Parents & family

Parents helping their student move into a UVic on-campus residence

Choosing a university is a significant decision for anyone and we are so excited that your student is joining the University of Victoria.

UVic is committed to student success and we know that the first year of university is an incredible period of growth and opportunity for most students. Our goal during this important transition is to ensure that both you and your student are fully aware of the support programs and services we have available, both in and out of the classroom.

We look forward to welcoming your student to campus in September, seeing them engage with our community and sharing in their many successes over the years to come.


Supporting your student

As a parent, you play an important role in your student’s success at university. While it's important to give them independence, your student may need your support from time to time. Here are some tips on how to support your student during their transition to university life.

Fall Term

September

The transition to life as a university student is a significant one. Students adjust to a new physical environment, social setting and academic expectations. For many, the start of university also marks their first time away from home. UVic Orientation offers programming to ease this adjustment and ensure a successful transition to university life.

What can you do?

The first few weeks of the term are busy and students are out learning about campus and making friends, so don’t be alarmed if your student doesn’t reach out to you immediately. 

When you do talk to your student, encourage them to attend their class lectures, along with sporting activities or other events on campus. If your student lives in residence, encourage them to interact with their Community Leader. For a student who’s missing the familiarity of home, send a reminder – a small care package with treats and a reassuring note can go a long way toward easing the transition to their new life.

October

As the academic term picks up, it’s important for students to access the supports they need. Students who experience barriers to completing their academic work may require accommodations to ensure they achieve their potential. The Centre for Academic Learning (CAL) provides services including note-taking, tutoring and learning-strategist programs. To access accommodation for the fall term, students must register with CAL prior to October 31.

What can you do?

First-year students may resist your curiosity about their university life, but most will appreciate the security of knowing that you are interested in their well-being. Ask questions and follow up. Many students feel the need to handle it on their own. While you want to give them space, a little open-mindedness and curiosity can encourage healthy communication.

November

Students may be experiencing their busiest time yet with mid-terms, papers and readings. Staying on top of schoolwork is critical during this time so that students don’t fall behind in their classes. A large part of keeping up requires students to recognize when they’re struggling and seek help immediately.

What can you do?

Help your student become empowered by asking questions, referring to campus resources, such as the Learning Commons, and letting them find solutions. Although your student still needs your support, the experience of taking the lead to solve the problem will help them grow.

December

Exams are on the horizon and your student is about to end their first term at UVic. With lots to do in a short time frame, it’s common for students to allow certain aspects of their well-being to slide. Although it can sometimes be a steep learning curve, it’s important for students to find a balance between their physical and mental well-being and academic demands.

What can you do?

Check in with your student as the term comes to an end. Remind them that making time for exercise and taking time to recharge is as important as study time. Let them know that your care extends beyond their exam scores: how they do on their exams does not define them as a person.

Spring Term

January

Students who are involved with campus activities outside of classes have a more balanced and meaningful university experience. At UVic, there are many opportunities for students to get involved. With intramurals, volunteer opportunities, 200 clubs and 40 course unions, they’re sure to find an extracurricular activity that’s right for them. If they didn’t get involved in the first term, January is a great time to check out extracurricular offerings.

What can you do?

Celebrate the accomplishments of your student’s first semester. This may help your student stay focused on the bigger goals when they get frustrated. While celebrating their accomplishments, help your student reflect on their performance: Are these the grades they wanted? How can they set new goals and strategies to succeed?

February

Mental health can be a challenge for many students. Academic demands, social pressures and new surroundings can place a strain on mental well-being. Some students may be away from home for the first time or facing the additional pressure of adjusting to a new culture. It’s normal for students to experience anxiety during their transition to university, but it’s important for students to recognize when they’re struggling and to take advantage of UVic’s support services to help them get back on track.

What can you do?

Often when a first-year student becomes overwhelmed with troubles (a failed test, ended relationship and shrunken laundry all in the same day) the only place to turn or call is home. Your student may unload troubles or tears and after the conversation, return to their routine, relieved and enlightened while you inherit the worry. Be patient with this type of phone call. Being a good listener is the most supportive role you can play.

March

Students are encouraged to consult an academic adviser when selecting their second-year courses. Your student has access to faculty-specific and department-specific academic advisers who can help them plan their courses. The Academic Advising Centre for Humanities, Science and Social Sciences offers several appointment options for students within their faculties. Students in other faculties are encouraged to consult with their faculty-specific adviser when planning their second-year programs

What can you do?

Encourage your student to use the resources available to them on campus. There is help available, but they need to seek out that assistance. Your student’s success is our first priority; we are here to help.

April

The end of the school year is a good time for reflection. Was your student happy with their first year? Will they make adjustments for next year? Will they continue on their academic path or explore other options?

With the summer months quickly approaching, your student may be shifting gears from academics to job hunting. Some students take summer jobs to earn much-needed cash. However, summer work and volunteering can also help students think about their major or career path. Most academic disciplines offer co-operative education (co-op) programs, which allow students to alternate academic semesters with paid work terms in positions related to their field of study. Co-op gives students the opportunity to gain relevant work experience, make money and grow their network of contacts and references.

What can you do?

Prepare your student for their return home. If this is their first time home in a while, you’ll probably notice some changes. These are natural, and they can be inspiring. Attending university is meant to bring about changes in your student’s vocational, social and personal outlook. An open mind and an understanding attitude can help you and your student adjust and adapt to the new adult they are becoming.

Talk to your student about the experiences they’ll gain from working. Encourage them to consider positions that challenge them and build skills relevant to their field of study.


Additional resources

There's a lot for you and your student to figure out between now and September. Here are some resources to help you plan ahead.