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Tips For Families
Advice for Parents & Families
As a parent or family member you may ask yourself, how can I best support my student? What can I do to help them succeed? UWM is aware of the challenges your student may face and we provide a variety of resources to assist you and your student in their growth and development. Referring your student to campus resources will allow them to take responsibility for their own success while allowing you to take part in important conversations about their transition.
The UWM PRIDE Message is a great place to look for behaviors of successful college students: pride.uwm.edu
Below are some suggested discussion topics. We encourage you to check in with your student throughout their first year at UWM.
Has your student talked with their Peer Mentor, Resident Assistant? Each student is assigned a peer mentor from the Student Success Center. This is a student who can refer them to all the resources UWM has to offer and get them connected to campus. Mentors also offer social and educational programs that your student can attend. If your student lives on campus, they have a Resident Assistant who can support them (www.universityhousing.uwm.edu). If your student lives off-campus they can contact their UWM Peer Mentor via email.
How is your student connecting to UWM? Have they made friends, joined a study group or a student organization. What about campus employment, undergraduate research or studying abroad? Making connections with peers encourages a successful transition. See the campus resources section on the SSC Home Page for more information.
Has your student signed-up for tutoring? Many students wait too long to access tutoring making it difficult to catch-up (www.pass.uwm.edu). Tutoring is not just for students who may be struggling in a course; it provides valuable supplemental instruction for students at all skill levels.
Is your student making healthy decisions? Are they exercising and eating healthy? What about getting enough sleep? Have their social behaviors changed? There are many opportunities for your student to get engaged physically on campus. Visit the UREC page for more information on these opportunities (www4.uwm.edu/recsports)
Helping Your Student Make Healthy Decisions
Want to help your student thrive at UWM? Talk with them about alcohol and other drug use, both before they arrive on campus and throughout their time in school. While many UWM students choose to drink moderately or not at all, substance use has the potential to cause a variety of interpersonal, academic, legal, and health concerns that may derail a student’s successful college experience.
Tips for talking with your student about their alcohol and other drug use:
- Be direct. Ask your student about how they intend to navigate decisions related to the use of alcohol and other drugs within the college environment. Check in with them often to discuss what they have experienced academically, legally, and socially as a result of these decisions, and help them to develop new strategies, as needed.
- Express your own values, as they related to alcohol and other drug use, and work with your student to create shared expectations for their college experience. Parents and other family members have a powerful influence on the substance-related behaviors of their college students. For instance, students who perceive that their parents disapprove of them drinking are less likely to encounter drinking-related problems.
- Promote connections to campus. Encourage your student to seek opportunities to connect with other UWM students in substance-free environments, through involvement in student groups, recreational activities, and on-campus programs.
- Reinforce positive coping techniques. Some students turn to substance use as a means of coping with stress or other emotional difficulties. Remind your student that alcohol and other drugs are not an effective way of coping with issues that may be causing them worry or distress, and help them connect with appropriate academic or counseling resources, as found on pages # and #.
If your student’s use of alcohol or other drugs is detrimentally impacting their health, academic performance, or general transition to college
– or if you are otherwise worried about their substance use – express your observations and concerns in an open and nonjudgmental manner, and offer to help them connect with available resources,
Has your student met with their Academic Advisor? Your student’s Advisor plays a major role in their success, specifically graduating in a timely manner. Advisors are very busy late in the semester as the registration deadline looms. Your student should schedule an advising appointment well in advance each semester. Their Advisor can inform them of all add/drop deadlines and any fees associated with courses. They may also talk with them about any difficulties they might be having. (Click Here for Advising Information)
Has your student gotten to know their professors? Are they attending and participating in class regularly? Have they been to their professor’s office hours? Especially in large lecture courses it is important that your student participate in discussion and make themselves known to the professor.
How will your student pay for college? Have they completed their FAFSA? What about scholarship applications? Have they found on-campus employment? Funding can be a major stress for students and their families. The priority filing date for FAFSA is March 1 and scholarship deadlines vary (www.financialaid.uwm.edu)
Has your student been to the Career Development Center? Students who set career goals and regularly integrate career exploration into their college experience are more likely to finish school, be more marketable to employers, and be personally fulfilled in their work (www.CDC.uwm.edu).
The Career Development Center helps students make informed choices on majors and careers, build marketable experiences into their education and find satisfying jobs after graduation. Classes, workshops, job fairs, counseling/coaching and web-based tools provide help with resumes, networking, job seeking skills, internships, and interview preparation. The resources include:
- Career Counseling: Career Counselors work one to one with students on an appointment or walk-in basis on a variety of career development tasks and challenges.
- Workshops and presentations are given on topics like Resumes, Utilizing Social Media, Choosing a Major, Conducting Career Research, Networking and Interviewing.
- PantherJobs: The primary web based resource that connects UWM students and alumni with local and national employers.
- Helping Your Son/Daughters' Career Development: This podcast is found on the CDC website
- Educational Psychology 101 (2 credits): Planning Your Major and Career:
Learn about careers and majors that fit your interests, values, and skills.
- Educational Psychology 301: Successful Career Transitions (2 credits): Receive support, structure and guidance on employment goal setting and job seeking skills.
Parents, Family & Career Development
Students who set career goals and regularly integrate career exploration into their college experience are more likely to finish school, be more marketable to employers, and be personally fulfilled in their work. Parents, family, role models, and friends can play a significant role in contributing to a student’s motivation and effectiveness in achieving their career goals and in their success during and after college.
The UWM Career Development Center provides services to gain career skills and competence that help students from freshman through graduation to gain more from their classes, prepare for the world of work and navigate the college experience overall.
How can you help your college student with career planning?
- Become familiar with career resources available to your college student.
- Ask to share in their research of careers, identifying what they most want in a career, and determining their career goals.
- Help explore perspectives that you and your college student may have about career and college.
- Encourage behaviors that are helpful such as meeting regularly with an advisor regarding classes, speaking with a career counselor once a semester regarding career building activities, and learning how to navigate the college experience.
- Most importantly, listen and provide a safe and supportive environment for your college student to share their fears, concerns, excitement.
As parents, you are encouraged to check with your son or daughter and ask them challenging questions which may make them uncomfortable…questions like:
How can you help your college student with career planning?
- “What are your interests—what do you really like to do?”
- “What are your skills and abilities—what do you do well?
- “What are your values—or what do you really care about?”
- “What specific resources are you using at UWM to learn about career possibilities?”
- Learn about career planning resources for UWM students
- Begin self-exploration and identifying majors/careers fitting your interests, skills, and values
- Get familiar with UWM majors, departments, schools and colleges.
- Sign up for CDC two credit course: Planning Your Major & Career Class
- Use CDC Career Library and website to research careers.
- Attend Career Days to learn about careers and employers.
- Use UWM Panther Jobs, to identify on/off campus, part-time and work-study jobs as well as volunteer opportunities.
- Meet with your Academic Advisor and Peer Mentor – develop relationships throughout college.
- Get involved in student organizations related to your major/career interests.
- Enroll in classes that help you explore potential majors and careers as well as build career skills.