As the parent of a new university student, you want your son or daughter to make a successful transition from high school to university. This is our goal, too, and to help you both with this new and exciting experience, we have gathered some important information to help you navigate the university experience.
Contacts and important dates
Important contact information - If you have questions, help is only a phone call or an email away. Student Central can assist with many student issues from registration to student loan information and can refer you to a number of other services to get the answers you need.
Academic advising - Connecting with an academic advisor early in a student's university career can be a contributing factor to educational success and can help to avoid academic difficulties down the road. Academic advising is a service provided by each college and while some questions can be answered by telephone or by email, it is recommended that students set up face-to-face appointments with advisors to discuss course planning, major selection, or to make other choices to help meet the student's goals.
Important dates and deadlines - It is the student's responsibility to be conscious of important dates and deadlines, such as the deadlines to add or drop classes and tuition payment deadlines, among others.
Everything you need to know about how and when to pay tuition is available at the Financial Services Division (FSD) website. Learn how to find an account balance, what methods of payment are accepted, and what students' accountabilities include.
We have compiled a great deal of information about government student loans for our students, from determining eligibility and applying, to preparing to receive loans, to repaying loans after a student graduates or takes time off from his or her studies.
Your student may also plan to use a line of credit or bank loan.
Non-government student loan providers or financial institutions may ask for a letter to prove a student's registration, known as a Confirmation of Enrolment. These are only available after the student has registered for classes, or enrolled, and can be requested through PAWS.
Scholarship plan forms
Student Central signs scholarship plan forms for students holding plans from companies such as the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan, Knowledge First Financial and others.
Students may claim some fees and education credits as tax credits on their income tax returns. Tax receipts will be available through PAWS in late February for the preceding tax year. Further details are available on the Canada Revenue Agency website.
Scholarships, bursaries and awards
Entering students are eligible to be considered for the following awards administered by the U of S:
Guaranteed Entrance Scholarships - All students who apply for admission are automatically considered for Guaranteed Entrance Scholarships, which are awarded based on students’ admission averages. Students eligible to receive this scholarship are notified in their admission letter or by email.
Competitive Entrance Awards - These awards require a separate application. Students are considered for awards based on a wide variety of criteria including academics, athletics, community involvement, and financial need. Students selected to receive a Competitive Entrance Award are sent special notification.
Students selected to receive a Competitive Entrance Award may also receive a Guaranteed Entrance Scholarship.
In order to receive payment of an award, the recipient must be enrolled in a minimum of 18 credit units in the fall and winter terms (September-April) in the year in which the award is to be taken up.
All awards are applied directly to the student’s U of S account. Students view their account by logging into PAWS. Awards are typically applied in September, prior to the deadline to pay tuition which falls at the end of the month.
To determine which textbooks they will need, students can visit the Textbooks channel in PAWS or the University of Saskatchewan Bookstore's website. By accessing "My Textbooks" and signing in with an NSID and password, the textbooks specific to the classes for which the student has registered will be displayed. Students can also search by class to access textbook lists but will need to know the course name, number, and section to ensure the correct list is displayed. Example: BIOL 120.3 (02)
Students are eligible to receive U of S student cards after they have registered for classes. Student cards are necessary for all students to receive their U-Pass (universal transit pass), to access the Physical Activity Complex (PAC) Fit Centre, to receive free admission to Huskies home games, and to access library services. Student cards are also required to participate in a meal plan with Culinary Services and students living in residence use their student cards as electronic room keys.
The U of S Card Office is usually located in the Bookstore but is moved to Upper Place Riel in August and September to accommodate increased traffic.
To obtain a student card, students will be required to produce photo identification, such as a driver's licence, passport or citizenship card.
The U-Pass is a universal transit pass for all undergraduate students that provides unlimited access to Saskatoon Transit services throughout the school year. The U-Pass student fee is mandatory for all students and is automatically assessed to students' accounts. Only students who live in on-campus residences, who commute from outside Saskatoon city limits, or who hold a disability parking pass or disability bus pass are eligible to apply for an exemption. The U-Pass provides access to transit services at a significantly reduced rate when compared with regular Saskatoon Transit fares or other bus passes.
Transit maps are available at the Place Riel Information Centre or online at the Saskatoon Transit website.
Undergraduate and graduate students can apply for an on-campus parking permit in PAWS, within the Parking tab, until midnight, August 29, 2013.
Please note: Voyageur Place, College Quarter, Graduate House and McEown Park residents cannot apply online and should apply in person at Parking and Transportation Services (72 Campus Drive) after August 29, 2013.
For more information, visit the Parking and Transportation Services website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Health and Counselling Services
All U of S students have access to both health and counselling services in one convenient, centralized location in the Place Riel Student Centre.
Student Health Services (4th floor) is a primary healthcare centre that offers non-urgent and urgent medical treatment to students and their families.
Student Counselling Services (3rd floor) offers professional counselling, consultation, and advice to students dealing with a wide range of challenges.
Student Health and Counselling Services also provides information and resources to help students stay healthy while in university online.
USSU health and dental plan
All full-time undergraduate students are eligible for health and dental coverage through the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union (USSU) and are charged for the plans in September every year through student fees. The plans fill the gaps left by provincial health care. If students are already covered by another extended health and/or dental plan, there is a change-of-coverage period during which they may opt out of the health plan, the dental plan, or both and receive a credit to their student account.
To learn about the coverage available under this plan or to learn how to opt out if already covered by an equivalent health and/or dental plan, students can visit ihaveaplan.ca and select "University of Saskatchewan undergraduate students (USSU)" from the drop-down list. For more information, students can also call 306-933-0093, 1-877-795-4428 (toll free), or visit the Health and Dental Plan Office on the main level of the Place Riel Student Centre, Room 121.
The University of Saskatchewan strives to ensure the safety of all members of the university community through services provided by Protective Services, student-lead initiatives like Safewalk, and our safety alert messaging system, USafe.
Protective Services - Members of Protective Services are highly trained and assist the campus community through educational programs, emergency response, crime prevention and community policing. Protective Services is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Telephone: 306-966-5555 (24 hours a day) Email: email@example.com (non-emergency only)
Safewalk is a service provided through the USSU and in partnership with Protective Services. Anyone on campus can access this service and receive an escort to their car, office, or campus residence from Safewalk volunteers Sunday through Thursday from 8:30pm to 11:30pm or from Protective Services outside those hours. Telephone: 306-966-SAFE(7233)
U-Safe is a mass alert system that may be used in the event of a major emergency or disaster to provide notification to the campus community by email and optional text messges if there is an immediate threat to safety or security. Messages go out to all "@campus.usask.ca" and "@usask.ca" email addresses automatically but students must opt in to the text messaging service if they prefer to receive notifications this way.
Day-to-day life on campus
Where to eat
There are many places to eat on or near campus.
Students may sign up for a meal plan through Culinary Services, which offers a variety of options for students and members of the campus community.
Fitness and recreation
All U of S students pay a recreation fee that supports Campus Recreation programs and allows access to the Physical Activity Complex (PAC) at no additional charge.
Campus Rec is an intramural sports program offering both competitive and recreational sporting opportunities. From badminton to volleyball, along with a few lesser-known sports such as Battleship and Futsal, there is something for everyone.
The PAC Fit Centre is a state-of-the-art fitness facility open throughout the week during hours convenient for students. Students have access to a variety of fitness equipment, many fitness class options, a 40 ft. indoor climbing wall, a 200 metre indoor walk/jog track, and access to squash/raquetball courts, gymnasiums, and the PAC and Education pools.
Student support services
The Aboriginal Students' Centre (ASC), currently located in Marquis Hall, is an inclusive gathering space for students to come before & after classes to study, use a computer, connect with other students or access services, from education support to culturally relevant programming.
International students and students interested in pursuing study abroad opportunities are encouraged to access the services provided by the International Student and Study Abroad Centre, located in lower Place Riel.
The University Learning Centre provides online resources, in-person help and workshops to help students succeed in reaching their academic goals and beyond. Some of these academic supports include: Learning Communities, Writing Help, Math Help, Study Skills Support, and Technology Help.
Disability Services for Students (DSS) assists students by offering programs, such as notetaking and exam accomodations, among many others, along with advocacy services to foster an accessible and welcoming campus. Students must register with DSS to access most services and programs.
The Student Employment and Career Centre (SECC) provides students and alumni with the necessary tools, resources and supports to make a successful transition from education to career. Students can search for and apply for jobs using the online job posting system, can connect with employers at SECC career fairs, and can access numerous online tools and in-person resources to explore career options, develop a career plan, and prepare for job searches.
USSU Centres, including the Childcare Centre, the Food Centre, the Help Centre, the Pride Centre, and the Women's Centre are open to all students, and provide resources, support and services in a warm, positive atmosphere.
Making the transition
When your child begins university, whether he or she has moved away or is staying at home, you will both need to adapt to a new dynamic. While your relationship and expectations of each other may change, remember that change is not inherently negative. During this time of transition and adjustment, you can help your child to develop responsibility, independence, and confidence by knowing how, and sometimes how not, to be involved.
Understand the situation
If you have been through this before, understand that though the transition to university may have been easy for you or another one of your children, it may not be easy for your son or daughter. Or it might be! It is important to remember that this is a new experience for your child and he or she may need time to adjust to new expectations.
If this is new to you, too, be adaptable. It may take time for your son or daughter to determine his or her academic path and to navigate this new experience. Encouragement and support is what your son or daughter is looking for during times of change.
Show (the right) support
You want to help your child as much as possible but remember that part of the university experience is also about helping students learn to support themselves. As a parent, you want to show interest without being intrusive and providing the right kind of support will go a long way.
- Remind, rather than nag.
- Keep in touch consistently, but not constantly.
- Ask questions casually rather than drilling for details.
- Share your own stories rather than prying.
- Give advice when it is asked for rather than butting in.
- Ask, "What did you learn?" rather than, "What grade did you get?".
Your relationship with your son or daughter is going to change but instead of resisting this idea, embrace the positive outcomes that can develop as your child begins this new stage in his or her life. As your child adjusts to university life, you will likely find that:
- you have more in-depth, interesting conversations,
- you begin to know your child on a different level,
- you both enjoy a renewed sense of independence, and
- you have an opportunity to gain a renewed sense of appreciation for one another.
Understand each other's perspective
Your student will be adapting to new surroundings, making new friends, and getting used to different academic expectations. Some are also adapting to living without their family for the first time. The first few weeks, even the first several months, can be intimidating or overwhelming and it is important to be supportive if your child shares these concerns with you. Students who succeed at an early stage take charge of their own student experience. They talk to their professors and other classmates about what is expected of them; they ask where to find services or buildings if they need help; they are open to making friends; and they realize that their education will gain tremendous value if they pursue their own interests above those of others. While it can be tempting to try to do some of these things or make decisions for your student, remember that understanding this unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable period for what it is--an opportunity for growth--will make university an exciting adventure rather than a test.
As a parent, you may feel stressed or worried, or you may find that you are relieved to have some extra personal time. Your feelings and opinions during this time of change will do just that--change. There is no right or wrong way to feel but be conscious of your emotions and how you are communicating with your student.
- There are no right or wrong decisions, only new experiences and learning opportunities.
- Both parties will have mixed emotions about the experience.
- Some days will be better than others, but no day defines the entire year.
For further reading
"Some advice for parents of new college students" Forbes -- August 20, 2013
"Naked Roommate author has tips for parents and students moving away to university for the first time" The Star -- August 26, 2013
"You're not a helicopter parent just because you care" The Globe and Mail -- August 28, 2013