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Parent Email–August 14, 2013

University Parent

August 14, 2013

Inside This Issue

  • Finances
  • Fraternity/Sorority Life
  • University Traditions
  • National College Colors Day
  • Career Planning
  • U of M Parents Facebook Page
  • Attendance Policy and Religious Observance
  • Security Suggestions
  • Mental Health at the U of M
  • The Quiet Student
  • Miscellaneous

As the start of fall semester draws closer, we will be sending parent emails more frequently, with more information in each one. We promise to let up a bit once students settle into their fall routine, but for now, please glance through the messages for information you and your student may want or need.

Finances

Awarding of financial aid is now in progress. Students who applied for financial aid have received an email about their eFAAN (electronic Financial Aid Award Notice). They can refer to the email or go online to check their financial aid status. They will need to log in at the One Stop website to review their status and complete the award process. The Cost of Attendance budget can help determine how much financial aid to use for the year. Families and students are encouraged to take out only as much in loans as is needed. Extra cash is easy to spend, but larger loans now mean higher repayments later.

The first bill for fall semester will not be posted until September 7, but parents often have questions in August about their student's bill. There are two primary payment options: online and by mail. The quickest, safest, and easiest way to pay bill is online through your son's or daughter's student account. Student accounts, however, fall under the restrictions of data privacy and are password protected. Your student may easily grant parent/guest access to their student account. Please work with your student to get access to the information you will need.

There are several resources available on the One Stop Student Services website that may assist you when paying a student bill. For example:

Students with additional questions about bill payments, financial aid, or registration may contact One Stop Student Services at onestop@umn.edu or call 612-624-1111 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Toll free calls from outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area: 1-800-400-8636. TTY calls (for the hearing impaired only): 612-626-0701.

Fraternity/Sorority Life

This is the time of year when parents of first-year students are wondering about fraternities and sororities. We have posted some of the most frequently asked questions on the Parent website.

Fraternity recruitment will begin on August 22, when fraternities offer a Pre-Welcome Week experience for men interested and able to attend. Participants will see every fraternity facility, meet members, and learn how to join. Starting on August 31 of Welcome Week, fraternities will host a formal process that coincides with Welcome Week. Students can register online. Chapters will continue to host events through September for students who were not able to attend the earlier events.

Sorority recruitment requires online registration. Recruitment will open with a mandatory 45-minute meeting on August 31 when women will learn about the selection process. House tours take place during Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend. Women will meet with representatives from each chapter and see the facilities. Sorority recruitment reconvenes the following weekend and culminates with Bid Day, taking place on Monday, September 9, at TCF Bank Stadium.

Students interested in joining a cultural (Multicultural Greek Council, or MGC) organization should feel free to reach out to specific chapters regarding their recruitment processes. Some chapters have requirements prior to joining, and students are encouraged to research national websites to learn more about these organizations.

Traditions

You already know a lot about the University of Minnesota, but we want parents to have a good foundation in our campus traditions. Learn about the Regents Seal, test yourself on the meaning of "Ski-U-Mah," and read the story behind the Minnesota Rouser.

National College Colors Day

U of M students, staff, faculty, alumni, parents, and friends are encouraged to show their U of M spirit on Friday, August 30, in honor of National College Colors Day. Post a photo of your best maroon and gold "look" on the U of M Bookstore Facebook photo contest and you could win a $50 U of M Bookstore gift card. Bookstore fans will select the winning photo.

Career Planning

It's never too early to start career planning. All students are encouraged to visit their college career office at least once during their first two years and more often during their junior and senior years. For students who are returning to campus, the hope is that they will attend career and internship fairs early and often to get a sense of how career fairs work and what to expect during the job search.

This year's career fairs begin in September:

  • St. Paul Campus Job & Internship Fair, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., September 18, North Star Ballroom, St. Paul Student Center. Students and alumni from all U of M campuses can meet employers offering jobs and internship opportunities in Agriculture, Animal Science, Banking/Finance, Bio-based Products, Business, Communication, Food Industry, Retail, Marketing, and Sales.
  • Carlson Undergraduate Fall Career and Internship Fair, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., September 16, TCF Bank Stadium. This event is for students in the Carlson School seeking internships and employment.
  • Fall Science and Engineering Career Fair, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., September 17, Mariucci Arena. Students in the College of Science and Engineering can look for full-time, part-time, co-op, and internship positions.
  • CLA Internship Fair, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, September 27, Mississippi Room, Coffman Memorial Union. CLA students can explore internship opportunities with a wide variety of employers. Many of them also have full-time career openings available. Positions include for-profit, non-profit, and government opportunities. The event also helps students develop networking skills and get advice about internships and the world of work. Students are encouraged to register in the "Career Events" section of GoldPASS (students will need to login on GoldPASS to get to the Career Events link).

U of M Parent Program Facebook Page

Parents who have a Facebook page are invited to sign up for the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page. Yesterday's post is a YouTube video about residence hall move-in, developed by one of our student employees.

Attendance Policy and Religious Observance

University policy requires students to attend the first class session for each course for which they are registered. Failing to attend the first class session may mean the student is dropped from the course. Students may be excused from that first session if they receive approval from the instructor in advance.

This year, Rosh Hashanah is September 4 to 6, which is the first week of fall semester classes. A separate University policy stipulates that absence from a first class session that falls during a recognized religious holiday (e.g., Rosh Hashanah) does not require instructor approval, but the instructor must be notified in advance of the absence and the reason; in this instance, the place for the student will be retained. Any student who expects to miss the first day of class because of the religious holiday must contact the instructor in advance to retain his or her space in the class.

Security Suggestions

Whether students will be living in a residence hall, near campus in a house or apartment, or at home, there are a few suggestions related to security that we'd like to pass along. A task for parents: Check your homeowner's insurance to find out if your student's belongings are covered when they live in a residence hall or campus-area apartment. Some insurance policies cover those items, or a rider may be available through your homeowner's policy at low cost. Otherwise, you might want to obtain a renter's policy.

It's important to have a record of the serial numbers of valuable items, including computers and laptops, printers, bicycles, TVs, cell phones, electronic tablets, digital cameras, and mp3 players. When items are replaced, record the new serial numbers. Download location-finding apps when possible for tracing items that are lost or stolen. Additional suggestions for campus safety and security are on the U of M Police Department website.

Mental Health at the U of M

During your student's time on campus, it is possible that he or she may need to access professional assistance to deal with concerns related to stress, anger, depression, anxiety, and other issues.  Some students come to campus with diagnosed mental health conditions that they need to monitor or treat on an on-going basis. The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, offers a number of services to assist students with these and other mental health challenges. Information about campus mental health resources and support is available online, and students are encouraged to talk with professionals—and to their friends and roommates—about their symptoms and condition. For first-year students and their parents, a national website provides information about issues specific to the "transition year."

The Quiet Student

We occasionally receive phone calls or emails from parents who believe their student is in a challenging situation related to a roommate or instructor, and the parents indicate they're calling because "My student would never say anything. He's afraid he'll upset his roommate if he complains," or "She's really shy and would never talk to the instructor about this."

While we understand that parents want to assist their "quiet student," an important part of the college experience is finding ways to empower students to address their concerns or discuss their problems directly. The University is a safe place for students to learn those personal skills before they go out into the real world.

If your son or daughter is quiet, shy, introverted, or reserved, please read our University Parent information, "A Portrait of the Quiet Student." We value the contributions and characteristics of our less outgoing students, and we often find that they are independently making their own quiet strides to address concerns and solve problems in ways that are comfortable to them. While they may not handle situations in ways that their parents or friends would prefer, they are usually developing strategies that will work for them now and will give them confidence for greater change over time. If they need assistance in beginning to address a problem, a Community Adviser in the residence hall can help roommates and neighbors negotiate conflict; academic advisers will have suggestions for addressing a faculty member; and the University's Student Conflict Resolution Center can work with students on strategies or serve as an advocate for complex issues.

Miscellaneous

Please take time to review the University Parent website and to respond to our Question of the Month for August. Last month we asked about parents' experience traveling abroad. Just 8 percent of those responding said they had never traveled abroad; 44 percent have traveled abroad at least once in the past five years; 40 percent went abroad five or more years ago; and 7 percent travel internationally more than once a year.

If you're wondering what campus looks like in mid-August, visit the College of Science and Engineering webcam view of Northrop Mall.