Dear CSU Parents & Families of First Year Students,

You are receiving this newsletter because your first-year student has advanced into their second semester at Colorado State University!  Congratulations!  I’m sure your student is already beginning to think about next year and the challenges and opportunities associated with becoming a second-year student.  We unders

tand that the second year can present a multitude of unique experiences for students. Selecting a major, identifying internships, engaging in academics and increasing involvement are just a few of the demands many second year students face. Some students struggle to navigate these complex life decisions, while others begin to identify their passions, and get more involved in co-curricular activities to augment their leadership and life skills.  Some students remain in on-campus housing, understanding the benefits of living on campus, while others take the leap to off-campus living.  Moving off-campus may feel like the next step for some students, but they may feel disconnected from the campus community and need to seek resources to fill the void. We are here to assist students in making the best choices for their future.

At Colorado State University, we have developed a number of programs and services aimed at supporting first year students while they navigate making important choices given their unique set of circumstances.  As students return to campus this spring they will be greeted with a variety of opportunities designed to help them begin making those decisions that will impact their second year. Orientation and Transition Programs specifically, has created a program designed with your student in mind. Getting to Year 2 @ CSU is semester-long initiative created exclusively for first-year students in their second semester. This initiative brings together campus partners to help promote programs and services which will be especially beneficial to first year students as they begin to think about preparing for a second year. Partners include Residence Life, Off-Campus Life, The Career Center, TILT Learning Programs, Undeclared Academic Advisors in the Center for Advising & Student Achievement and more.

As a Vice President and a parent of college students, I believe in the power of supporting students’ transitions from their first year to their second year through to graduation from Colorado State University.  While we communicate to students about the resources offered above, this newsletter is geared toward informing parents and families information specific to helping prepare students moving into their second year.  Please take a few minutes to read through the articles and contact John Henderson, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Parent & Family Programs or Erin Hammersley, Coordinator of Parent & Family Programs with any questions you may have.  They can be reached at 970-491-6680 or by email at and  

Best wishes for a successful spring semester for your students.


Dr. Blanche Hughes
Vice President for Student Affairs
Colorado State University
201 Administration Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(970) 491-5312

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Why Live Off-Campus Next Year, When You Can LiveOn!

by Laura Giles, Director of Residence Life 

We know that some of the off-campus apartments offer very appealing incentives like hot tubs, tanning beds, and flat screen TVs when students sign a lease.  The campus newspaper has been full of ads enticing students to live in various apartment communities and rental properties around Fort Collins. As we in Housing & Dining Services offer residence hall students the option to return to the halls next fall, we thought it would be helpful to provide some information and discussion points to help you and your student decide which housing option is the best fit.

We often hear rumors that we have no space in the halls for returning students or that no returning students live on campus. Here are some myth-busters that may help clarify campus housing options for returning students.

Myth: the halls are only for first year students.

Fact: we have more than 1,200 spaces to offer to returning and transfer students. Returning students get first choice of premium spaces including singles, doubles-as-single, and new and recently renovated halls.

Myth: no returning/upper class students live in the halls.

Fact: over 20% of the students in the halls are returning, transfer, and upper class students and we’d like to see that number grow. We have designated communities and wings set aside for returning and transfer students so they can live with other upper class students.

Myth:  second year students are not eligible to live in university apartments

Fact:  Aggie Village, new apartment complex, is available to second year students.  If your student is ready to live a little more independently, Aggie may be the place.

Myth: dining plans don’t offer returning students enough flexibility.

Fact: the U Plan, offered only to returning and transfer students, offers maximum flexibility with just 5 meals per week, 20 bonus meals, and $150 RamCash. New and recently renovated student kitchens in the halls provide space for students to cook when they want to and the dining centers offer balanced meals for students when they need them.

Most importantly, on campus housing has a different focus (think higher GPAs and more likely to be retained at CSU)! 

Important dates:

We hope this information is useful as you and your student discuss living options for next year. If you have any questions about campus living options, please visit our website, email us at, or call (970) 491-4719.

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Year 2 @ CSU Residential Community in Laurel Village

Rendering of Laurel Village

by Teresa Metzger, Assistant Director of Residence Life for Academic Initiatives, Housing & Dining Services and Keith Lopez, Assistant Director for Transition Programs, Orientation and Transition Programs

Orientation and Transition Programs (OTP) and Residence Life are excited to be offering the Year 2 @ CSU: Residential Experience Community in Laurel Village. This unique opportunity is available to second-year students who want to return to the halls and possess an interest in making the most out of their second year at CSU. Forty suite-style rooms are designated for students to engage in this community that is focused on the second year experience. 

The overall purpose of the Year 2 @ CSU: Residential Experience is to create a themed living community geared towards the educational goals of second year students living in the residence halls. Specifically, the community focuses on outreach, programming and learning connected to the following areas:

Students living on the floor are required to sign a learning agreement and connect with each other through academic workshops, a required fall outdoor mountain retreat, service projects (including one required spring service project), and a variety of floor outings. These activities create a community atmosphere specific to second year students and allow for students who participate to further explore their purpose here at CSU.  There are no supplemental courses required to participate in this community. Any first-year student is welcome to apply to live in this exciting new community! For more information on this residential community, visit:

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Is Your Student Ready to Move Off Campus?

Is Your Student Ready to Move Off Campus?

by Emily Allen, Off-Campus Life & Laura Giles, Residence Life

In chatting with today’s CSU student, they share that they spend a great deal of time prior to coming to CSU considering which residence hall to choose. Some of the things they considered were: how close would it be to my classes; what have I heard about it; does it have the best dining center? Fast forward to today, and now that same choosey student can only think of one thing: I want to live off campus… anywhere off campus.

Has your student truly spent time thinking about all that comes with renting off campus and are they ready for the leap?  There are several things to consider when making the move off campus.  If your student wants to live in a single family home, are they ready to shovel snow off the side walk (even over the break)? Do they know that a noise complaint off campus can lead to a citation of $1,000+ and a municipal criminal misdemeanor on their record? Do they realize that Resident Assistants (RAs) won’t be the ones knocking at their door when there is a complaint? Your student’s new “RAs” are Fort Collins Police Officers. Roommate conflicts (often stemming from “who ate my expensive Greek yogurt?!”) can’t be solved by moving rooms, and often results in having to break an expensive lease. 

This article isn’t meant to scare you and your student.  It’s meant to provide some discussion questions (below) to help guide a conversation with your student to help determine if they are ready to live off campus or would benefit from another year on campus.

Here are some considerations to discuss with your student about remaining on campus:

If you and your student are interested in exploring a second year living experience on campus, please visit the Live On website for details, important dates, and incentives available for next fall. Room selection is currently open and closes on February 28, 2017.  We encourage you to select your room early so that you have the best selections available. Questions about off-campus living can be directed to Off-Campus Life, (970) 491-2248.  

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Getting to Year 2 @ CSU 

by Addy Rastall, Coordinator, Orientation & Transition Programs

Getting to Year 2 @ CSU is a semester-long campaign for first-year students (in their second semester) to help them transition to a second year at CSU. Getting to Year 2 @ CSU provides students with the information they need to successfully transition by offering resources for housing, continued academic success, involvement opportunities, and more. This program will take place throughout the spring semester and will help students begin the process of thinking about how they will maintain and enhance their connection to CSU in their second year, as well as provide incentives for students to attend the events. In addition to the events listed below, students will receive bi-monthly emails containing numerous ways to get involved on campus and help prepare for their second year.

2017 Getting to Year 2 @ CSU: 

For more information or an updated schedule, visit the Getting to Year 2 @ CSU  website or call Orientation and Transition Programs at (970) 491-6011.

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Students Explore Major, Minor, and Career Options at Annual Fair

Caitlin Kotnik, Academic Success Coordinator with the Center for Advising and Student Achievement

Students may feel overwhelmed as they consider the 100+ major options and 80+ minors offered at CSU. The Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA) hopes to take the guesswork out of this research by hosting its annual Exploring Majors Fair from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28 in the Lory Student Center, Ballroom.

This event brings more than 20 academic departments and colleges, advisors, and the Career Center together in one convenient location so students can shop around for an academic area of study that fits their interests, skills, and values. Attendees will have the opportunity to take a personality assessment; talk one-on-one with undeclared advisors, department representatives, and upper-class students currently enrolled in majors; and connect with career educators about career preparation.

“The Exploring Majors Fair is a fun, collaborative, and easygoing time,” said CASA advisor Elliot Cooper. “I love sitting down with students, talking about their stories, and helping to connect them with colleges and departments that might help them feel confident to make a good choice for themselves.”

While one-third of first-year students enroll at CSU as undeclared every year, more than half of first-year students change their majors at least once during their college career. Undeclared students and students exploring majors make up an incredibly diverse population. This event is intended to be beneficial for students who are just beginning to consider their interests, investigating second majors or minors, or changing major directions altogether.

Students are encouraged to declare a major by 45 credits (typically halfway through their second year) to maintain a timely graduation and to guarantee classes will count toward their degree. Encourage your student to attend the Exploring Majors Fair and meet with CASA staff to support them in making a confident decision! 

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Considering Moving Off-Campus? Keep All Your Transportation Options Open

Aaron Fodge, Alternative Transportation Manager, Parking & Transportation Services 

The First Move Off-Campus is a Significant Life Decision

There is nothing more exciting than selecting your first apartment or house after your first year of college.  It is fun to get wrapped up in the decisions about how many bedrooms to secure for your apartment, or who you might live with. Unfortunately, these decisions often overshadow a more impactful opportunity:  How can my student limit the amount of time and money spent on transportation expenses commuting to CSU daily?

Consider this first decision to move off-campus as a test-run for the major financial decision to come after a student graduates, with respects to home ownership / long-term rent. 

Consider Commuting Expenses

Where a student decides to live, whether a student rents or owns the property, is a significant life decision.  The distance between where a student lives and where a student travels daily influences a monthly budget for living expenses, but also dictates how much time a student will need to spend commuting when time could be spent on other tasks.

Too often, a young professional or student will consider only the cost of their rent when making a decision on where to live with respect to their campus or employer.  The chance to save, let’s say, $100 per month on rent by living farther away from campus is quickly lost to a CSU parking permit, fuel, auto insurance and maintenance.  Many find the cheaper rent decision actually led to an increase in monthly expenses.

How Can My Student Limit Commuting Expenses When Selecting a Rental?

Generally, a decision to live closer to campus will provide you a greater opportunity to reduce your transportation expenses and commuting time while attending Colorado State University.  The table below compares the decision to live closer or farther away from campus.

The CLOSER you live to campus…

The FARTHER away you live to campus…

  • The more transportation OPTIONS (walk, bike, transit routes, longboard) are available to you
  • The less TIME you will spend commuting when you could be doing something else, like studying
  • The more MONEY you will save on car-related expenses (fuel, insurance, maintenance)
  • The less likely you will need to purchase an annual PARKING PASS
  • The greater the opportunity to EXERCISE while you commute by bicycle, longboard, and walking
  • The FEWER transportation options (walk, bike, transit routes, longboard) are available to you
  • The MORE time you will spend driving when you could be doing something else like studying
  • The LESS money you will save on car-related expenses (fuel, insurance, maintenance)
  • The increased likelihood you will need to PAY for an on-campus parking pass
  • The more DIFFICULT it becomes to walk, bicycle, or longboard because of the longer commute time

Transportation Considerations When Living Off-Campus

Ultimately, your decision about where to live is about work-life balance. Where you live will dictate how much time you spend at work, with your family, at play, and … commuting.  Embrace this test-run as a chance for your student to learn about their desired work-life balance before making the major financial decision to come after they graduate and get their first job. Below, you will find some ways to promote balance and save money by using alternative transportation.  Also, Walkscore is a great resource that can be used for obtaining information about proximity to common and popular locations (grocery store, coffee shop, parks, etc.) based on the location of the property.

For more information about transportation-related questions at Colorado State University, please contact Parking and Transportation Services at 970-491-2823 or visit: