a sample package for you to see at the meeting.

Online Resources

College Parents of America: www.collegeparents.org