Orientation - Brandon University

Parent Orientation 2012
Or: Now what?
Top 10 Things for
Parents of First
Year Students
to Know
1. Academic Expectations are Different from High School
Academic standards are very different
Fewer lecture hours
Students are expected to work on their own
Good grades in high school are a sign of potential to succeed
Marks may be significantly lower during the first year
Students may change their program during or after their
first year
Students may be reluctant to follow their interest out of
concern for disappointing their families – your support means
a lot
2. Know What Services are Available to Students
• There are many services available on campus
• Accessing help is not a sign of weakness it is a sign of being self aware
and contributes to academic success
• Be aware of the resources: http://www.brandonu.ca/student-services
3. Be Prepared for Change
University will likely be a period of growth, self exploration and increased
This may require an examination of self, friends and family
A time for exploration and experimentation
A period of questioning or challenging the values you hold dear
Changes may occur quickly
Each child will have their own unique experience, just as each parent will
Encouraging your student to become more independent during their
university experience will allow them to succeed here and after they
Some changes in behaviour may indicate your student needs help
Some Typical Signs of Distress:
Withdrawal from typical activities and socializing
Emotional Overreaction
Substance Abuse
Poor connection with reality
Uncharacteristic behaviour
Failing Grades
Frequent absences from class
Complaints of loneliness
Weight loss/gain
Increase in risky behaviour
Reference to hopelessness/suicidal thoughts
4. What Parents May Experience
You may experience feelings of happiness, excitement, and
You may also have a sense of sadness, loss and many new
and understandable fears and concerns about your child’s
future and wellbeing
This is normal – do take care of your own wellbeing as you
support your child
5. Balancing, Study, Home and Social Life
University expects students to think and act as adults
Expectations at home may be different – living by family rules and doing
what parents think is best (this may change)
Changes in your child’s sense of independence can lead to friction – listen
to your son’s or daughter's viewpoint and treat their opinions (some of
them newly found) with respect
6. Be Aware of Important Dates
Your student will be very busy and may overlook important dates and events
Knowing tuition payment deadlines, class drop dates and exam schedules will
help you understand what’s going on in their lives
Mark dates on the calendar for easy reference
Visit the following links on the BU website:
Last date to change/add courses:
1st term: Wed. Sept. 19th
2nd term: Wed. Jan. 16th
Voluntary Withdrawal:
Last date to drop courses
First Term Courses: Friday, November 23rd , 2012
Both Term Courses: March 6th , 2013
Second Term Courses: Friday, March 22nd , 2013
Courses dropped by these dates are designated as “V.W.” on a student’s transcript
After the last date for V.W. courses can only be
dropped with special permission
Your student can discuss this and get support from a counsellor
or advisor at Student Services.
If he/she just stops going, failure is likely – it is better to drop a course than receive a failing grade.
Remember: grades are permanent
7. Money Matters
Talk openly about all issues regarding money and financing
Students have a better chance of success if they know how to manage and balance a
chequing account and understand family expectations, for example, about debit and
credit cards and who pays for what
Be sure you both understand the criteria for continued financing through an RESP
Money management is a learned skill
8. Understand the Unique Experiences of Commuter/Long
Distant Students
Expect some changes to family life
They may need to stay late on campus for a variety of reasons
Their pattern of coming home may change depending on their
work load and the time of the term
Family dynamics will likely change in the 1st year
Your child may have less time for house hold responsibilities
Be patient and encourage your child to be involved on campus
– students tend to perform better academically if they are
participating in campus activities out side the classroom
9. Understand the Unique Experiences of Students in Residence
Having a roommate, lack of privacy, learning to cook, getting groceries, and
doing the laundry are some of the skills they will be practicing
To help with their adjustment you can listen when they share their excitement
and frustrations
Keep in contact by phone, email, texting, face book, skype
Send cards, photos and care packages (this goes for off campus students too)
You may find your child too busy to get back to you immediately
You can contact Residence for any questions or concerns:
10. Expect University Culture Shock
Your child has a lot to learn from study skills to social norms – at
times they could feel overwhelmed
Both you and your child will face changes that will take time to
adjust to
If you are concerned for their well being you can remind them of
Student Services and resources such as counselling:
A Balancing Act
A Balancing Act
A Week of Life:
A Week of University:
24 x 7 = 168 hours per week
Class 15 hours
Study 53 hours (varies from 40-60)
Extra-curricular 10 hours
Wellness 10 hours
Errands 5 hours
Commuting 5 hours
Sleep 56 hours
Meals 21 hours
There are only 168 hours in a week Your
student is going to be very busy.
Routines and regular family habits may
need to be adjusted.
Total 175 hours
University is more than a full time job!
Creating Balance – You can help
Discuss course load
Discuss goals and dreams
Point out course change dates
Encourage time with friends and family
Suggest regular exercise and balanced
Brainstorm ideas for developing study
habits and self care practices
Encourage your child to use the resources
in Student Services
Ways to help your student adjust
1. Help personalize living & study space:
posters, pictures of family and
friends, memorabilia, some familiar things from home, care package
2. Keep in touch:
phone cards, face book, texting, email, skype
3. Help them get to know Brandon: city map, bus schedule, university
clubs, tour the town, list of places of worship, movie coupons
4. Meet academic demands:
computer, day timer,
backpack, wall calendar, alarm clock
5. Handle crises:
provide a list of emergency phone numbers (better yet,
program them into the phone), first aid kit, emergency cash card
6. Nutritional, personal, household needs:
food cards, gift cards,
care package, snacks (if in residence, consider weekends), change for laundry,
extra toiletries, warm clothes
We encourage parents to have healthy curiosity about their student’s university experience.
Students may not always have the answers and sometimes it may appear they don’t want to talk.
Don’t be discouraged – they need your support even if they can’t/don’t say so.
Excitement and stress begin to
build in anticipation of life at
First grades received
First day of classes:
September 5th
First term tuition fees are due the
first day of classes.
Students seek help from Student
Services (learning, writing, math,
Students discover the differences
between High School and
Students may experience anxiety
about classes, professors and
campus life.
Students and Parents are
encouraged to attend Orientation
events in September.
Many more assignments due
As first assignments come due
Students can get help from Student
Services (learning, writing, math,
counselling) & the Library
Sept 18th – last day for 100%
refund for 1st and Both term
Sept 19th - last date to add and
change courses for 1st and Both
term .
Final exam stress begins
Oct 2 – last day for 50% tuition
refund for 1st term.
Students may begin to ask, "Is
university for me?"
Last day classes, Monday,
December 10th
Campus-wide illness begins! (cold,
flu, etc.)
Summer job hunt starts
make an appointment at the Career
Resource Centre in Student Services
Testing their new freedoms
students will begin to understand
the need to create balance with
Students will have attended
advising sessions and registered for
September 64h
Orientation Events to Sept 184h
“Battle on the Border”
Excitement for semester (Xmas)
Final exams for First Term
December 12th to 21st
Midterm exams and assignments
are due
Midterm grades returned
This is a great time to send a care
Fall study break, Friday, November
Last date for Voluntary
Withdrawal, November 18th
University closed Monday,
December 24th to January 1st 2013
University opens January 2nd , first
day of classes January 3rd
Receive grades from first term cause for celebration, relief or
perhaps grief.
Last day classes, April10th
Winter weather brings “blues”
March 6 – last day for voluntary
withdrawal Both term courses
Final exams April 12th – 26th
March 22nd - last day for voluntary
withdrawal for 2nd term courses
This is a good time for a student
to meet with their academic
advisor (TREK) or to go to
Student Services for direction.
Mid-term break Feb. 18th-22nd
Summer job hunt starts (of course
Sept is the best time to start).
Good time to make an
appointment at the Career
Resource Centre in Student
Selection of and registration in courses
for next year
Midterms and assignments pile
Jan. 3rd second term classes start
Excitement for summer break
Adjustments to course selection
Jan. 16th:
-Last day for 2nd term registration
and course change.
- Last day for 100% refund on 2n
term courses
- Last day for 50% refund on Both
term courses
Reflection on first-year
Beginning of final exam stress
Benefits and Resources
Student Services:
Career Resources
Disability Services
Learning Centre
Student Saver Discount Card
International Identity Card
Health & Dental Plan (opt out before September 26th )
Bus Pass – good for the year
Campus Recreation:
Intra murals
Programs (yoga, zumba, judo, kick boxing, etc)
They’re on their way