First-Year Parents & Families
This is the beginning.
Your child is now a Bruin. What does that mean for your student? What does that mean for you and your family?
A significant part of the transition from high school to college involves encouragement and understanding of the family. Whether you are a parent, spouse, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling of a new UCLA student, you will play an integral role in the network and support process that promotes your student’s success as a Bruin.
The adjustments that face new UCLA students are varied and complex: living away from home, academic demands in a new learning environment, new social circles, embarking on a future career path, to name a few. Within the new environment, your student will learn to show greater personal independence and responsibility. But there is plenty of room for your support as well.
New Student Orientation (July-September)
What is Freshman Orientation? What will my student attend? What can I attend?
During New Student Orientation sessions, new Bruins experience what it is like to live at UCLA, explore campus and get to know Westwood, our local neighborhood. Your student will take any necessary placement tests, register for courses, learn about campus and community resources, meet faculty members and advisers, and, of course, make friends. This is part of your student’s acclimation to life at UCLA and their new academic environment.
UCLA hosts multiple Orientation sessions from July to September for new students and their families. Three-day sessions for incoming first-year students are geared toward preparing new students for a successful transition to our campus. The one-day Family Orientation (taking place on the third day of the first-year session) is designed to provide you with information on: the factors leading to achievement at UCLA, the role of families in promoting student achievement, graduation requirements and curriculum alternatives, student services information, how students are advised regarding courses and campus involvement, and the environment at UCLA. At the session, you will also have the opportunity to meet with undergraduate student counselors and hear about their adjustments to UCLA, tour the campus, and meet UCLA faculty and administrators. Registration for summer Orientation begins May 6 via MyUCLA.
For more information regarding Orientation, or if your student is unable to attend, contact New Student and Transition Programs.
How can I assist with my Bruin’s transition into the UCLA residence halls?
Over 95% of first-year students live on-campus in the residence halls, and most move in over the course of three days during Move-In Weekend the week before classes begin (True Bruin Welcome Week, or Week 0).
Helping your student move onto campus can be overwhelming for a number of reasons, from the logistics of packing to the emotion of moving your child to college. Here are a couple of tips to help make the transition as smooth as possible:
- Allow your student to take the lead on navigating the move. You will not be there to take his or her exams or handle roommate conflicts; the sooner your student takes responsibility, the better.
- Review the residence hall rules and move-in checklist with your student. This will help your student become familiar with the policies that will guide his or her on-campus experience and facilitate a discussion of your expectations.
- Model appropriate and open-minded behavior toward your student’s roommate(s). Remember that your student must live with this person for a year, and learning how to work with people who are different is a healthy experience.
- Understand that your student’s emotions may be slightly erratic. This is a natural and common response to the transition into college.
- Let go and say goodbye! This is the start of an exciting journey for your entire family!
While your students move in, make sure to stop by and visit the “Parent & Family Booths” located throughout the residence hall communities. Give your Bruin a moment to meet their roommates by coming to our booth. Discover opportunities for involvement, meet current parents and get connected!
For more parent-specific information about your student’s move into the UCLA residence halls,click here.
Bruin Family Weekend (October)
What is Bruin Family Weekend? Is attendance mandatory?
Our Parent & Family Weekend, in the middle of fall quarter, is an opportunity for families to see students in their new community, learn more about the University’s curriculum and traditions, attend lectures and workshops and ask questions about programs and services. You can meet the Chancellor, the deans, academic advisers and other faculty and staff that work with our undergraduates in their educational endeavors. You will discover more about your student’s life at the University as you participate in various receptions, open houses and information sessions.
While attendance is not mandatory, we hope that you will visit us in November to take a look inside UCLA, its beautiful buildings and scenic campus, as well as the academic life, resources, research, and opportunities that shape your student’s college experience. Visit Bruin Family Weekend online to learn more.
It’s never too early to begin planning for life after college.
First-year students may not yet be thinking about life after college; after all, they’ve just begun!
At the same time, some first-years may already have an idea of what they would like to do after graduation. The UCLA Career Center offers resources and programs for all Bruins. Your first-year should feel comfortable visiting the Career Center at any time during the course of the year, whether it is to begin crafting his or her resume, search for internships, or to meet with a counselor to discuss interests and explore various career paths.
There are many offices on campus ready to assist your student and their pre-professional planning: The UCLA Career Center, College Counseling, Departmental Counseling, and Academics in the Commons (Pre-Health Peer Counseling and Workshops).
During the first year of college, your student will have a myriad of experiences. It is a year full of discovery, success, inspiration, good times and new friends. However, your student may also experience indecision, ethical and moral dilemmas, disappointments and missteps. It will take time for some students to adjust to the roller coaster of experiences that include being happy, sad, confused, liked, disappointed and that making mistakes is a huge part of becoming an adult.
This is a time when parents need to be understanding and patient as they work with their new college students in providing support and encouragement when it is needed most. If you or your student is having an unusually difficult time in his or her transition, please call our office, Parent & Family Programs, at (310) 794-6737 and we will connect you with the appropriate campus resources to help with the transition.
Experienced Bruins recommend that new students stay on campus and resist going home until the Thanksgiving holiday or the end of the first quarter. As a parent, you can foster your student’s success in college by actively encouraging him or her to stay on campus as much as possible and get involved. The novelty of college generally wears off in the few months after move-in and it is not uncommon for students to become homesick; however, it is in their best interest to learn to adapt and adjust to their new surroundings.
Once your student does come home, especially for an extended period time such as the holiday season, make sure to acknowledge that your student is not the same person who left the nest just three months prior.
Expect Some Changes
The departure is a significant milestone in the life of a family and ushers in a time of separation and transition, requiring an adjustment on the part of parents, the college-bound teenager and the whole family. Moving on to college represents a significant step towards adulthood. Whether the student lives at home or goes away to attend college, the move represents an emotional separation for both parents and child.
For most, the end of high school marks the symbolic end of childhood. Many parents talk enthusiastically about the changes while most experience a sense of loss. The challenges for parents are often filling a void, feeling left out and relinquishing control. Saying goodbye to your son or daughter will be an emotional experience for both you and your student. Many parents wonder how their relationships will grow and change over the coming months and years.
It helps to know what most families can expect. Parents can expect their student to want or need their support, but also expect an occasional irritable reaction to what may be perceived as “parental intrusion.” You may get emotional phone calls, letters or emails. Often when troubles become too much for a first-year to handle, the only place to turn, write or call is home. Unfortunately, this may be the only time there is a strong urge to communicate, so you never get to hear about the A paper, the new relationship, or the domestic triumph. Be patient, listen and try not too worry too much about these exchanges. College, and the experiences associated with it, can cause changes in the social, vocational, and personal behavior of the student. Your son or daughter may change in some ways, but remember that he or she will basically still be the same person you brought to campus on Move-In Day.
Easing the Transition
Each student will transition to UCLA in a different way, but there are a number of things that parents can do to help their students as they adjust to their new life on campus:
- Stay in touch with your student (even if he or she does not write or email you back). Support from home is important, especially during the first few months of your student’s transition to college. Students find calls, packages and email critical in helping them stay in touch with family and friends. Your openness with your son or daughter about the ups and downs of college life will help him or her adjust to the university environment.
- Listen to your student. Empower him or her to take the initiative and solve his or her own problems. Avoid too much advice, too much supervision, solving the student’s problems or second-guessing your student. Encourage your student to get involved on campus — it will help the student remember that he or she is not alone.
- Trust your student to take responsibility for his or her actions. Making choices and living with the consequences – good or bad – can be empowering.
- Discourage an early visit back home.Frequent visits home actually increase the feelings of homesickness once the student returns to campus.
- Visit your student on campus during Parents’ Weekend. They will enjoy visiting with you and showing you around the university community.
- Prepare for your student’s return. When the school year ends and your student returns home, take time to talk about how this will work. Parents need to respect the individuality their children have worked so hard to achieve, and students need to know there are rules and courtesies to be observed.
Many of our parents and families have found the following list of books helpful in transitioning to college:
- I’ll Miss You Too: An Off-to-College Guide for Parents and Students by Margo E. Woodacre Bane and Steffany Bane
- Letting Go: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the College Years (Third Edition) by
Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger
- You’re On Your Own: (But I’m Here if You Need Me) by Marjorie Savage
- When Your Kid Goes to College: A Parent’s Survival Guide by Carol Barkin