Advice from New Student Receptions

At our New Student Receptions this summer, we shared information with parents and students about important deadlines, facts, and best practices for getting off to a great start.  Whether you came to a New Student Reception and want a refresher course, or you weren’t able to attend and want a quick hit list of things to think about – we’re offering the “Best of” our talking points below.

Urge your student to check his/her WFU email account daily. Administrators and faculty  will communicate with the student via email – not by text, or IM.

Tuition Notices/Bills – all billing is done through DEAC (Deacon Electronic Account Center).  Students should strongly consider authorizing a third party payer (such as their parents) so that person can receive emails notifying of charges.  Some students who have not authorized their parents have missed tuition deadlines and only discovered that when they were blocked from registering for courses!  Better to have a third party authorized so they get the emails too!

Tuition Insurance – Wake Forest encourages parents to consider tuition insurance, which will help minimize the financial loss if the student suffers a serious illness or accident and has to withdraw before the end of the semester.

Health Insurance – All full-time students are required to have health insurance.  Your student will automatically be enrolled in the Student Blue health insurance plan unless you have other coverage and request a waiver of the University’s plan.  Deadline for the waiver is August 29th, or your student will be enrolled automatically in Student Blue/you will be billed for the coverage.

Housing – Encourage your student to take seriously the Roommate Agreement document, which roommates are supposed to complete at the beginning of the term.  This process ensures that roommates talk about their expectations of each other and how they will live together (Is it OK to share clothes? Is it OK to eat the other person’s food? What are study hours? What time is lights out? etc.)  Then if there are disagreements later, they can return to the Roommate Agreement and either renegotiate or recommit to what they agreed to do.  Also, if there is a roommate conflict, those are typically best resolved by the students themselves; resist the urge to intervene!

FERPA (Family Educational Right to Privacy Act): Universities are prohibited from releasing information about a student (such as grades or academic standing) unless the student specifically waives his/her FERPA rights by signing a release form.  If you want to be able to receive midterm and end of semester grades, the student must sign a FERPA form and return it to the Registrar’s office.

Alcohol: there is a great online resource for talking to your student about alcohol use.  While every family will have its own expectations for student behavior where alcohol is concerned, it is important to discuss those expectations now, before school starts.  Studies show that when students talk to their parents on a Friday or Saturday, they typically drink less alcohol that evening – even if the conversation has nothing to do with alcohol!  Just having the connection to family makes a difference!

Academic Issues: If a student is struggling in a class, he/she should ask for help as soon as possible.  Procrastination helps no one!  Urge your student to seek out his professors, go to the Learning Assistance Center for individual or group tutoring, and/or visit the Office of Academic Advising.  It is much easier to tackle issues at the beginning than let them get out of hand.

Sources of Support: It may take time for your son or daughter to adjust to being away, and there may be times where they feel they are struggling a little bit.  Dealing with the ups and downs of life helps builds resilience, so a little struggle can be a good thing.  However, if students need support, they have access to a lot of terrific resources:  their RA, their personal academic adviser, University Counseling Center, campus ministers, Office of Academic Advising.  Encourage them to seek out what they need.

Office of Personal and Career Development: While graduation seems like a very long way from now, as soon as your students come to campus, they embark on the path “from college to career” – and we have a very comprehensive Office of Personal and Career Development who can equip your students with the tools they will need to discover their gifts, talents, and passions so they can direct their graduate school or job search in the most productive way possible.  Urge your students to register with the Career Development office (a subset of the OPCD) when they arrive – they are on the 2nd floor of Reynolda Hall.

Parents’ Page:  While you have been accustomed to using the New Students website this summer, it will go away after orientation.  Parents and families should bookmark the Parents’ Page, which is your portal for parent news and information.  There is a Daily Deac blog for parents, as well as a Q&A section and departmental contact list.

Any time the Parent Programs office can be of service to you, please be in touch.  You may reach us at or 336.758.4237.


Categories: campus life


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