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Academic FAQs

Q: Where do I get proof of my student's enrollment and grade point average for my insurance company? 

A: Students can download a form from the One Stop website that will cover both these issues.

On that web page, scroll down to the heading "Verifying your Academic Record," and link to the Acrobat file called "Request for Certification." Your student will need to sign the form.

Students also can get the form by going in person to one of the One Stop Student Services Centers, which are located Science Teaching & Student Services building on the East Bank, in the West Bank Skyway, and in Coffey Hall on the St. Paul campus.

Q: My student was invited to join an honorary society. Should he join?

A: In terms of assessing whether it's worthwhile for your student to join any group, our recommendation is to ask your student to consider why he or she wants to join the group and whether this group will meet your student's reason for joining. For most students, the reasons for participating in an organization is to share a particular interest, to meet like-minded students, and to advance personal or career knowledge and opportunities.

In general, it seems not to be beneficial to have the name of an organization on a resume unless the student can also say that he or she participated in some ACTIVE way. That participation might be serving as an officer, playing a role in planning or organizing events, or making a contribution to the development of the group through a committee.

Students sometimes believe that having a list of memberships on their resume will improve their chances when they apply for a job or for graduate school. Employers and graduate schools will be impressed with a good grade point average, and they will want evidence of how students contributed to the organizations to which they belonged. They will want to know what students learned from their activities.

Some groups suggest that membership in an honorary society helps in getting scholarships—the most important factors in receiving departmental and academic scholarships are grade point average, evidence of involvement, and the recommendation of a professor or an academic adviser. Advisers usually know about a range of scholarship opportunities; professors are likely to hear about the scholarships offered by their department.

The best suggestion for determining the value of any group would be for your student to get in touch with the person listed as the contact to find out what the group does and how your student feels about the person or people leading the organization. If the contact person can talk about planned activities and the organization's goals, see if they fit your student's interests. You can find out if a group is a registered student organization on the University of Minnesota campus by checking the Student Unions and Activities Office's list of registered student groups.

You also can do a web-based search for a national branch of the organization to find out about the organization's mission and goals and any national activities the student can participate in. 

Q: When is commencement?

A: Each college within the University has its own commencement ceremony. A listing of the various times and dates can be found on the University's Events Calendar.

Q: My student is not doing well academically. How can I help?

A: Students, particularly freshmen, can encounter academic difficulties. First-year students often face difficult transitions and adjustments to college, including separating from family members, adjusting to new living arrangements, and accommodating the University's higher academic standards.

The Student Affairs, Understanding Today's Students website, offers suggestions and resources for achieving academic success, dealing with stress, depression, illness, alcohol misuse, and other issues.

Q: How can my student buy course books before classes start?

A: Students may buy course books at the U of M Bookstores, online or in person, any time after registering for classes, as long as the instructor has identified the required textbooks.

To determine textbook needs, students can log-on to the Bookstores' website and follow the links to buy textbooks. Students can enter their University Internet ID and password, and the Bookstore's website generates a book list directly from the student's registration records. Students may print this listing and bring it to the Bookstores to shop for their books, or they may purchase them online by selecting the books they wish to order.

Q: How can I obtain a copy of my student's grades?

A: The easiest way for you to receive a copy of your student’s grades, current financial information, and other student information is for your student to look up his or her student records at the Student One Stop website. Students can print the information from the website and pass it on to you.

The University is prohibited from releasing certain information to parents without permission of the student. By federal law (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, FERPA, also known as the Buckley Amendment), students over the age of 18 are considered responsible and are allowed to determine who will receive information about them.

Students can go to One Stop and select Parent/Guest Access in the right-hand column to give parents access to protected information. Parents also can receive information by submitting proof that their student is dependent. Proof is considered to be a copy of the most recent year’s federal tax form showing that the parent claims the student as a dependent.

Note: More information about the the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act can be found on the FERPA page.