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Parent Email–September 12, 2011

  • Parents Weekend Registration Deadline Extended to Wednesday
  • Homesickness 2.0
  • Parents' Role in Student Success
  • Internships
  • Service Learning for Parents and Students
  • Miscellaneous

It's another shorts-and-sandals day on campus, but as the week continues and temperatures drop, students may be breaking out the jeans, hoodies, and sneakers. Most important, students have now made it through the first week of the 2011-2012 academic year, and they're figuring out a routine for fall semester. Sunning on Northrop Mall may not be a long-term solution for what to do between classes, but it's an option for today.

Last week we posted photos of Northrop Mall and other campus sites on the University of Minnesota Parent Program's Facebook page. To keep up with our postings, sign in to your Facebook account, go to the Parent Program page, and "like" us. And if you have been reading our common book, "Outcasts United," take part in the book discussion on the Facebook Discussions page.

Parents Weekend Registration Deadline Extended to Wednesday

The Carlson School of Management (for parents of first year students) and the College of Education and Human Development have both scheduled an open house reception for parents on Friday, September 30. In order to ensure that Carlson and CEHD parents have the opportunity to attend Parents Weekend and include the open houses on their schedule, we are extending the registration deadline for Parents Weekend until Wednesday, September 14. (Parents can still register between September 15 and 22, but there will be a $10 late fee added to the registration.)

Parents of first-year Carlson School students need to fill out a separate registration for the open house, which will be held at the Carlson School from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Friday, September 30.

The CEHD open house is from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Friday, September 30, in Room 360 Education Sciences.

Homesickness 2.0

Some students experience homesickness as soon as they arrive on campus. For others, so much is happening the first few days of school, there is no time to miss home and family. Once the excitement starts to wear off, though, students can begin to realize that they're missing things at home, and that family and friends are going on without them. There is also a realization that their expectations of college life don't always match up with the reality of roommates, study schedules, and sleeping in a lofted single-bed. In some cases, homesickness doesn't come out as, "I miss my mom and dad," but students suffer more vague emotions of anxiety, sadness, or a feeling that "something's missing."

Parents can help by encouraging their student to stay busy, get involved on campus, and focus on a routine. The busier a student is, the less time he/she has time to feel lonely. The more that campus can start to feel like home, the less students will fret about family and high school friends. Rather than bring your student home for the weekend, encourage her or him to stay on campus and find things to do here. As students discover ways to connect to the University, they will be learning coping behaviors that will serve them in the future.

If students seem very unhappy, University Counseling & Consulting Services (UCCS) can help. The counselors at UCCS are experienced in working with the issues that college students face, and students can call or drop in for an appointment.

Parents' Role in Student Success

In recent parent e-mails, we have discussed how parents contribute to student success by understanding the student experience, supporting student learning, and empowering students to take personal responsibility for their social and academic choices. In order to help parents understand those steps at the college level, the University of Minnesota has developed a set of Desired Outcomes for Parent/Family Involvement to help facilitate appropriate and successful family involvement during the college years.

The second of our outcomes asks parents to support the University's guidelines for student learning and development. College is all about personal growth and discovery. Students gain critical skills when they set and achieve their own goals and make responsible decisions related to their academics, career planning, social interactions, and community engagement. A major part of student development during the college years is the process of examining personal values and learning about the values and beliefs of others. There will be times when students face uncertainty as they make decisions and as they compare their beliefs with those of their friends and classmates. As tempting as it may be for parents to set ground rules and boundaries for their students, the reality is that students will be making decisions and choices based not only on family history and expectations, but also on the academic, social, and practical influences they experience on campus. By thinking through their values, goals, and choices, students' beliefs become more deeply ingrained and develop into a key part of their core identity.

It is almost inevitable that at some point, college students will face disappointments, and they will make mistakes. It's a natural reaction for parents to want to prevent their child's disappointments and protect them from the consequences of their mistakes, but students do need to accept personal responsibility for their choices. Parents help most when they encourage their student to examine their disappointments and look hard at the unexpected outcomes. Encourage your student to assess what caused the problems, consider what can be done to improve a difficult situation, and take steps to avoid similar problems in the future.


As the job market has tightened, more employers are looking for college graduates who have had more than one internship. Students can do an internship at any point in their college career, as well as after graduating. The Career and Internship Services office has developed a website with information on internships.

Two internship events are coming up:

  • 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.
  • CLA Internship Event: Let Your Journey Begin, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, September 27, Room 524 Science Teaching & Student Services Building (STSS). For all CLA students and recent alumni (within one year of graduation).

Service Learning for Parents and Students

Last year, the Minnesota Parents Association and U of M Parent Program worked with the non-profit organization Common Hope to sponsor a service learning experience in Guatemala for parents and students. The interest in the trip was high, and the feedback from those who went was exceptional. We have scheduled a repeat of the Guatemala trip for May 2012, and we are adding a second trip, which will be during Spring Break 2012 (March 10-17). The second trip, arranged by the Global Citizens Network, will focus on a partnership with the Quileute People in the village of La Push on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. Please watch the University Parent Advice and Involvement webpage for details on the La Push service learning trip.

Applications for the La Push trip will be due by November 1. Applications for the Guatemala trip will be due by December 31.


U of M President Eric Kaler will be inaugurated at 11 a.m., Thursday, September 22. The public is invited to celebrate the occasion and watch the inauguration at Coffman Memorial Union or the St. Paul Student Center, or view it online by linking to the University website the morning of the event.

Students received an email with their fall billing statement over the weekend. If you need a copy of the bill, please check with your student. The first payment is due October 5.

Please respond to the September Question of the Month.