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Spring Semester

JANUARY

What’s happening with your student:

  • Students may be taking advantage of Winter classes or Alternative Break programs.
  • Students return to campus at the end of the month. Many will feel homesick as they return to campus; others will feel relieved to be back to their independent lifestyle.
  • There will be uncertainties in the new semester, as students begin new classes and meet new professors.

What parents can do:

  • Remind her to keep up with her coursework. Many students find that falling behind early in the term is a major cause of stress and failures later on in the term. Help her with time management tips so that academics and social activities are balanced; as well as time for herself.

January Helpful Hint
At the University of Maryland, learning takes place outside of the classroom, too. Encourage your student to attend educational and cultural events around campus, including guest speakers, musical and theater performances, museums, poetry slams, etc. We also have dedicated spaces for interfaith and multicultural dialogue and activities, including the Memorial Chapel, the Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy office and more.

FEBRUARY

What’s happening with your student:

  • Students will start taking midterms, and some papers or projects may be due.
  • Students living on-campus will be notified about requesting on-campus housing for next year and may face pressures of choosing a roommate and residence hall for the upcoming year.
  • Many students neglect their health and exercise plans.
  • Student organizations demand a lot of time from students. As a result, students who have trouble with their time management skills may feel overcommitted and overwhelmed.
  • Some students have relationship anxiety, especially around Valentine’s Day.
  • Students make plans for Spring Break. This may lead to financial concerns for some. Others may be jealous of their friends who are going to places warm and exotic. This may also lead to disagreements with family over different expectations for how and where this vacation will be spent.
  • Financial aid paperwork for next year is due. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed by February 15.

What parents can do:

  • Support him as he tries to balance academics and extracurricular activities. Encourage him to seek assistance from UMD resources, including the faculty. Advise him to go to office hours and to get to know the faculty.
  • Send care packages. Valentine’s Day is an excellent time for you to let her know that you’re thinking about her.
  • Listen and support his relationship or roommate concerns. Refer him to his Resident Assistant if roommate conflicts cannot be resolved and to the Counseling Center if relationship concerns are severe and interfere with his academics.
  • Discuss her plans and expectations for Spring Break. Talk to her about who’s paying for the vacation, whether or not it will be spent with family or friends, and about making responsible choices regarding her behavior.
  • Be sure to work with your student to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by February 15 (the University of Maryland deadline).

February Helpful Hint
Care packages are a favorite way to show students how much you love them. Possible contents can include: food (homemade cookies or family specialties are especially nice), money, socks/slippers, pictures from home (don’t forget to include the family pet!), stamps, newspaper clippings from home, gift certificates for Ann Arbor restaurants or stores, microwave popcorn, candy/ chocolate/gum, letters from the family, vitamins, cold/flu medications, coupons, winter clothing, and toiletries.

MARCH

What’s happening with your student:

  • They’ll be stressed as they take more midterms and have more papers or projects due.
  • Returning Student Housing Agreement forms are due before the end of the month. Students planning to live on-campus should be finalizing their housing plans for the following year. This may be a relief for some.
  • Students feel pressure to declare a major or make plans for applying to one of the Limited Enrollment Programs (Business, Engineering, Architecture, Criminology and Criminal Justice, etc.).
  • Students begin to think about summer plans including jobs or internships. Students may also be concerned about how they will fit into the family and the family’s expectations if they return home to live with their parents for the entire summer.

What parents can do:

  • Keep the lines of communication open. As she begins to prepare for her summer plans and for the upcoming Fall Term, she may seek your guidance and advice, or she may want to make her decisions without your help. Recognize that either way, these decisions are part of growing up, and trust that in the end, she will make decisions that are best for her. You can encourage her to see academic advisor before registering for courses.
  • Refer him to the University Career Center for information about summer jobs and internships.

March Helpful Hint
If you live close enough, March is a good time for a short visit to campus. Be sure to talk to your student ahead of time to make sure it’s a good time for him. Students appreciate being taken out to dinner and going shopping when their parents visit!

APRIL

What’s happening with your student:

  • Registration for Fall Semester begins and students should meet with an academic advisor befor registering for classes.
  • Spring Fever hits students as the weather warms up and they will want to go bike riding, walking or relax on the Mall. Concentrating on academics becomes harder than ever.
  • Students stress levels are high as the semester is winding down and papers and projects are due and final exams are looming.
  • Students are thinking about moving out of their residence halls and leaving their college friends for the summer.

What parents can do:

  • Be supportive through this stressful time and consider sending care packages to boost his spirits.
  • Remind him to take good personal care of himself by eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise and enough sleep.
  • Start talking with him about end-of-semester plans. Advise him to check the Resident Life website for updated information about the move-out process in the residence halls.

April Helpful Hint
Join us at our annual Maryland Day event! This is another great opportunity to interact directly with the campus community and learn more about the many departments and offices at Maryland. Also, take the opportunity to visit the Maryland Parents Association tent on McKeldin Mall.

MAY

What’s happening with your student

  • Some students will return home for the summer and others may choose to stay on campus to work and/or take summer courses.
  • Students may have lined up summer employment at home and will begin their summer jobs; others may still need/want to find work.
  • Some students may have signed up to take summer classes at a college close to home. In this case, they may need to transfer these credits to Maryland and should seek departmental approval at UMD before taking classes at another college/university to ensure the credits will be accepted here.
  • Students who return home may need to adjust to living with parents and siblings at home again. Students may be anxious about a loss of independence.

What parents can do:

  • Discuss expectations for her roles and responsibilities during the summer if she is living at home. Students may feel that a summer job and social commitments with their high school friends take priority over household chores.  This is the time to renegotiate responsibilities with her, adult to adult.  
  • Use this summer to communicate openly with her; be sure to talk about your expectations for her behavior.  Is she expected to be home at a certain time? Is she expected for family meals?  Be willing to discuss and compromise before problems occur.
  • Respect and appreciate the self-reliant and independent person who has returned home and who may be more mature and very different from the freshman you dropped off in College Park last fall.    

May Helpful Hint
Congratulations! You’ve made it through the freshman year. You should relax and enjoy this moment. Your student will continue to grow and change over the course of the next few years, and your relationship with your student will also continue to change. However, the first year is a big transition for you both, and you should feel proud if you have both managed to successfully navigate hurdles of the freshman year.

Information on this page was adapted from the University of Michigan Parents website.