Starting college can be an exciting and challenging time for everyone, not just the incoming student. Many considerations should be made prior to orientation and the start of the semester. Below are some questions that we hope will start a conversation amongst all members of your family.
Deciding where to live is as important of a decision as determining what classes to take. We find that living situations can be a major contributor to student success or failure. Discussing what options are out there and which one is the best fit for your college student is an important task to complete. For information about living on campus, please visit the Residence Life and Student Housing and Casas Del Rio websites. If your student decides to live off campus, the Off Campus Housing website can help identify non-university affiliated apartment complexes and rental properties. Several of our fraternity and sorority organizations also offer student housing, so learn more about those options too.
Unless your student lives within walking distance to campus, getting to classes is an important consideration. UNM has many outstanding alternative transportation options to consider, as well as an extensive parking permit system for need to drive to campus.
Finances are a major reason why students struggle to achieve their academic goals. Talking about ways to pay for educational expenses, financial expectations, and good money management now can save a lot of heartache in the future. All students are encouraged to apply for financial aid. We encourage you to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. Even if you miss the March 1st priority deadline or do not think that you will qualify for financial aid, you should still submit a FAFSA. You never know what you'll qualify for until you apply! Don't forget to apply for UNM Scholarships and other scholarships as well! Scholarships do not need to be paid back, so they are a great way to pay for college. You can find a listing of other scholarship sites here.
Everyone has a different goals, expectations, and ideas about college. How often do you expect your student to call home during the week? If you student is living at home, will his or her curfew change? Talking about them before school starts is an important way to keep everyone on the same page and avoid (potentially painful) misunderstandings. When talking about expectations, remember that your student will be the one actually going to school, so he or she definitely needs to be included in this process.
Keep in mind that many students might not know what they want to study right away and that is okay- most don't! The important thing is that your student actively explores options and finds what they are passionate about. One effective strategy for helping students who are "undecided" ascertain what they may want to do is to talk with a Career Development Facilitator (CDF) in our Career Services Office. These individuals help students identify careers to work in after college and the majors that they should consider to enter those careers. Incoming freshmen are welcome to utilize Career Services before the semester even begins! Visit their website for more information.