Parent Information

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Going to university is fun. It’s exciting. For many students, it’s a rite of passage into the adult world. But the post-secondary experience can also be challenging.

Making new friends, meeting academic goals, figuring out how to handle increased independence. These milestones are easier for some students than others. We’d like to share with you, the parents of new university students, some tips for helping your child make a smooth transition into the world of post-secondary education.

Parent Orientation

Parent Orientation is part of New Student Orientation each fall.

Attend parent orientation

Ask questions. Tour the campus. Eat a cupcake. Learn what the transition to post-secondary education means for you, your household's newest student and your family. More details will come your way in a postcard invitation in the summer.

Stay connected

Write. Phone. Text. Email. Skype. Hang out. Chat. From phone calls to care packages, coffee dates to meal-time visits—a connection with home can help ease the stress of separation. Whether your child is still living with you or has left the family nest, it’s important for you to take the time to connect about campus life.

Showing an interest in the exciting early days of university opens the door for more challenging discussions down the road.

Listen. Listen. Listen.

Listening is the key to establishing open, on-going communication with your child.

Of course, you will be curious about their post-secondary experience—their marks, their relationship with professors and peers, even their ability to make their way around campus! That curiosity is natural. But asking pointed questions about grades or giving unsolicited advice may lead to feelings of anger and resentment. Instead, show you are interested by listening to what they have to say about their time on campus.

Nurture independence

Successful students are independent students. They take responsibility for their education from application through to convocation.

As parents, it can be difficult to encourage independence. We want our children to succeed at university and we know we have the life experience to help them do just that. But it's important to remember that when new students figure out a situation on their own, they gain experience that is a valuable part of growing and learning.

Respect your child's privacy

Because students are considered adults, their privacy is protected by the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act. This means that, no matter how curious you are about your child's performance, the university cannot release personal information.

If students want to allow a family member, agency or other individual or organization access to their information, they must complete a Personal Information Disclosure Authorization Form. Permission can be revoked at any time by completing a Non-Disclosure Authorization Form. Both of these forms can be found in the Forms Cabinet.

Learn more about Information and Privacy Management at the university.

Remember that career planning takes time

It’s only natural for parents to be concerned about their children's futures, including their career paths. However, in the first year of post-secondary studies, it is best to support academic choices whether they seem “career worthy” or not. Placing too much emphasis on education as a route to a career may simply cause additional pressure on your child. Students often switch majors or career paths more than once before finding the right fit. It’s important for them to keep their options open.

Advisors in Career Services are available to support students who have started to think about workplace options.

Encourage a balanced lifestyle

One of the best pieces of advice you can give a first-year university student is “strive for balance:” good nutrition, regular exercise, time to relax and have fun, enough sleep.

MacEwan offers plenty of activities and events to meet students’ social, physical and emotional needs. Here are a few of the most popular:

Learn about policies and procedures

If you are aware of and understand university policies, you will be well-equipped to support your child's university success. Some of the most common questions we receive are related to the following policies.

  • Student Rights and Responsibilities (Policy E3101)
  • Student Discipline (Policy E3102)
  • Student Appeals (Policy E3103)
  • Harassment (Policy D1125)

You can find explanations about these and other policies and procedures in the policy manual.

Encourage your child to learn about the grading system and academic deadlines

Academic expectations at university are quite different from those at high school. From juggling deadlines to becoming familiar with a new grading system, your child will have to learn to give first priority to class attendance and studying, while still enjoying the many social and personal benefits of the university experience. Quite an adjustment.

The academic schedule includes a number of important dates and deadlines: application deadlines, fee payment, withdrawal deadlines, exam schedules.

Direct your child to appropriate services and resources

Like you, MacEwan wants your son or daughter to succeed in their first year at university. That’s why we offer a range of services and resources. From clubs and interest groups to counselling and career advising—we are committed to supporting our students for their entire stay on campus. Most of our services are offered through these areas: