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Parent Email–September 7, 2011

  • Career Planning
  • Etiquette Dinner
  • Financial Update
  • Tech Support
  • Common Book
  • Parents of Commuter Students
  • Parents Weekend Registration Deadline
  • Mail, Packages in Residence Halls
  • Miscellaneous

They're back on campus! They're going to classes! They're studying! They're enjoying the excellent weather! You can get a good idea of campus life today by watching the Northrop Mall webcam, because students prefer to be outdoors in weather like this.

If you want to see more of campus life through photos and videos, please "like" the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page. That's where we post more frequent updates, images, and news.

Career Planning

It's never too soon to think about career development. Even first-year students should be visiting their career advising office at least once this year, and all students should be thinking about skills that their academic and out-of-the-classroom experiences are helping them learn.

A few upcoming opportunities related to career planning:

  • Director of the Office of Personnel Management, John Berry, will speak about federal careers at 5:30 p.m., Monday, September 12, at the Humphrey School on the West Bank. The program is for undergraduate and graduate students in all majors who want to learn more about federal careers and internships.
  • Community Involvement Fair, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, September 21, in the Great Hall, Coffman Memorial Union. This big, free event gives students a chance to learn about Twin Cities' volunteer and internship opportunities. Students can talk to representatives from more than 90 local organizations to find a position that matches their major or interests.
  • St. Paul Campus Job and Internship Fair, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, September 21, at the St. Paul Student Center. All U of M students are invited to meet with employers, who will be looking for candidates for a variety of jobs and internships
  • Health Careers Fair, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, September 28, in the Great Hall of Coffman Memorial Union. Students will learn about health-related career programs offered at the University of Minnesota and how to apply.
  • Graduate and Professional School Day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, October 12, in the Great Hall, Coffman Memorial Union. More than 100 graduate and professional schools will be represented, allowing students to talk to representatives, learn about the application requirements, and attend short seminars about applying and funding for graduate study.

For information on more career planning workshops, fairs, and programs, see the website for your student's college career office.

Etiquette Dinner

Planning for careers is not all about the job. It's also about professionalism. The annual Etiquette Dinner, sponsored by the U of M Alumni Association, answers the burning questions that come up when a job interview requires having a meal with interviewers: Which fork do you use for what? What do you do with your flatware and napkin after you've used them? Should you tell someone they have food in their teeth? The dinner, which is catered by D'Amico's, will start at 5 p.m., Thursday, September 22, at the McNamara Center on campus. Registration is required.

Financial Update

Disbursements to financial aid were made last week and should have shown up on your student's account. That means that grants and scholarships have been deposited into the accounts. If your student notices any problems or has questions, the One Stop staff can help them. Ask your student to call 612-624-1111, or better yet, stop in at the One Stop office in the Science Teaching and Student Services building (STSS), next to the Washington Avenue Bridge.

The first billing will be posted, and students will receive an email about the billing, on Saturday, September 10. The billing and payment calendar provides payment dates for the fall semester.

Tech Support

All Tech Stop and computer lab walk-in technology help locations provide assistance for students to receive face-to-face technology consultations and support. Technology help services also offer support by telephone, email or chat. For additional information, students can visit, or call (612) 301-4357 (1-HELP on campus).

Common Book

As we mentioned in previous messages, this year we're participating in the College of Education and Human Development's recommended reading, Outcasts United by Warren St. John. The book is available at the University Bookstore, as well as online book vendors, and it also comes in various e-book formats.

We are encouraging parents to take part in a discussion about the book on the University of Minnesota Facebook Discussion page. (You must be signed into your Facebook account to access the page.) We will post questions periodically throughout the next couple of months, and we invite you to attend public presentations on October 25 and November 1.

Parents of Commuter Students

Be sure to attend the Parents Weekend workshop for families whose students are living at home and commuting to campus. The session is scheduled for 3:30 to 4:15 p.m., Friday, September 30. Register before September 12.

Also check out the webpage for Parents of Commuter Students. That site provides information gathered from experienced commuter students and their parents about the common concerns related to commuting, and it offers tips for parents.

Parents Weekend Registration Deadline

Register by September 12 for Parents Weekend! The schedule continues to fill in with lots of opportunities for parents and students to explore campus, learn resources for academic and social success, and plan for next steps along the four-year college path. And, of course, to have fun together.

Parents of first-year students, be sure to sign up for the "Orientation Review" workshop on Friday afternoon, September 30, to discuss issues families face after their student starts college. Also attend the Housing 101 workshop on Friday afternoon to get answers to  questions about housing for next year. Should your student live on campus? Move to an off-campus apartment? And what does it mean for a 19-year-old to sign a lease and take on apartment responsibilities?

First-year parents will want to hear about their role in supporting their student's strengths, as identified this year with the StrengthsQuest assessment. The StrengthsQuest session is Saturday morning, October 1.

Parents of upperclassmen may appreciate the Career Planning and Learning Abroad workshops on Friday afternoon, and then there is the Junior/Senior dinner, with tips about the 21st Century job search.

All parents attending Parents Weekend can meet President Kaler and Mrs. Kaler and hear their vision for the University on Saturday afternoon. The University's Physics Force will entertain and educate as this group of teachers uses themselves as elements of physics experiments. Saturday's activities also include the Great Campus Quest, a scavenger hunt pitting family teams against each other for prizes, including a stay at the Holiday Inn Metrodome on the West Bank of campus.

Mail, Packages to Residence Halls

Some parents are just realizing they don't know their student's residence hall mailing address. You can find the residence hall address by going to the University's home page and doing a search under the name of the residence hall. You will find a link that has the hall's street address. Just address mail to the student's name, room number, residence hall, street address, and city, state, zip.

If you want a package sent or dropped off for your student, please keep in mind that deliveries can only be accepted from common carriers (the post office, Fed Ex, UPS, etc.). Individuals may not leave a package at the information desk, and the residence halls cannot accept bags of groceries from well-meaning parents. Parents and families also cannot have access to the student's room unless the student accompanies them. If you or others want to drop off a package, please ensure that your student or a roommate will be available to receive it from you.

Parents' Role in Student Success

In our most recent parent email, we noted that the University of Minnesota regards families as a key component to student success. Parents can better support their student when they understand the college experience, support student learning, and empower their student to take personal responsibility for social and academic choices. In order to help parents understand those steps at the college level, we worked with parents, students, and student development professionals on campus to create a set of Desired Outcomes for Parent/Family Involvement. The goal is to work with families on appropriate and successful parental involvement during the college years.

The first of these outcomes says, "Families contribute to student success by understanding the student experience and knowing about resources available at the University of Minnesota." We want parents to be aware of the unique challenges and opportunities facing today's college students, including the academic and non-academic expectations for students during the college years. Those expectations are listed in our Student Learning and Development Outcomes.

It is also helpful when parents know about student support services available on campus and understand how students can access those services. That's why we use the parent listserv to mention services like the Center for Academic Planning & Exploration, University Counseling & Consulting Services, SMART Learning Commons, and other campus services that contribute to student success. Although students are likely to report problems to their parents, and they often will ask family members for help, it is important for parents to encourage their student to independently seek the support and assistance they need. When students make contact with the resources on campus, they learn about the institution, they gain problem-solving skills, they establish connections on campus, and they develop self-confidence.


As part of last week's Welcome Week activities, one of our student employees polled first-year students to ask, "What do you anticipate will be your main form of communication with your parents?" Of the 136 students she queried, 52% said they would be calling home; 24% said they will text; 18% will be Skyping; and just 7% said they plan to contact their parents by email or Facebook.

On the University Parent website, we post an online question for parents each month. The August question asked how you expect your student to get around campus and the Twin Cities this year. No surprises—most students will be walking, and a large percent will be taking the Campus Connector buses and city buses. Parents do not expect their students to bike or to rent a ZipCar. Please respond to the September Question of the Month, and after you've responded, take a look at the August results.