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For Parents: Coaching Throughout the Year

Whether it’s their first year or their fourth, students often need your coaching on issues throughout the year. This calendar will help you anticipate issues that may arise and refer your student to the appropriate resources.


Students have lots of uncertainty (Will I like it here? Will I make friends?) mixed with excitement … college, finally!
Students move in, meet their roommates and set up their room/living space.

  • Discuss how you plan to communicate with each other.
  • During move-in, students may have difficulty letting go, or they may not want you around. Discomfort is part of the process. Be prepared for an exciting, but potentially emotional, weekend.


Students attend classes, and navigate the campus and Historic Third Ward. They may also be faced with choices about alcohol. They may be excited about meeting new friends and their classes, or they may be feeling lonely and isolated. You may miss your student, but you’re not alone! So do the siblings, pets and other friends.

  • Ask about your student’s classes, friends and any opportunities for involvement in campus activities.
  • Discuss plans for frequency of returning home.
  • Ask if your student received a 4-week report.


Students may become homesick. Roommate conflicts may arise, and they may face their first round of bills (phone, credit cards). Students may also come down with an illness for the first time since moving in. Students receive midterm reports. Be prepared for emotional phone calls that may leave your student feeling better and you feeling like you need to take action. This is the time to be the coach! Refer your student to campus resources.

  • Ask about their projects.
  • Ask about the student’s midterm reports. Listen and be supportive.
  • Ask about workload and study load. Talk about study skills, time management and all the great tutoring services available in MIAD’s Learning Resource Center.
  • Ask about involvement in campus activities.
  • If your student is homesick, remind them of the resources available. Suggest that they speak with Sara Thor or Jennifer Crandall.

Big events include Fall Break, Parent Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, midterms and enrolling for spring classes.

  • Discuss plans for these events and possibly coming home for Thanksgiving.
  • Discuss courses for next semester and whether morning classes or afternoon classes serve your student better.


The last three weeks of the semester are busy and can be stressful for your student. There are final projects to create, final papers to write and the stress of meeting final critiques and deadlines. Students say goodbye to new friends they have made over the semester. They may also be feeling anxious about first-semester grades.

  • A care package would be great around this time.

Semester Break

Students may return home and spend time with high school friends. They may be asking themselves, “To work or not to work?” Encourage winter break employment. Think about and discuss how rules may change over break for your student and for the whole family.


Welcome back! Students review the past semester and make changes as they get more involved on campus, or spend more time studying. A new semester schedule presents new challenges. You might feel some anxiety about your student’s grades.

  • Review or revise budgets based on a semester’s worth of experience. Also ask what changes might need to occur to ensure your student’s academic success.


Cabin fever may set in, and illness might pop up. Additionally, students are making time to study, thinking about spring break and initiating plans for living arrangements next year.

  • Remind your student of the Marquette Health Center and MIAD Student Services if they are sick or struggling with school and winter-blues.
  • Now is the time to inquire about taxes and if your student has completed the FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid at for next year. (February 15 deadline recommended.)
  • Talk with your student about all of the factors to consider when making decisions about housing for next year. Pay special attention to what type of living environment will help your student be most successful academically.


Spring break comes and goes. Students will be tired, may be keeping late hours and not eating well as they work to complete final semester projects. You may receive more frequent phone calls, or not hear from them at all. Students will be registering for next year and declaring their major. Many will be asking, “What is my major?”

  • Now is a good time to remind your student of the resources available to them as they make decisions about their major, begin final studio projects and write final papers. Be the coach. Refer to .

Students look forward to the summer. They may face decisions about going home or staying in Milwaukee, working or taking summer courses. Thoughts may be also on the relationships they have formed during their first year.


Many students leave for the summer; most will miss their new college friends and some will return home to watch old high school friends graduate. Many students search for summer employment.

  • With a year of college behind you, now is a good time to check in about credit card use and finances, and again ask if any changes need to be made for your student’s academic success.
  • Ask how they are going to stay in touch with college friends.
  • Congratulations for a great first year!

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