Fourth and Fifth Year Parents & Families
Leaving with a Bruin bang.
As graduation looms, parents can expect some student anxiety about their future. Not surprisingly, you will also share this excitement and anxiety.
Expect your student to experience stress about the final steps toward graduation. Senior year is often a time of reflection on the past as a preparation point for the future. Students transition to adulthood and become citizens of the world. Some students are eager for the challenges ahead, some go kicking and screaming into the world and most approach senior year with a mixture of excitement, anticipation and dread.
Academically, senior year often poses intense demands and deadlines, and students frequently fear failure. Remain supportive and patient with your student; they’re in the home stretch!
The End of the Road | What to Expect
Graduating Bruins face a new set of challenges as they prepare to enter the “real world.”
Academic and career challenges
- Intense academic load
- Fear of failure pre- and post-graduation
- Commitment to a career and getting a job
- Bridging the gap between academic and extracurricular experiences
- Lack of motivation, also known as “senioritis”
- On the verge of separation from friends and other relationships that have defined them through the past four years
- Questions about maintenance of romantic relationships following graduation (i.e. marriage, long-distance relationships, breaking up)
Personal and other concerns
- Some students will question whether to leave the Los Angeles area or remain
- Choices about where to live and how
- Clarification of values
- Determining school loan debt and other financial responsibilities for the future
How will my relationship with my student change post-graduation?
As your Bruin takes the next step, the nature of your relationship with your student is likely to change. While each student is different, you might be aware of some of these changes:
- As your child faces new challenges or defeats, you might expect a need for more verbal reassurance. However, because your son or daughter is becoming more independent, you can anticipate occasional strong negative reactions to your suggestions. It is sometimes frustrating for parents and family members to go through the growth process with their students, not knowing how to be helpful and receiving messages that are unclear or incomplete. Students can add to the uncertainty by changing rapidly – rejecting your help one day and actively seeking it the next.
- In adjusting to the demands of college, you might expect differences in your student’s involvement at home and with family.
- As your student finds his or her own way, you may also experience your own mixture of emotions: fear, pride, frustration, abandonment, joy, etc.
Support for Graduating StudentsHow can I help?
How can UCLA be there for my graduating Bruin?
The stress of looming graduating and taking the next step is a lot to handle, especially as friends and classmates start to cement future plans and perhaps make plans to move away.
If you need guidance in supporting your Bruin in any of these areas, you can reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services, the Career Center, or our office, UCLA Parent & Family Programs. Sometimes it just takes someone to point you and your student in the right direction.
Additionally, feel free to gently remind your Bruin of the supportive community surrounding them on campus. They can meet with a counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services, speak with an academic adviser, student organization advisers, professors and teaching assistants and – of course – friends.
Moving off CampusTransitioning from on-campus resident to Westwood neighbor.
Housing for students is guaranteed for three consecutive years on-campus (for students adhering to deadlines and regulations), and therefore many students spend the last year or two at UCLA living off-campus, often in the Westwood area. With this transition, students will now learn to cook for themselves, negotiate living situations with potentially new roommates and live in a community without noise policies, formal support systems or planned events.
For assistance finding an apartment close to campus, the Community Housing Office (CHO) provides non-University owned rental listings and rental resources to the entire UCLA community. Additionally, CHO’s site provides a run-down of local neighborhoods. Generally, the closer to campus your Bruin lives, the more they will pay; Westwood is most certainly a bit pricey. Often students simply walk around to appealing apartment buildings to survey availability and rental rates, usually signing a one-year lease up to three months ahead of the planned move-in date.
Bruin Family Weekend (October)
Can fourth- and fifth-year families still attend?
Yes! Our Parent & Family Weekend, in the middle of Fall Quarter, is an opportunity for all 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 October 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.
Applying to Graduate/Professional School
The next step in your student’s academic career.
Some tips you can offer your student:
- Learn about the steps needed to apply to graduate school. Note that some professional schools, such as medical school, require specific prerequisite courses, and most require students to take an entrance exam such as the GRE, LSAT, GMAT or MCAT.
- Students should discuss graduate school options with faculty or their favorite adviser.
- Create a timeline to keep track of necessary application deadlines. The Princeton Review has a great sample schedule for students.
- Solicit letters of recommendation (ask early!). If you plan to apply in the next 2-5 years, and worry about staying in touch with a potential recommender over that time, it may be a good idea to utilize the Career Center’s Letters of Reference Services.
- Write personal statements and visit the Career Center for critiquing and revising.
- Apply to all graduate and professional schools of interest.
- Schedule a mock interview with a career counselor for graduate school interviews.
A checklist for Bruins as they the leap into the professional world:
- Make an appointment with a career counselor to reflect on and identify your purpose as it relates to a career path (visit the UCLA Career Center).
- Update your resume with college career, internships, research and other extracurricular activities (during this time, reflect on how to apply your UCLA experiences to other settings such as jobs, graduate school or volunteer opportunities).
- Research market trends and salary expectations for your industry and career of interest.
- Update your networking list and begin to use it to connect with possible job openings.
- Attend fall and spring career fairs and other Career Center events to network with and learn about potential employers or graduate schools. Also attend career events coordinated by the Student Alumni Association.
- Check with UCLA Career Center for guidance on how to conduct an effective job search. The Career Center also offers a library of job-searching resources, a diagnostic exam for finding a career path and a network of alumni connections called Handshake.
- Develop a career portfolio to use for the job search and to reflect on your UCLA experiences.
- Schedule a mock interview with a career counselor to prepare for employer interviews.
- Take advantage of the Career Center’s Letters of Reference Services to put letters on file from current professors or employers for future use.
- Apply to all interesting jobs on BruinWorks, company websites and other job search sites.
A commencement to-do list:
This list is a guide to help you and your Bruin navigate senior year. It is your student’s responsibility to integrate the list as how it fits best into their personal and academic goals. These are suggestions to help throughout your year, but should not be seen as an all encompassing list or required checklist.
Checklist for graduating Bruins:
- See an academic adviser to confirm that all graduation requirements have been met.
- Visit the UCLA Commencement page for the most updated schedule and information.
- Order the UCLA GradPak for graduating seniors to receive discounts on commencement items, limited-edition gifts and membership to the UCLA Alumni Association. (It makes a great graduation gift for your Bruin!)
- Declare candidacy for commencement via URSA (to walk in June, the deadline is in April;College Honors also requires completion of a separate candidacy form).
- Order Senior Portrait and graduation announcements from Graduation Etc. in the UCLA Store (class rings will also be sold in Ackerman Student Union, outside of the UCLA Store, by an independent company).
- Students should check on URSA for correct spelling of names to be included in commencement programs (via URSA).
- Complete the Student Loan Services exit interview to sign any final loan papers and confirm on URSA that all tuition and fees have been paid.
- Commencement tickets must be reserved by your student through MyUCLA. Bruins will be sent electronic announcements about when tickets are available to order and pick-up, and the quantities available for each ceremony. Students will more than likely be invited to participate in at least two ceremonies, depending on major and department(s).
- Caps and gowns are ordered and distributed through the UCLA Bookstore in the weeks prior to commencement, along with Latin Honors braids and other regalia.
- Make travel arrangements for those who will be visiting for commencement activities. For a list of nearby hotels, click here.
Your Bruin is a Bruin for life. Here are some tips to pass along to your student:
Before leaving UCLA
- Participate in Senior Events throughout the year sponsored by External Affairs, Alumni Relations and Student Life, as a way to understand your career goals and develop skills, and as a way to understand what it means to be an alumna/alumnus of UCLA.
- Purchase a UCLA GradPak to receive discounts on graduation items, special gifts and amembership to the UCLA Alumni Association. Membership options include annual and lifetime (lifetime membership is the best value). The GradPak makes a great graduation gift!
- Update your address and other contact information using BruinWorks.
- Start using BruinWorks to connect with alumni to discuss potential career paths.
- Check the payment suite under the “tools” tab of URSA to make sure your student account is paid in full.
- Eliminate any holds on your account, such as library fines (check URSA).
- Set Up Lifetime Email Forwarding to continue access to your UCLA email account.
- Complete the UCLA Senior Survey to inform UCLA of your plans after graduation and provide insight on your experience as a student. The survey is available after March 1 via MyUCLA.
- Make a Senior Class Gift. UCLA’s long-standing tradition of giving back begins with you.
- Check out the UCLA Alumni Association’s fantastic Tips for Seniors!
- Read the Daily Bruin to keep up with what’s happening on campus.
- Support the UCLA community as a member of the Young Alumni Chancellor’s Circle.
- Stay connected to UCLA through the UCLA Alumni Association.
- Keep your information updated on BruinWorks.
- Visit campus as often as possible.
- Attend UCLA Alumni Day!
- Stay involved with the Volunteer Center.