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Information for parents

Parents with studentOn behalf of the Division of Student Affairs, we want to welcome you and your student to the Columbia College family! We hope that throughout the coming semesters you will take on the special role of being one of our main partners in the success of your student.  

It is our goal to assist your student in making a smooth transition to all aspects of college life through support, advocacy and accountability. Below you will find a few frequently asked questions that we hope will offer a glimpse into this next piece of your students’ journey.  

What can I do to ease the transition for my student to college life during the summer?

The best thing you can do to assist in the transition prior to your student arriving on campus is support them and offer guidance on the simple tasks they may not realize make a difference, i.e.:

  • Setting an alarm clock (or using the alarm function on their phone) – If you have been in the practice of waking your student up in the mornings, move towards having them wake up on their own. When they get to CC they will not have someone there to ease them out of bed and make sure they attend their morning classes!
  • Basics of doing laundry – Although CC offers the great service of FREE laundry in the residence halls, this does not mean someone else is doing it for your student. They are still responsible for the actual execution of doing the laundry. Show them how to properly sort clothes, read care labels, and the basics of operating the machines.
  • Managing basic finances – Help your student come up with a realistic budget for both this summer and their time at school. It is often cited that financial issues cause some of the biggest problems between students and parents, so getting ahead on this conversation will hopefully save you a headache or two later on down the road.
  • Making decisions – Often parents have a habit of ‘guiding’ students towards a particular decision with the aim to keep them from making mistakes. Realize that your student needs to learn to make decisions on their own as soon you will not be there in person as the guiding voice. Most importantly, trust that the decisions your student makes are the right ones for them in that time and that given a mistake along the way, they may uncover a valuable lesson.
  • Managing time – Throughout most students’ schooling until they reach college, they have been provided a schedule of activities managed by someone other than themselves. One of the main difficulties students face as they transition to college is learning to manage all facets of their time with no one there to mandate how their time is spent. Talk with your student about scheduling their time in a way that most effectively balances school work, family, personal life, outside work or volunteer opportunities, and of course… fun!
  • Making healthy choices – Every first year student worries about the dreaded ‘freshmen fifteen,’ but it is our belief that an early focus on making healthy choices in regards to sleep, eating right, exercising, etc. can keep those pounds off AND aid in academic achievement. Have your student make you a healthy dinner or snack one night, get out and enjoy the summer weather at a nearby park, or have them work towards a specific night time routine (at least during the week).

Goodbyes have been said… but now what?

  • First, relax. We understand that often the feeling that college has officially begun for parents comes with the moment of saying, ‘goodbye,’ but please understand that while your student is beginning their next phase of life, the opportunity is there for you to step into a new phase of life as well. Take each day as it comes and empower your student to develop as a whole person, making decisions, taking chances, and expanding their mind.
  • Encourage their independence. Your student may call you with many different frustrations related to transitioning to college life. Encourage your student to go meet with the staff or faculty at CC to try and resolve the issue on their own first. Learning responsibility early on in college will benefit them throughout their entire time here as well as long after graduation.
  • Along the same lines, call’em, but don’t bug’em! Students love to hear from friends and family (and may also call you to express feelings of homesickness), but understand that too many calls and texts can actually take away from the experience they could be having on campus. Allow time for your student to connect with their new campus community, as the research shows that involvement leads to greater satisfaction, better academic performance, and an increased sense of belonging. Keep in mind, responses may not always be immediate as your student is experiencing a whole new level of responsibility.
  • Send your support, whether it’s through the conventional method of ‘snail mail’ or through an encouraging text or phone call the night before a big test. Your support means the world to your student and although they may have a moment or two of doubt during their first few semesters, your encouragement may be the thing that keeps them going.

My student is feeling sick, where should they go for help?

  • CC has a great Nurse Practitioner in the Atkins-Holman Student Commons (2nd floor) that is on hand to provide free medical care and/or referrals. She also handles all Immunization Forms.
  • In the case of an emergency, call 911. Columbia offers two state-of-the-art hospitals that offer emergency services: 
    Boone Hospital – 1600 E. Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201; (573) 815-1800
    University Hospital – 1 Hospital Dr., Columbia, MO 65201; (573) 882-4141

Recently my student has been expressing that they are dealing with a great amount of stress. What can I do to help them?

  • Tell your student to visit our Counseling Services office located in the Student Affairs Suite in the Atkins-Holman Student Commons (2nd floor) where they can set up an appointment with our professional counseling staff. This service is both free AND confidential.
  • For additional information or resources that might be of help to you as you talk with your student, please visit the Counseling Services website.

I’m afraid my student is staying in their room too much and not getting any activity in. Should I suggest certain resources on campus for them to explore?

Yes! Please encourage your student to check out the many resources available for them to be active, including the following:

  • Encourage your student to attend Orientation and Welcome Activities. Cougar Day Trips offer students an opportunity to get out and about and get to know one another. The more connections your student makes early on, the less likely they are to be reclusive.
  • Campus Recreation Center (Koepke Fitness Center in the Southy Building) – can provide a boost physically and is open to students during the posted hours.
  • Intramural Sports – ask your student to check with Athletics or to pay attention to their CougarTrack announcements to see all of the intramural sports available.
  • Student Engagement and Leadership Development – stop by the Division of Student Affairs and chat with Stephanie about opportunities to get involved in an organization, service project, or other campus event.
  • Residential Life staff – the individuals that staff the residential halls on campus are always clued in to the activities occurring on campus. All it takes is a question!
  • INCC Instructor or Community Consultant – most first year students will be participating in the Columbia College INCC course and their Instructors and Community Consultants are there to assist your student in finding their place within the campus community.

My student has a documented disability but does not know who to contact in order to request accommodations.

Encourage your student to stop by the Disability Services office in the Atkins-Holman Student Commons (2nd floor). They will work with your student to develop a plan that will hopefully aid them in being successful at CC.

Class has been difficult for my student and he/she does not know where to turn, what should I suggest?

  • Recommend that your student reach out to the instructor of the particular course. The CC instructors value the time they are able to assist students and want to help them accomplish their goals in the classroom.
  • The Writing Center and Tutoring Services are available free of charge for your student in Missouri Hall 214.
  • The Math Center is also available free of charge to all students enrolled in 100 or 200 level math courses on a walk-in basis in Missouri Hall 209.
  • Student Success Office – our Student Success Coaches will help your student plan out their experience academically, socially, and financially. They are a great resource to enlist to help your student succeed at CC. If your student would like to request an appointment with one of our coaches, please have them visit the Division of Student Affairs on the 2nd floor of the Atkins-Holman Student Commons.

Safety on campus is a concern of mine. What systems are in place to address campus safety?

  • Campus Safety is on call 24/7/365 at (573) 875-7315. It is recommended to your student that this number be programmed into their phone in case of emergency.
  • Residence halls are only accessible by ID swipe and only those individuals who live in each particular hall have access. For additional information about residence hall policies, take a few moments to ask your student what they have learned regarding visitors and any other safety concerns.
  • Emergency call boxes with blue safety lights are available across the CC campus.
  • Campus Safety is also available to act as an escort at any time if your student feels as though it is needed.
  • CC Crisis Response Plan is in place and is routinely reviewed and updated.
  • RAVE emergency notification system is utilized at CC. Through this system your student will receive text messages, phone calls, and emails regarding any situation that may arise.

Is there a reason I am not allowed access to the grades my student is receiving?

  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) dictates the information that can be given to anyone other than the student (including you). Access to your students’ educational record is only available with the written consent of your student.
  • Another federal law that impacts your access to student information is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This law requires that the student provide written permission in order for any of their health information to be shared with you whether from the college health or counseling centers.

Please remember, this is a time of transition for your student and in most cases, your support is the most meaningful thing you can provide. We encourage you to make the best of this time for all involved, including yourself, and we look forward to you joining us at Parent & Family Day this fall!