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Parents & Families

Talk with your Husky

Keep the conversation going

Your relationship may be changing, but the bond between you and your student is as important as ever.

We understand that distance, and other changes now that your student is in college, can sometimes make communication complicated. Whether you’re just a few miles away or halfway across the globe, we’re here to help you figure out how to stay engaged with your student and support them through their UW experience.

Here are some topics and reminders to discuss with your student at different points throughout their first year. Use this as a guide for conversations that can help your Husky have a successful start at the UW!

Four tips to help you connect:

Summer before coming to campus

Summer before coming to campus

  • Submitting their Husky Card photo online now, to avoid the lines in September
  • Giving family members access to tuition and housing bills
  • Learning how to fill out medical and financial forms
  • Budgeting and building credit with responsible use of credit and debit cards

  • Keeping a screenshot/photo of the front and back of their health insurance card
  • Learning how to cook — perhaps an easy favorite meal and basic cooking skills
  • Learning how to clean their spaces and bathroom, how to do laundry
  • Adding important dates and deadlines to a shared family calendar (first day of class, UW Family Weekend, winter break)

Before or during move-in week

Before or during move-in week

  • How to pay tuition, housing and food fees — and add due dates to a family calendar
  • Explore University Way (“the Ave”) and U Village for nearby groceries, pharmacies, restaurants and shops

  • Have your student add/confirm their current contact information
  • Confirm that they’re signed up to receive emails and/or texts from UW Alert
  • Make a personal safety plan by sharing emergency contacts (like a friend or roommate) for family members to call in case of emergency
  • Being aware of their surroundings (on public transit, late at night, etc.)
  • Add contacts on their phone for UW nighttime safety services (NightRide and NightWalk)

  • Developing time-management and planning skills
  • Spending at least two hours studying for every hour in class
  • Seeking tutoring and academic support before they need it
  • Using general-education courses to discover career options

  • How to know about your student’s grades — they can only be accessed and shared by your Husky, per FERPA guidelines
  • Reviewing the forms students can fill out to give families access to tuition and housing bills, financial aid info and more
  • Keeping UW user IDs and passwords private, even with family members, as part of student conduct, data privacy and academic policies

  • How to use public transportation (buses, light rail, water taxi) with their Husky Card
  • Transportation safety (being aware of surroundings, using Seattle & King County transit apps, etc.) during the day or night
  • Bicycle and scooter safety
  • Connect with UW Transportation for commuting options

Throughout their first quarter

  • Communicating after their first midterms and finals
  • If you initiate the conversation, try asking about their time-management or test-preparation experiences rather than grades
  • Ask what types of encouragement and support your student wants or needs
  • Listen to their frustrations, disappointments, ups and downs — consider empathizing rather than immediately offering solutions. Try asking them what solutions they’ve considered. Sometimes they might just want a listening ear.

  • How it’s going with roommates or others in their residence hall
  • Managing conflict or roommate issues with their resident advisers (RAs)
  • Encourage your student to seek out their Residence Life team — they host academic and social gatherings to build community

  • Taking time for self-care
  • How are they sleeping, eating, getting exercise?
  • Do they know how and when to seek physical and mental health care if they need it?

During winter break or their second quarter

During winter break or their second quarter

  • Check in about physical and mental health
  • Making time for self-care, exercise, being outdoors
  • How are their eating and sleeping habits? What are they doing for fun? Do they have friends that they spend time with?

  • Scheduling a spring check-in with their adviser
  • Developing leadership skills and getting involved in UW clubs and organizations
  • Choosing one or two places to explore in Seattle by bus or light rail
  • Making sure to enjoy the cherry blossoms on the Quad!

I can’t thank you enough for the Parent & Family Guide. It’s tremendously helpful along with the contact information, resource and safety page.

Kimparent of a first-year

The Parent & Family Programs staff are so responsive to family questions and quandaries. And they really bring vim and vigor to the Family Orientation.

The Herron familyWashington, D.C.

The parent/caregiver handbook is sent to families of new students. This is a great resource that provides exercises about values and expectations, and helps to prepare parents and families of what to expect, how to prepare and how to support their Husky.

Get the full handbook