Don't panic! We regularly see students on campus who have misplaced their phone, forgot to charge the phone battery, or fallen asleep when they should be calling home. Our campus is very safe, and we very rarely see reason for alarm when a student is not responding. If you are worried about your student not responding, there are some options.
If the student has not responded to calls or messages for several hours, please do not contact the building help desks or attempt to enter the residence hall. Our student staff must follow very strict confidentiality protocol and will not be able to help you. Instead, please contact either our housing office (during business hours 8am - 4pm EST) or University Police (after 4pm EST) to conduct a wellness check of the student.
Please remember that college can be a stressful and exciting time for students, and many simply get distracted by their newfound responsibility and independence, which can worry parents. This is a normal part of the growing process, and is often a healthy experience, even if it may cause some stress.
Most students experience some sense of homesickness and loneliness during their first semesters at college, and this is perfectly normal. It can be expressed in many ways, such as by saying things like "I don't know anyone here," or "I'm always bored," or "There's nothing to do." If your student is expressing homesickness, the best thing to do is encourage participation in activity. We have dozens of clubs and organizations on campus that are always looking for new recruits. Getting involved on campus will address the root causes of homesickness, which are feelings of lonely, boredom, and disconnection. Plus, studies have regularly shown that more involved students do better academically and professionally!
If your student's homesickness persists, encourage him/her to contact an RA. Our RAs not only have a strong sense of the options available for involvement on campus, but they also have training to identify if there may be other, unspoken difficulties. Residents should always feel like an RA is a primary resource for any problem, and we ask that parents facilitate this belief.
Roommate disagreements are bound to happen at some point, and often provide an opportunity for personal growth in communication and intrapersonal skills that will be reflected in the future. As a parent, you can be extremely beneficial by encouraging your resident to talk openly about disagreements with roommates, and to listen respectfully to the other person's feelings. If this is not a satisfying solution, you can also encourage your student to speak to an RA. RAs are thoroughly prepared for a number of roommate difficulties, and can usually resolve the problem in just a few steps.
While room swap is an option for dissatisfied roommates, we believe that overcoming intrapersonal difficulties is an important lesson that college facilitates. If there is a serious concern about the current living conditions, encourage your student to contact his/her Residence Director.
Many students are shocked by the transition from high school classrooms to college courses. As such, parents can often be concerned by the amount of stress their student is feeling, or worry about a student's grades. First, we see many students recover very quickly after the initial shock is over, and receive no lasting damage to their academic records. However, if there is a concern, please encourage your student to speak to his/her faculty member or advisor, or to contact one of our on-campus services for more specific help.
On the other hand, some parents worry that students are not concerned enough about their grades. We believe that students are most successful when they take control and responsibility for their own education. Parents can support their students by encouraging them to get to know their classmates, to participate in events and opportunities sponsored by their department, or to take on classes more closely aligned with the student's abilities and interests. If a parent is concerned that his /her student may have an issue affecting his/her grades, the parent can contact our housing office or the Office of Disabiliy Services .
Colloquially called a "write-up" or a "report," student conduct is often a subject which students and parents feel very passionate. At the time of the violation, our staff will attempt to explicitly indicate that a student will be involved in a student conduct procedure. Be aware that not all students included in a student conduct procedure are going to be held accountable for the violation, as some students are included as witnesses, victims, or because the evidence is inconclusive as to particular involvement. After the initial violation, students will be contacted via e-mail for more information. If found responsible of a student conduct violation, students will again be contacted (normally in-person at a conduct meeting and via student e-mail, depending on the situation) with certain sanctions or expectations that must be completed.
Unfortunately, because of FERPA and other restrictions, parents are often not allowed to receive or request information about student conduct. As legal adults, students are expected to speak on their own behalf.
As a parent, we understand that this can be a very stressful time, but the student will benefit most from attending all conduct meetings, remaining calm and rationale, and completing all sanctions in a timely manner. Many parents are surprised at the violations their students are found responsible of, but our student conduct process focuses on giving impartial hearings to all parties with the opportunity to appeal any decision. We ask parents to focus on helping their student to understand and accept this process instead of attempting to become intimiately involved in the decision making.