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Information for parents

On behalf of the Division of Student Affairs, we want to welcome you and your student to the Columbia College family! Throughout the coming semesters, you have the special role of being one of our main partners in your student's success.  

It is our goal to assist your student in making a smooth transition to college through support, advocacy and accountability. Below you will find frequently asked questions that we hope will offer a glimpse 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. Offer guidance on the simple tasks they may not realize make a difference, i.e.:

  • Setting an alarm clock (or the alarm function on their phone). If you have been waking your student up in the mornings, move toward having them wake up on their own. At CC, they will not have someone to wake them up and make sure they attend classes!
  • Basics of doing laundry. CC offers the great service of FREE laundry in the residence halls. But this does not mean someone else is doing it. Your student is responsible for the actual execution of doing the laundry. Show them how to sort clothes, read care labels and operate the machines.
  • Managing basic finances. Help your student come up with a realistic budget for both summer and their time at school. It is often cited that financial issues cause some of the biggest problems between students and parents. Getting ahead on this conversation will hopefully save you a headache or two later down the road.
  • Making decisions. Often parents guide students toward a decision to keep them from making mistakes. Realize that your student needs to learn to make decisions on their own. Most importantly, trust that the decisions your student makes are the right ones for them in that time. Given a mistake along the way, they may uncover a valuable lesson.
  • Managing time. Throughout most students’ schooling until college, someone else has provided their schedule. One difficulty students face as they transition to college is learning to manage all facets of their time. Talk with your student about scheduling time in a way that most effectively balances school, life, work and fun.
  • Making healthy choices. Healthy choices in regards to sleep, eating right and exercising can aid in academic achievement. Have your student make you a healthy dinner or snack. Encourage them to get out and enjoy the summer weather. Have them work towards a specific nighttime routine (at least during the week).

Goodbyes have been said… but now what?

  • First, relax. We understand the feeling that college has officially begun for parents comes with the moment of saying ‘goodbye.’ While your student is beginning the next phase of life, you can step into a new phase, as well. Take each day as it comes. Empower your student to develop as a whole person by 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 staff or faculty at CC to try and resolve the issue on their own first. Learning responsibility early in college will benefit them throughout their time here as well as long after graduation.
  • Along the same lines, call them, but don’t bug them! Students love to hear from friends and family (and may also call you to express feelings of homesickness). Understand that too many calls and texts can take away from the campus experience. Allow time for your student to connect with their new campus community. Research shows 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 new level of responsibility.
  • Send support, whether it’s through ‘snail mail’ or an encouraging text or call the night before a test. Your support means the world to your student. They may have a moment of doubt during their first semesters, and your encouragement may keep them going.

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

CC has a Nurse Practitioner in the Atkins-Holman Student Commons room 210. Our Wellness, Health, and Counseling office provides free medical care and/or referrals. The student can call (573) 875-7423 to schedule an appointment. 

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 the Wellness, Health, and Counseling office located on the second floor of Atkins-Holman Student Commons room 210. There, they can set up an appointment with our professional counseling staff. This service is both free AND confidential.
  • For additional information or resources that help as you talk with your student, visit the Counseling Services website.

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

Yes! Please encourage your student to check out the many resources and activities available for them.

  • Welcome Week Activities. 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). The center provides a boost physically and is open during posted hours.
  • Intramural Sports. Have your student check with Athletics or pay attention to CougarTrack announcements to see all intramural sports available.
  • Center for Student Leadership. Students can stop by the Division of Student Affairs and chat about opportunities to get involved.
  • Residential Life staff. The individuals who staff residential halls are always clued in to activities occurring on campus. All it takes is a question!
  • Foundation Instructor or First Year Mentor (FYM). First-year students are required to participate in the Columbia College Foundations course. Their Instructor and First Year Mentor can help your student find 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 visit the Student Accessibility Resources office on the second floor of Atkins-Holman Student Commons. They will work with your student to develop a plan that will hopefully help them be 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. CC instructors are happy to assist students and want to help them accomplish their goals in class.
  • The Writing Center and Tutoring Services are available free of charge for your student.
  • The Math Center is also available free of charge to students enrolled in 100 or 200 level math courses. 
  • The Student Success Office provides Student Success Coaches to help your student plan academically, socially and financially. They are a great resource to enlist to help your student succeed at CC. Your student can request an appointment through CougarTrack.

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. We recommend your student program this number into their phone in case of emergency.
  • Residence halls are only accessible by Student ID card. Only those individuals who live in each particular hall have access. For additional information about residence hall policies, ask your student what they have learned regarding visitors and safety.
  • Emergency call boxes with blue safety lights are available across the CC campus.
  • Campus Safety is also available to escort your student if 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, 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 information that can be given to anyone other than a student. 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 students provide written permission in order for their health information to be shared with you. This includes information from the Wellness, Health and Counseling Services Office. 

Please remember, this is a time of transition for your student. 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. We look forward to you joining us at Parent & Family Day this fall!


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