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May2013 Volume 7 | Issue 10

Dear CSU Parents and Families:

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We know April showers bring May flowers…but what do May show showers mean for June?  (Less fire danger, we hope!)  With the flurry of studying and finishing projects toward the end of the semester, we know colder weather means students aren’t feeling “spring fever.”  As such, we are hoping this cold snap helps your students stay focused and prepare for their final exams.  We also encourage you to talk with your students about making good study-break choices for the end of the semester. We can’t stress enough the importance of your support and encouragement during this time of high stress and pressure.  Families know just what to say to students so they can conquer the final hurdle of the semester.  A small care package with your student’s favorite snacks, stress-relieving items, and motivational messages can lift students' spirits and help them get through this week. CSU also offers a number of academic and personal resources on campus should your student need additional support to cope with these pressures. Check out The Institute for Learning and Teaching website for academic resources and Campus Recreation for on-campus massages.

We also want to offer congratulations to families with graduating seniors.  They did it!!!  We so enjoy the stories that follow students accomplishing their goals and moving toward the next phase of life, so please send us a quick email on your student’s story, if you have a few minutes.  For comprehensive information regarding your student's commencement ceremony, please visit the University’s Commencement website. Each College has a separate commencement ceremony, with webcasting available for those unable to come to campus. Graduation weekend (May 17-18) is extremely busy with students moving out of the residence halls, changing apartments, preparing for summer school and summer jobs, graduation, and end of the year celebrations.  We hope you’ll use the RAMFAM Association Business Directory to help you plan your visit to Fort Collins.

This edition of the eNewsletter offers academic advising insights, tips for motivation and encouragement over the next few weeks, highlights INTO CSU, and allows us to share more about how the RAMFAM Association is growing and morphing over the next year.

In closing, thank you for what you do to support your students.  We think we have the greatest families of any university and are grateful for your support & feedback.  We wish you a fantastic, safe, and productive summer. We look forward to seeing many of you and your students next fall. Congratulations again to the graduating seniors!

take care, Jody & Kacee

Jody Donovan, Ph.D.
Dean of Students/Executive Director of Parent & Family Programs

Kacee Collard Jarnot, M.S.
Assistant Director of Parent & Family Programs

Parent and Family Programs
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
Colorado State University
201 Administration Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(970) 491-5312

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Advising Insights: Using the Summer Months for Academic & Career Exploration

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Haley Richards

By Haley Richards, Academic Advisor, Center for Advising and Student Achievement

The days are getting longer; the weather warmer.  The summer-time buzz is in the air.  Students are frantically securing summer employment or signing up for summer classes to catch up or get ahead on credits.

Regardless of your student’s plans, the summer months can be a great time for academic and career exploration.  Below is a list of academic and career exploration activities students can pursue in the summer:

  • Online research of majors and career fields is always recommend to students.  When things slow down during the summer, many students find the mental space to do some reflection and research on what may be a good fit for their interests, values and skills.  The Center for Advising and Student Achievement has information on how to get started with this exploration process at their website.
  • Job shadowing and networking are valuable uses of your student’s time.  Encourage your student to talk to friends, family members, friends of family members, etc. to start building their professional network.
  • Summer jobs can help a student learn about an industry, gain exposure to different styles of management, and develop customer-service and conflict management skills.
  • Summer classes are not only a way for students to catch up or get ahead on credits.  They can also be a wonderful opportunity for exploration and discovery.
  • Summer internships are positions (sometimes unpaid) related to the student’s academic or professional interests. Internships are a great way for students to gain hands-on experience in the professional world.

Most academic advisors have some availability during the summer months, so encourage your student to contact his or her advisor with questions or concerns about academics, majors, internships, etc. 

Supplemental Advisors:

All students at CSU should have access to academic advising through their home academic department.  Some students have multiple advisors on campus.  Reasons for having multiple advisors include:

  • Declaring a second major – Typically a student should have an advisor for each major.  It is recommended to meet with each advisor a minimum of one time per academic semester.
  • Declaring a minor – Most departments do not assign students to an advisor if the student is seeking a minor.  However, advising is available, and it is recommended to meet with the department once per academic year.
  • Seeking a professional program following CSU – CSU offers supplemental academic advising for students seeking admission into health-professional programs (medicine, nursing, optometry, etc.) and law following their time at CSU.  Interested students should make contact with health professions advisors or the pre-law advisor as early as possible to learn about entrance requirements, prerequisites, and involvement opportunities.

We advisors know your student has a lot going on and remembering to schedule an appointment with even one academic advisor may seem overwhelming.  However, seeking advising from all departments is important for students to accomplish their goals and create the experiences they want at CSU.

We wish you and your student a safe, productive, and enjoyable summer.

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Learning Outcome: Shifting Parenting Styles

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By Jody Donovan, Dean of Students and Executive Director of Parent & Family Programs


This past week we had a strategic planning session for Parent & Family Programs during which we discussed our many goals and ideas for supporting all of you as you support your CSU students.  A major goal of ours is to coach CSU parents and family members to adjust their parenting styles to reflect students’ growth and development through college.  It is true, parenting a K-12 student is MUCH different from parenting a college student, right?

So, we'd love to hear from you about how you are parenting differently as your student progresses through postsecondary education.  How has your relationship changed?  How are you supporting your student to become mature, productive and engaged in a global society?

An example from our family comes to mind:  About a month ago, Matthew shared that his original goal of earning an A in his Physics class may no longer be realistic.  We listened to his explanation (he had over-committed to his student leadership position and had thus let some of his homework slide as a result), we asked him questions about his decision making, and dialogued about options moving forward.  At the end of our conversation, we told Matthew we believed in him and encouraged him to recommit to his academics, and at the same time, were proud of his significant leadership experience through SLiCE.

Last weekend, Matthew shared he received an A on his recent physics exam because he decided to prioritize his academics and shift his time management and study strategies as a result.  This story is a striking difference from how we are monitoring Matthew's younger brother, Patrick's academics while he is in high school.  Last week I needed to review his online progress report and sign a form to turn into his high school teacher.  While Patrick is living in our home, we know when he gets up in the morning, goes to school, does his homework, practices his musical instrument, what he eats, and when he goes to bed.  We can influence any of these things directly.  This is much different from his older brother, Matthew.  In Matthew's case, we can only advise, suggest, and trust in the process.  Ultimately, he owns the responsibility for most of the decisions and consequences.

Please send us your stories about how your parenting styles have changed and how your students have changed.  We'd also like to hear if you've used any of the information or suggestions from our e-newsletters, RAMFAM meetings or presentations.  Your feedback will help us as we prepare for the upcoming school year. 

As always, we appreciate all the love and support you give your students. They may not tell you, but they appreciate you too!

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Homecoming & Family Weekend 2013

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Homecoming & Family Weekend


By Kacee Collard Jarnot, Assistant Director of Parent & Family Programs

Parents and families – we have great news:  Homecoming & Family Weekend has been set for October 11-13, 2013!  In addition to the traditional fanfare that comes with Homecoming (think parade, bonfire, fireworks & football game), Parent & Family Programs offers the following events just for you:

  • an informative session on housing options in Fort Collins,
  • a Q&A session with University leadership, and
  • co-hosted tailgate with the CSU Alumni Association before the Homecoming football game against the San Jose State University Spartans.

Please plan to arrive in Fort Collins by noon on Friday, October 11 so you’re sure not to miss anything!  We'll be updating the Homecoming & Family Weekend website throughout the summer, so check back often & don't forget to use the RAMFAM Association Business Directory when making your travel plans.

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Staying Motivated Through Finals Week

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No Motivation

By Maria Marinucci, Graduate Assistant for Parent & Family Programs

The end of the semester is both a very exciting and challenging time for students.  Final papers, projects, and presentations, plus upcoming final exams contribute to mounting stress, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel: summer break!  For many students, it can be hard to stay motivated on the tasks at hand for a multitude of reasons.  After speaking with several undergraduate students, the following issues were identified as motivation-drains:

  • The weather is getting nicer (although we currently have several inches of snow on the ground!)
  • Friends are graduating or preparing to say goodbye for the summer, making it feel extra important to spend time with them
  • Exhaustion is setting in after a semester’s worth of hard work and never-ending study sessions

Some also mentioned a newfound sense of truly feeling at home at CSU after months of adjusting and transitioning, adding to the desire to just enjoy all CSU and Fort Collins have to offer. 

While it can be a challenge, there are several strategies you can encourage your student to embrace to sail through these final few weeks.  Remember each student will have unique needs, so not all strategies will be relevant to everyone.

  1. Breathe!  Anxiety is very common at this time of year, but it is important to not let it overwhelm a student.  Remind students anxiety can be a great tool for motivating one to stay on track, if it is kept in check.
  2. Make a list of all things to be accomplished and then draft a reasonable study schedule.  Checking items off when completed can help bring relief to students feeling as if their workload is impossible.
  3. Sleep.  For many students, caffeine and energy drinks leading to all-nighters seem like the best idea during finals week, but they can be seriously detrimental to study efforts.  Sleep deprivation is a major impediment to academic success.  Studies show students remember detailed course material better the next day if they get a good night's sleep rather than staying up all night trying to “cram.”
  4. Take appropriate breaks.  Breaks allow the brain to rest and also provide time to re-energize.  It is also a great way to catch up with a friend or get in a brisk walk to keep energy and morale high.
  5. Eat healthy snacks.  Sugary snacks may help in the moment, but contribute to crashes later.  Encourage your student to eat well and use snacks to keep energy up over time.
  6. Use CSU resources.  TILT offers several Final Exam PrepShops for a variety of exam formats.  Let your student know about them so they can truly maximize their study time.  They can also schedule a meeting with an Academic Coach for one-on-one attention

Whatever strategy your student uses, we wish them all the best as the semester winds down.  Summer will be here before we know it!

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Celebrate! Seniors Week

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Celebrate Seniors WeekBy Lindsay Sell and Audrey Wilson, Student Advancement Programs

Springtime at Colorado State University is filled with excitement, anticipation and worry, as the transition from student to alumni is anticipated, yet stressful.  During a student’s final year in college they are often left questioning, “what’s next?” For students that are graduating the frequently asked question, “what will you do after graduation?” can cause anxiety.   Many students are still considering their options or are unsure of their plans and find they repeatedly answer this question with more unknowns.  Many students are managing the job search process in their final year, while others are exploring and applying to graduate school or other programs like Teach for America or the Peace Corps. Sometimes having to make a decision about what to pursue next is difficult for students who many not have a clear path forward or may doubt previously determined plans and goals.

For many students the loss of identity as a student is overwhelming, and in addition to considering what is next in their life after college, they may be managing grief over the conclusion of their college experience or the graduation of friends (if they are not graduating yet themselves). Managing the stress and anxiety, in addition to the transition issues students face as they prepare to move on from their experience at CSU, may lead to mental health concerns or the need to more intentionally explore feelings and emotions related to the transition.

As part of Celebrate! Seniors Week (April 29 – May 4), the Senior Year Experience Council hosted two Senior Transition Seminars.  These hour-long sessions were developed to help seniors learn the skills and resources to manage their transition from student to alumni. Jody Donovan and Kacee Collard Jarnot of Parents and Families Programs facilitated both seminars.

Lastly, a very special component of Celebrate! Seniors Week is our Senior Candlelight Celebration scheduled for Friday, May 3 at 7:30pm on The Oval.  Many administrators will be attending the event to commemorate seniors and thank them for their contributions to our University.  Currently, Dr. Tony Frank, Colleen Meyer, Dr. Blanche Hughes and ASCSU President Regina Martel are slated to speak at the event.   Encourage your senior(s) to attend as a way to commemorate their experiences at CSU as one 2013 senior class.

To learn more about Celebrate! Seniors Week, visit our website.  Feel free to reach out to us via email with any questions!

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RAMFAM Association Recap and Updates

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RAMFAM AssociationBy Maria Marinucci, Graduate Assistant for Parent & Family Programs

As we wrap up Spring semester, Parent & Family Programs is celebrating the conclusion of a successful year of RAMFAM Association Meetings!  If you were not aware, we do archive all of our videos and handouts on our website for you to check out whenever may be convenient.

As a recap, in September, several academic advisors joined us to discuss how students can maximize their advising experience.  We then revealed the results from our biennial survey, which informs all of our programs, articles, and meeting topics.  October’s meeting featured President Tony Frank, Provost Rick Miranda, Vice President for Student Affairs Blanche Hughes, and Associated Students of Colorado State University President Regina Martel giving an update on the State of CSU and answering your questions.  As we learned from our biennial survey, many parents and families of CSU students are interested in learning more about career preparedness and internship opportunities for their students.  To help with this, we brought in the staff from the Career Center for our November meeting.  They talked about how students can find their career fit, the services they provide, and invited a student panel in to talk about how they have utilized the resources the Career Center offers.  Our biennial survey also revealed the need to know more about financial aid.  For February, while we did not have a formal meeting, we did create and post a webinar about FAFSA and CSU Scholarships and how to apply for them.  In case you missed it, it is available online.  Finally, our last meeting of the year was held in April at CSU’s Denver Center, which yielded the greatest number of participants.  At this meeting, we discussed the life skills students develop throughout college, and how you as parents and families can help support their development. 

We appreciate all of you who were able to join us, either in person or via the live webcast, and hope those of you who were not have benefited from our archived materials.  Switching gears, we have decided to alter RAMFAM Association Meetings for next year.  Due to dwindling attendance on campus, as well as fewer people watching the live webcast, with a simultaneous increase in the number of individuals accessing archived material, we have decided to reduce the number of live meetings to three for the 2013-2014 academic year: one on-campus during Homecoming & Family Weekend, and two in Denver—one per semester.  For the rest of the year, we will switch to the model we piloted in February: webinars uploaded to our website for you to conveniently access whenever you would like.  We will create the videos on topics derived from your feedback received through assessments, emails, or other connections, utilizing our extensive campus relationships to find speakers on programs you find interesting or services on campus you’d like to learn more about to better support your student.  All of these videos will be archived on our website for you to access at your convenience, broken into main topic areas to meet your needs.

We hope this new model will be more efficient and effective for you, and cannot wait to see how we can use it to best support you and your students!

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INTO CSU Students

By Carmen RIvera- Director of Student Services, and Katie Mitchell- Marketing and Recruitment Manager, INTO CSU

Since 2006, INTO University Partnerships has helped thousands of international students take their first steps towards success in higher education. Our programs on the campuses of leading American universities offer international students a variety of academic Pathway and English language programs in a highly supportive learning environment, all designed to accelerate student success.

INTO CSU opened its doors to students on August 13, 2013. This highly collaborative Joint Venture between Colorado State University and INTO has brought students to campus from around the world. This collaboration helps the university with its internationalization efforts as well as provides the INTO CSU students all the benefits and experiences of campus life at a world class American university. Living and learning in the heart of the university campus, students develop friendships with American and international students and have access to all of the academic, social and cultural resources and activities that the university has to offer.

INTO CSU offers General English and Academic English as well as innovative undergraduate and graduate pathways programs. The General English program consists of 4-week sessions with multiple entry points designed for students of all levels of English who want to develop communications skills in many social and professional situations while learning about American culture. The 7-week Academic English program prepares international students for university study in the US. The academically rigorous program provides students with high-quality English language instruction and the academic skills to succeed at CSU through development of listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and academic study skills. During a pathway program, students take university credits towards their degree while improving their English. Successful completion of a pathway guarantees progression to the university with earned credits towards a degree.

Currently, over 400 students from over 30 countries are studying at INTO CSU in English and pathway programs leading to a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The programs will continue to grow annually and ultimately aim to serve 1,200 students. Some highlights of the year include having Academic English students gain admission to CSU for the fall, students participated in integrated orientation, and students attended activities designed to integrate them into the campus and community. Additionally, the first cohort of Pathway students will complete their program in May and become fully matriculated CSU students in the fall.

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Healthy Student, Happy Family: A Message from the CSU Health Network

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Multiple Choice TestBy Marie Allen, Coordinator of Marketing and Communications, CSU Health Network

Good health is essential to academic success. The CSU Health Network is your student’s partner in staying mentally and physically healthy while at college.

Supporting Your Student During Finals

Spring is here and the semester is almost over. That can only mean one thing… finals week is approaching! The weeks leading up to finals and preparing for multiple, long exams are typically pretty stressful on your student, but we also know they can be stressful on you too! It’s hard to witness your student overwhelmed and struggling when there isn’t much you can do to help.  After all, you can’t take the exams for your student.

You can be prepared and supportive. Follow these simple tips:

  • Don’t be alarmed if you get a tearful, frantic call or receive a snappy response from your student overwhelmed by all he has to do before the end of the semester.  Do your best to calm him down and provide words of encouragement.
  • Give your student extra space and try not to call too often. She is most likely busy with study groups, paper writing, and collaborative assignments. Let her know you are available to talk when she needs a study break, but otherwise, limit it to a quick encouraging text or email.
  • Remember, not all students are intimidated by finals. Your student may thrive on the challenge and pressure of exams.

Transitioning Home for the Summer

Transitioning home for the summer can be an adjustment for students and their families. There are things you can do to assist in this process:

  1. Discuss with your student before arrival about any changes that she might not know have taken place since the last time she was home. Prepare your student for any major family or community changes.
  2. Ask about summer plans. Your student will most likely want to hang out with friends and/or work. If you want to spend some quality time with him this summer, it’s best to communicate that in advance.
  3. Make sure to have a conversation about any expectations you might have for your student during the summer. Attempt to find a balance between personal independence and family responsibilities. Work on coming to an agreement or compromise about how things will work while home. Consider things like curfews or chores.
  4. Summer is a good time to talk with your student about any issues that need to be resolved from the school year. If you need to talk with your student about grades, money spending, living situation, finding a job, or drinking/drug use behaviors, plan ahead for the discussion. Remember, a common way to deal with discomfort is avoidance, but avoiding uncomfortable situations establishes patterns that stand in the way of making new beginnings.

If you have any health related concerns about your student, visit the CSU Health Network website for more information. Know as a parent or family member, you can call Student Case Management at 970-491-8051 for help locating resources and referrals for your student.

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