Information for parents

Message from the Associate Vice-President, Students

Hello parents, guardians, and family members, 

On behalf of my colleagues, it is my pleasure to welcome you and your student to UBC. We are delighted your student has chosen to join our Okanagan campus community and our institution, recently recognized as North America’s most international university and consistently ranked among the top 20 universities in the world.  

As we look ahead to September, we appreciate that you will have many questions about UBC’s approach to the resumption of in-person learning on campus. I assure you that the health and wellbeing of our UBC community remain our first priority, and encourage you to review the information that continues to be published on our FAQ pages at covid19.ubc.ca and ok.ubc.ca/covid19 for the most up-to-date information available.  

The transition to university life is an exciting milestone for you and your student, but it can also be challenging. We recognize many of our incoming students will have faced extremely difficult circumstances over the past year, and staff and faculty are working hard to ensure students are well supported through this next big change. 

If you’re wondering what you can do to help support your student, I’d like to offer these 10 tips from my own research and experience: 

Dale Mullings
Associate-Vice President Students

1) Encourage new connections 

Research shows that students who feel a strong sense of connection within their university are more likely to complete their degree. University is a great opportunity to meet friends with similar interests, both academic and extracurricular, to help form the connections that will help them succeed. 

2) Suggest participation in a faculty course union or a student club 

Clubs and course unions are a great place to make social connections and have fun outside of class. 

3) Encourage early conversations with academic and career advisors 

These conversations will help your student ensure the right fit with their academic program, and can guide them toward establishing clear career goals and their personal plan for success. 

4) Promote active time on task 

Time management is one of the most important skills to learn when starting out at university. Motivate your student to use a time management tool to track their tasks – for example, a desk calendar, smartphone app, or wipe-and-erase whiteboard – so that they can plan for what’s ahead and what’s important. They’ll want to include time for study, sleep, healthy eating, a modest amount of employment, and (just as importantly), remember to include some time for fun as well. 

5) Support exploration 

Be supportive of your student exploring new and different interests, activities, and events. This is a great time for students to get out of their comfort zone and find opportunities to try something new. 

6) Provide space to learn from challenges 

Part of the university experience is learning how to be independent and self-advocate when needed, so don’t step in and fix your student’s problems too quickly. 

7) Encourage them to seek help if they need to 

UBCO has a number of helpful on-campus and community resources to support your student with anything from math tutoring to financial support to relationship counselling. 

8) Promote class attendance and participation 

It may seem obvious, but remind your student of the importance of their own effort in learning. Like a health club, ‘membership’ alone doesn’t make someone healthier – it takes effort. Here at UBC, that includes preparing for and participation in classes, tutorials and labs; seeking help during instructors’ office hours; and attending academic skills workshops. 

9) Encourage exploring opportunities beyond their first year 

There are several high impact practices (HIPs) that have been shown to impact student success: service-learning, learning communitiesresearch with faculty, internships/field experiences, study abroad, culminating senior experience, leading a club/group, etc. Help your student plan early to participate in two or more HIPs, even if they may not be eligible until a future year. 

10) Support your student to enjoy the experience 

This experience is certain to be one of the most memorable of your student’s life. There will be times when your student feels stressed, disappointed, or homesick – and there will also be times of joy, discovery, and achievement. You can help your student weather the hard times and celebrate their wins. 

 

I would also encourage you to download our Monthly Tips for Parents (PDF).

We are excited to welcome your student and support them as they learn new skills, discover new strengths, and build friendships that will last a lifetime. 

Your student’s privacy

As a new UBC Okanagan parent, you may be used to receiving regular updates on your son or daughter’s school life through teacher conferences or high school report cards. The University may present a change for you in this respect, as UBC Okanagan has a legal obligation to keep students’ personal information confidential, including (but not limited to) grades, academic record, health issues, and disciplinary matters.

UBC Okanagan is unable to share students’ records or experiences with anyone, including parents or guardians. If you need to check in, your son or daughter is your best source of information. If you would like more information about the legislation governing our responsibilities, please visit the Office of the University Counsel.

Your student may consent to release select information to a third party, i.e. a parent, by adding a third-party authorization in their Student Service Centre. Learn more about the various types of third-party authorizations.

Because information and records relating to medical information is especially sensitive, separate authorization is required to access this information. If you wish to know about your student’s health, please speak directly with your student. Health information obtained by the student health services, including Counselling and Disability Resource Centre, is held in confidence with the student and will not be released unless there is signed authorization from the student to do so.

Supporting your student’s remote learning

UBC learning supports to help students transition from in-person classes and exams to online.

Advisors to your student’s academic success

UBC Okanagan has several groups of specialized advisors available for your student.

Learning resources available to your student

Your student has access to a robust network of academic support services.

Supporting your student’s health and wellness

UBC resources and services to support your student’s health and wellbeing.

Your student’s safety

Safety is a priority for all students, staff, faculty, and visitors at UBC.

Supporting your student’s finances

Planning their finances can help your student be proactive, take control, and reduce stress.

Supporting your student in a new and diverse cultural environment

Welcome to an inclusive learning environment that respects and celebrates cultural diversity.

Residence life and commuter services

Support for your student whether they are living on campus, at home, or independently in the Okanagan.

Helping your student find community and stay connected from home

Connecting with campus and other students are important to your student’s success.

Considerations for the coming years

Explore opportunities available to your student as they progress through their degree.

Additional resources

More ideas, insights, readings, and resources for supporting your student.