Student Success During First Semester
Fall has officially come to Madison, and the campus has been transformed by our beautiful trees and brisk days.
This time of year brings a lot of changes for your student, whether he or she is a first-year or a senior. Students have now been on campus for several months, and they have used this time to get settled into their classes, learn the expectations of their professors, make new friends, and consider how they want to spend their time outside of class.
Every year, it’s my goal to ensure that our students are both safe and successful. In September, you received a message with safety tips and information that we’ve shared with students. Today, I wanted to touch on several important resources that can help your student make the most of the rest of the fall semester. I encourage you to continue to connect with your student around academics and involvement. I strongly believe that parental involvement matters!
By now, your student has seen just how many opportunities are available to them on campus—from volunteering in the community to creative endeavors and involvement with student organizations, students have significant opportunities to integrate in-class and out-of-class learning experiences through active, creative, and entrepreneurial engagement in real-world problems. We want our students to take advantage of these to create a unique and engaged Wisconsin Experience. Ask your student about what keeps him or her busy outside the classroom, and encourage your student to get involved.
The university also offers a variety of academic support for students across campus, including:
- Greater University Tutoring Service (GUTS) is a volunteer, peer-tutoring service that offers free assistance in a variety of subjects.
- The Writing Center offers individual online and on-site help with writing, in addition to workshops.
- Cross-College Advising Service offers academic and career advising to students at all stages of their undergraduate education.
Academic rigor is expected of all our students, and during midterm season, the pressure on students can become intense. The best way for a student to understand the requirements of a class or the expectations for an assignment is to speak directly with the professor or instructor. Ask your student if he or she is making an effort to attend office hours. Good communications with a professor can result in some of the most rewarding relationships your student may have on campus, both inside and outside of the classroom.
As midterm season wraps up, and finals approach in December, your student may be feeling increased pressure academically for the rest of the fall. But “cramming” and all-nighters don’t always lead to the best results. Encourage your student to get plenty of sleep and to build in time for physical activity, healthy eating, and relaxation. We know from experience that these habits make students sharper when they sit down to study and more adept at handling stress.
If you feel like your student is having difficulty managing stress, struggling to fit in, or is feeling homesick, there are a number of resources on campus.
- The Dean of the Students Office can offer support, resources, and referrals on a walk-in basis from 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m., if your student needs assistance, or by calling 608-263-5700.
- University Health Services provides a wide range of medical, mental health counseling, prevention, and wellness services to help support individual students.
- For students with disabilities, the McBurney Disability Resource Center is dedicated to providing resources and support to ensure accessibility and allow your student to excel in and out of the classroom.
- If your student lives in a residence hall, his or her House Fellow or Residence Life staff member can be a great resource as well.
We are grateful that you have entrusted your student’s education to UW–Madison. It is a responsibility we take very seriously. Please keep in touch and don’t hesitate to let us know if there’s anything we can do to help. You can learn more about the Division of Student Life at students.wisc.edu.
—Lori M. Berquam
Dean of Students