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Parent Email–March 14, 2013

University Parent

March 14, 2013

Inside This Issue

  • Graduation
  • Finances
  • Mental Health
  • Spring Break
  • Miscellaneous

The Parent Program had lunch in Pioneer Hall today: pasta marinara from the exhibition station, a caesar salad, and Pioneer Hall's amazing homemade potato chips, which cannot taste that good and still be good for you. Today is Pi Day (3-14), so there was a buffet of pies for dessert. Because of the potato chips, the Parent Program skipped dessert.

I asked the hall director if he had any messages to pass along to parents, and as he made his way to an afternoon of conduct hearings, he said, "Please tell your sons and daughters to make good choices." He added that if they don't make good choices, they will have to be responsible for the consequences.

Graduation

Seniors who applied for graduation, and who are eligible, have been invited to participate in their college's commencement ceremony. They should respond to the invitation in order to ensure they are listed in the commencement program.

Because of the number of students graduating every year,  each of the colleges within the University holds a separate ceremony. Details on commencement ceremonies are posted on the Parent Program's graduation webpage.

Students and their parents are invited to attend GradFest, March 27 and 28, to make sure all the commencement details are covered: ordering cap and gown; posing for a graduation photo; ordering announcements; conducting a financial aid exit interview; and much more.

Finances

The second payment for spring semester is due March 20. For a full list of billing and payment dates, see the One Stop billing website.

Planning ahead for financial aid for next year starts now. The first step is for students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The priority deadline for returning students to file the FAFSA form is April 15. Please remember: FAFSA is a FREE application. There are websites that charge for filing the form, but you still have to do all the work. For more information on financial aid, see the One Stop website.

Mental Health

Midterms, lingering winter weather, and making plans for next year all can add to the stress students face on a daily basis. In addition, we know that there are mental health conditions that first exhibit symptoms during early adulthood. Parents and family members are often the first to notice changes in a student's behavior or general outlook, but it can be difficult to address your concerns. Our University Counseling & Consulting Services office has suggestions for "How to Raise a Sensitive Issue."

We want students to receive help as soon as possible, but for someone who is severely depressed, taking even one step to get help can seem like an impossible task. What might ordinarily seem like a minor setback presents a significant barrier--like making a phone call but reaching voicemail instead of a person, and then having to think about leaving a message. On the other hand, if the first step is successful, that one achievement can make the next step seem like less of a challenge. If you have a sense that your student may need assistance, but is having a hard time getting started, please ask her or him to take the Online Self-Assessment on the University's Mental Health website. It's confidential, it's quick, it's easy, and it will guide students to the next step.

Spring Break

Next week is Spring Break (March 18-22). The Minneapolis Police have asked us to deliver a Spring Break message for students who live off campus. Those who will be leaving town for the week are advised to

  • Lock windows and doors and close blinds; be sure roommates have done the same
  • Don't leave valuables where they can be seen from a window or doorway
  • Take electronics and other valuables home with you or secure them while you're gone
  • Cancel mail and newspaper delivery while you're gone or have a neighbor pick up your mail and paper
  • Let your landlord know that you will be gone
  • Don't leave your car parked on the street; be sure car doors are locked and valuables are not visible

Students who are not leaving for Spring Break are asked to be vigilant about their surroundings, especially at night. There will be fewer people out and about. Suspicious behavior deserves a call to 911, so if they see something unusual, it's a good idea to make the phone call.

Residence hall students who stay on campus will also see fewer people around. They should be sure not to let "tailgaters" enter the building behind them.

Miscellaneous

Spring starts soon, so we have revised our Seasonal Update for parents.

Please respond to our March Question of the Month!

And here is the most popular link from the Parent Program email—the Northrop Mall webcam, sponsored by the College of Science and Engineering.