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Parent Email–September 10, 2012

  • Parents Weekend Registration Deadline
  • Financial Update
  • Flu Shots for Students
  • Reuse-a-Palooza
  • Learning Abroad: For Students Going or Returning
  • University Libraries
  • Parents' Role In Student Success
  • Miscellaneous

The academic year is comfortably underway. Northrop Mall on a gorgeous afternoon is an illustration of the on-going conflict between having fun with friends (students playing frisbee or juggling on the Mall) and the commitment to studying (at least some of those who are stretched out on the lawn are doing homework). The perpetual goal is to find balance between academics, social life, and personal time.

The video of the Class of 2016 forming an "M" on the football field during Welcome Week is now posted on YouTube. I was there, and I can assure you, it did not happen as fast as the video would indicate. (We posted this link on the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page last week—if you want to be alerted to U of M messages more quickly, be sure to "like" us on Facebook.)

Although we're sending parent messages rather frequently right now, we will reduce the number of emails as the semester progresses. There is a lot going on as the academic year begins, but we usually send a message about every two weeks during fall and spring semesters.

Parents Weekend Registration Deadline

The deadline to register for Parents Weekend with no penalty is midnight tonight. Although we will accept registrations until September 21, a $10 late fee will be added to the registration cost starting tomorrow.

With Parents Weekend educational programs and college open houses on Friday, September 28, the highlights on Saturday, September 29, include a welcome from Karen Kaler, the wife of U of M President Eric Kaler; a program and exercise in creative thinking by the College of Design; and our first ever Parents Weekend Carnival, which will include performances by dance and music groups, the Unicycle Club, and the ever-popular Juggling Club. Games and contests will be set up by student groups and University departments, and parents and students can win some swell prizes, including Bookstore gift cards, dining from local restaurants, and even a stay at the University Days Inn. And on Sunday, September 30, it's all about the Twin Cities community.

Financial Update

The University does not mail paper billing statements, and with respect to student privacy issues at the college level, bills are delivered electronically to students, not to parents. Students should have received an email notice of their statement on September 8. The first payment is due October 3. If your student has not signed you up for access to billing and payment information, please have her or him go to the One Stop website and link to Parent/guest access in the righthand column, then follow the instructions.

The deadline for cancelling a class with no financial penalty is September 11. If your student is thinking of dropping a class, please confirm with him or her that cancellation is not going to affect student or financial status . With the 13-credit policy, students will be paying for 13 credits, even if they are taking fewer than 13. Student aid awards are often based on the number of credits students are taking. By dropping a class, some of their aid may need to be repaid. It is always wise for students to talk to their academic adviser and to a One Stop counselor before cancelling a class.

Flu Shots for Students

Please encourage your student to sign up now for free flu shots, offered by Boynton Health Service. The inoculations will begin October 2. For those who don't make an appointment, walk-ins may be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. More information about the flu shots is available online.


More than 100 gently used bikes will be available for $50 or less, with free safety checks for all bikes purchased at the Reuse-a-Palooza from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, September 12, on Northrop Plaza.. The University's ReUse Warehouse will also sell quality surplus items collected from around campus. In addition, local artists will be displaying works created from reused materials.

Learning Abroad: For Students Going or Returning

If your student is thinking about studying abroad, please recommend the Learning Abroad Fair, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, September 19, on the West Bank Plaza. Parents who would like more information about opportunities offered by the Learning Abroad Center can link to the LAC's parent website.

Students who have returned from an international experience are invited to attend the Minnesota Study Abroad Returnee Conference from 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, September 22. The program will help returnees reflect on the meaning of their journey and how to apply learning to life. Registration for the returnee conference is open through September 15.

University Libraries

With 13 libraries on campus, students are never far from academic support. U of M libraries are more than book repositories--students can find group or quiet study spaces and peer tutoring. Many courses require students to do some level of research or writing. For those who need help getting started, the assignment calculator is a good first step, follow by guidance from a peer research consultant.

Parents' Role in Student Success

The University of Minnesota views families as a key component to student success. In order to support your student, however, we believe you benefit by receiving information that explains the college experience at the U of M and that helps you assist your student's learning. We hope you will work with the University to empower your student to take personal responsibility for social and academic choices. In order to help parents understand those steps at the college level, the Parent Program has worked with parents, students, and student development professionals to create a set of Desired Outcomes for Parent/Family Involvement. Our 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 defined 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 before they talk to anyone on campus, 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.


The U of M Veterinary Medical Center has launched its second annual Pet of the Game contest, which features winning pictures of pets displaying Gopher spirit on the scoreboard during Gopher Football games. (Caution: "The Rouser" plays when you link to that website. If the volume on your computer is turned up, it can be rather loud.)

We would appreciate your response to our Parent Question of the Month for September. Last month's question asked what the most important factor was when your student selected a major. Most parents indicated that "interest in the subject" was the most important factor, followed by career possibilities related to the major.

Some of the more typical issues that students face at this time of year are posted on our Timely Issues webpage.