Parents and Families

The University of Alberta is a diverse and welcoming community of students, professors, and staff – a thriving city-within-a-city that still retains a small-campus feel.

From peer groups and support services to our network of alumni around the world, our biggest strength is our people, and student success is everyone’s goal. The most important thing you can do for your student as they prepare to enter university is to encourage their curiosity and empower them to make informed decisions on their own. In doing so, you’ll set them up for success, both academically and beyond.

Value of a Degree

Invest in Their Future

A university degree should be looked at as an investment, not an expense, as it will more than pay for itself over time. For roughly the price of a new mid-sized car, a four-year bachelor's degree can give graduates hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of increased earning potential over the course of their career. But the value of a degree cannot be reduced to dollars and cents; it also gives the student the in-demand skills, knowledge, and experience that will set them up for success for a lifetime.

Why University?

Learn more about the value of a degree »

Why UAlberta?

Learn more about why we are one of the Top 5 post-secondary institutions in Canada »

Program Options

The University of Alberta is proud to offer a wide range of undergraduate program options, from Music Theory to Mechanical Engineering, and virtually everything in between. Our diverse program options, combined with our world-class professors, learning facilities, and student resources, make us one of the Top 5 post-secondary institutions in Canada.

How to Choose?

With so many program options to choose from and so many opportunities to pursue, making decisions even about first year can seem daunting. Common questions include:

  • Which topics do I want to study?
  • What programs do I want to take?
  • Which faculty should I enter?
  • What can I do with that degree?

Fortunately, our expert staff are here to help! We can put you in touch with faculty and program advisors, and we also offer admissions advising at our many recruitment events throughout the year. Still can't find the answer you're looking for? Don't hesitate to contact Student Connect!

Please note: students are allowed to choose two programs on their application form, so they should be thinking about both their top choice and their second choice while researching program options.

How You Can Help

Encourage your student to explore their options and keep an open mind! Many programs begin with a general first year of studies, giving students time to discover their aptitudes and interests. It’s also quite normal for students to change majors, programs, even entire degrees, during their first few years as an undergraduate. A university education is meant to foster this kind of intellectual curiosity – a change of direction or a fresh start is not a failure on the part of the student or the institution, it’s the system working!

Work Experience

Some programs, such as those in Engineering, Nursing, and Education, include co-ops and work placement terms that are directly relevant to those careers. Other work-experience opportunities, such as the Community Service-Learning program and the Undergraduate Research Initiative, are more self-directed and give students invaluable experience while still undergraduates.

Learn More

Programs and requirements: Our Programs and Requirements search tool allows you to browse our list of over 200 undergraduate programs and to check the admission requirements and deadlines for each. You can also use this tool to compare programs, select favourites, and save selections for later.

How to Apply: Visit our How to Apply page for a step-by-step guide to the application process.

Housing and Safety

Living in Residence

Our first-year housing options are mainly the traditional dormitory style; single or double rooms are available, as are a range of meal plans. Costs will vary depending on what options you choose. All our on-campus residences have live-in UAlberta staff members who are dedicated to developing social, academic, and educational programs for residents, as well as to ensuring their safety and maintaining community standards.

Students must apply for general admission to the University of Alberta before applying for residence, as a UAlberta Campus Computing ID (CCID) will be required. We strongly encourage students to apply for residence in the fall of their grade 12 year.

Learn more and apply for residence online »

Safety on Campus

The University of Alberta takes student safety, as well as physical and mental well-being, extremely seriously. University of Alberta Protective Services (UAPS) patrol our campuses 24 hours a day, and first responders such as fire, police, and ambulance service our community as well. However, emergency situations are rare, and all university staff work hard to foster a safe and supportive learning environment year round.

Emergency Notifications: Our Emergency Notification System is a robust and comprehensive service that can quickly alert students and staff of emergency situations no matter where they are, via several media, including email, text, and phone.

Residence Safety: Residence Services also employs a wide variety of security measures in conjunction with UAPS, including:

  • ID checkpoints
  • Door buzzers and proximity access cards
  • Security cameras
  • Single-button emergency contact through any campus payphone
  • 24 hour on-call Residence Services staff

Safewalk: Safewalk provides students with a free and safe alternative to walking alone at night. Male and female chaperones will escort students anywhere around the university community and within 5 blocks of any LRT station. 

Transition to University - What to Expect

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!

Personal Responsibility

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.

Student Success

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 »


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 »

Dates and Deadlines

Please familiarize yourself with these important dates and deadlines in the admission process, as well as the application steps, and encourage your student to do the same.

Here are some other proactive steps you can encourage your student to take, beginning as early as grade 10, to ensure that they are on the right track to meet the admission requirements:

  • Research program and career options
  • Talk to their high school counsellor
  • Make sure they are taking the right courses for the program(s) they want to take
  • Find the admission average that they will likely need for admission to their program of choice
  • Book a campus visit!

Fall 2013

Winter 2014

  • Explore residence options and apply for residence by April 30, 2014 for guaranteed housing.
  • Pay tuition deposit (learn more in Step 9 of the application steps).
  • Register in classes: Students who have received Early Admission can begin to register in courses as early as April. Students can log in to Bear Tracks to build their course schedule on their own, or sign up for a Reg101 Workshop if they require more assistance.
  • Sign up for Transition to University (T2U), an online workshop designed for prospective first-year students to familiarize themselves with university life before they arrive.

Spring & Summer 2014

  • May 1, 2014 is the deadline to apply for all undergraduate programs that offer direct entry from high school.
  • Log in to Bear Tracks: Students can monitor their application status by logging in to Bear Tracks using their UAlberta Campus Computing ID (CCID) and password.
  • Submit transcripts: August 1, 2014 is the deadline for transcripts to be received by the University. Visit Outstanding Items for more information.
  • Check fee assessment: Students can check their fee assessments for the upcoming Fall/Winter term on Bear Tracks in late July. This fee assessment will be available only once students have been admitted and registered in courses.
  • Pay Tuition Fees: For more information on tuition and fees, including payment options, please visit Money Matters.

Communications policy

Nearly all official communication between the student and the University of Alberta will occur using the applicant’s newly created @UAlberta email address. Other than acceptance letters, very little information will be sent via regular mail. 

It is important that students monitor both their UAlberta email account and Bear Tracks (our online student service system) on a regular basis. 

On Bear Tracks, students can check their application status, register in courses, and more. The University holds students responsible for ensuring that messages sent to those accounts are reviewed and acted on promptly.

FOIP and Parents

Alberta’s FOIP Act governs public bodies to ensure accountability and openness to personal information collected. The Act protects the privacy of individuals, regulating the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. 

The University of Alberta Information and Privacy Office has established guidelines for the implementation of this act. Some sections of the FOIP Act affect access of information for parents of students. 

While we recognize that parents and families may have the best of intentions when seeking information on behalf of their student, we cannot legally release information regarding a student’s application, file, or academic standing to anyone other than the student, without the student’s prior written consent. This applies whether or not the student is a minor. 

Contact Us

Get quick answers to your questions, 24 hours a day! Simply visit Ask Student Connect, type in your question, and click “Ask.” You can also check out related questions and view the Top 10 Questions that other users have asked Student Connect. If you are unable to find the answer you are looking for, contact information for Student Connect is provided.