Moving your student (back) to college can sometimes seem as overwhelming as it is exciting. In this article, current UCLA parents to provide their tips and things to consider, because after all, who better to provide you with tips for supporting your UCLA student then other current parents!  For more information on programs, departments or resources click the hyperlinks.

Coming from out-of-state, what to consider when packing…

We are out-of-state parents from Salt Lake City.  As we prepared for our son (“Cubby”) to attend UCLA, we were uncertain of what he would need as far as clothing and personal items.  We traveled by airplane to LAX and packed four large check-in bags.  As it turned out, we took too many items.  Students at UCLA, especially boys, do not needs a lot of clothes.  Cubby ended up wearing mostly tee-shirts and shorts, and only needed one set on dress clothes.  Winter attire is not necessary, only a light jacket.  Also, there is a Target within walking distance of campus, as well as other stores.  So, all of the sundries (sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, shampoo, soap, etc.) can be easily purchased.  On the first trip we made to visit Cubby, he sent home with us some of the items we initially packed.  So, our advice is pack light, and acquire any need items upon arrival.  UCLA has exceeded our expectations for Cubby, and we are thrilled with the education and social opportunities UCLA has afforded him.  Cubby loves being a Bruin, and we are exceptionally proud of him as a UCLA student.

~Clark and Colleen Taylor, Parents ’14, ’17

Considerations for visiting campus travel plans around breaks…

Come to Parents’ Weekend and signup for lectures of interest, they are all great and make sure you make hotel reservations early. If your student is planning on coming home over the break, make Thanksgiving airline reservations as early as possible.

~Trish Caruso, Parent ’15, ’15 (Twins!)

When your student should begin thinking about housing plans for next year…

One of the things I wish I knew as a new UCLA parent was how early in the school year my student would be asked for their housing plans for the next school year. For those students wishing to continue to live in the dorms and/or university apartments, by the end of January they will be asked to identify their roommates for the following year.  The selection of the actual room takes place a few months later.  Those students planning to move to off campus apartments often start looking and give a deposit for that apartment in February.  Most students living in an off campus apartment will be signing a year lease (12 months) compared to the school year lease of the dorms.

~Colleen Salzetti, ’77; Parent ’12, ’15

UCLA is large in size but offers your student unparalleled support…

Relax. UCLA has got your kid’s back. It’s not a giant, impersonal university that doesn’t care if your kid sinks or swims. UCLA offers services and support — academic and psychological counseling, health care, housing services, career advice, and so on — to help your kid thrive in the intense academic and social environment. That’s not to say there won’t be challenges in the coming year, but the university provides resources to overcome them. Plus, the Office of Parent & Family Programs offers support you might need to get through the year along with your kid.

~Charlene Anderson, ’73, M.A. ’75; Parent ’15

Your student may not always get the class they want, but they will get the classes they need…

Tell your student to not get discouraged if they can’t get into one of the classes they want on the first pass. There are likely other sessions of the same class that may be earlier in the day than you wanted or on a day that you were planning to have an easy schedule or may have more availability in the next quarter. And just because a class is full during registration does not mean you might not get in. Be persistent! Advocate for yourself and seek out departmental resources to help!

                ~Bill Romans, Parent ’14, ‘18

Encourage your student to utilize campus resources…

As a Parent Council member, I had the opportunity to hear firsthand from the highly resourceful Directors of both Career Center and Alumni Center at UCLA. It was very enlightening to hear of their collaboration in working with students to help with career search information, needs and entire process.

I highly recommend to parents to encourage your students to reach out to these wonderful resources early on in their freshman and sophomore years. The sooner they connect, the easier the process of internship search and future recruitment process will be.

~Azita Ansari, Parent ‘16

It’s never too early to make use of the Career Center…

Encourage your student to get involved early with the UCLA Career Center. It is never too early to start exploring the connection between your major, internships and career possibilities. UCLA has one of the top Career Centers in the country so it would be a shame to not take advantage of this great resource! Many of the workshops, seminar and appointments book early, but be persistent and schedule online at the first opportunity.

~Bill Romans, Parent ’14, ‘18

Encouraging your student to find a mentor…

One of the things that we learned about in the girl’s junior year is The UCLA Alumni Mentor Program.  Our daughters completed an interest form and were matched to UCLA alumni from Northern California during their junior year.  The program proved to be very helpful to each daughter in their resume writing and related career discussions.  If we knew earlier, they would have also participated in their freshman and sophomore years.

~Trish Caruso Parent ’15, ’15

When you have a question but are not sure who to ask…

I have heard parents say on occasion that they have had a hard time getting information on many different topics having to do with UCLA….when I hear this I respond quickly by saying did you call or contact the department of UCLA Parent & Family Programs because they are there to answer those questions and if they can’t answer immediately they get you the answer or direct you to where you can get the answer.  I found that many times I end up knowing more about a topic at UCLA than my son does”

~Joe Guttadauro, Parent ‘15

How families can stay connected to campus, even from overseas…

Like any other parent sending off their first child to college, particularly one as prestigious as UCLA and thousands of miles overseas, I was concerned about my son’s transition.  However, thanks to the Parents’ Council, which kept me closely connected to the University and introduced me to a wonderful and dedicated group of parents, my concerns quickly disappeared and my passion as a member of the Bruin Nation got stronger by the day. The icing on the cake was my wife’s trip to UCLA for Parents’ Weekend, which, despite her initial reluctance to go, wound up being the best mother-son experience in her life.

                ~Paul Cho, Parent ‘16