The transition to university life is an exciting time that involves many changes and challenges for students and parents alike. In addition to common issues such as homesickness, personal responsibility, and time management as outlined below, we also encourage parents and students to discuss their own expectations as they begin their university journey and throughout their academic career.
For students moving away from home for the first time, the newfound independence that comes with university life can be a difficult adjustment for parents and students alike. For many students, especially those who have grown up in smaller communities, living in residence is a great way to meet fellow first-year students and access the services and support that they need. Getting involved with student groups is also a great way for students to stay engaged and connect with peers.
A four-year university degree represents a significant investment in terms of time, money, and effort, and as a result there can be a lot of pressure – from parents, from professors, and from students themselves. Therefore, it is important to have realistic expectations about things like academic achievement, extra-curricular involvement, and work hours outside of school.
Students who find themselves struggling can access a myriad of services and support on campus, from tutoring and academic advising to health care and mental wellness. (One of the most popular de-stressing initiatives in recent years has been Pet Therapy, where students get to play with puppies around exam time).
As a parent, you play an important role in helping your student reach his or her goals. Maintain an open dialogue with them about your expectations as well as theirs, ensure that they are aware of the resources available to them, and be sure to celebrate their successes as well!
Students at the University of Alberta are treated as adults (even if they are under 18), and as such, they are accountable for their own educational experiences. This includes attending classes regularly, handing in assignments on time, studying for exams, and seeking advice and support as required.
We encourage you to give your student the space they need to take full responsibility for all aspects of their education. Be supportive and empower them to figure things out for themselves.
Workload and Time Management
University students are responsible for creating their own class schedules, managing their workloads, and turning in their assignments on time.
A weekly timetable typically involves 15 to 20 hours of lecture and lab time per week – plus, for every hour spent in lectures, your student can count on two to three hours of reading and assignments. As a result, a 60 to 80-hour “work week” is typical. At times this can seem overwhelming – especially in first year.
Encourage your student to build study time (and breaks) into their schedule, maintain a manageable workload, stay on top of their assignments, and access theservices
and supports that are available to them.
We’re here to help! The University of Alberta
is committed to student success. From the Office of the Dean of Students to the Student
Success Centre to the many services of the Students’ Union, there are many resources both on campus and online that undergrads can access for free to help them not only survive but thrive at university and beyond. Most faculties and departments offer specialized student support services as well. Learn more at students.ualberta.ca »
All students entering university from high school are encouraged to sign up for Orientation before the beginning of fall
term. Orientation sessions for parents
and families are also offered by the Students’ Union.
Orientation is a great opportunity for students to learn about their new school, meet fellow first-year students, find out where their classes are, and learn how they can get involved. The president’s address is also one of the can’t-miss events of the year. Learn more and sign up online at su.ualberta.ca/orientation »