Family Guides

Congratulations on becoming a Bearcat family! Welcome to the UC community. As family members, you are an integral part of your student's success. While you will want to encourage their independence, they will look to you to help them navigate the challenges they may encounter in college. It is important for your student to see you as a partner in their academic, social, and personal success. Talk to your student about the situations they may encounter in college and share your expectations about their behavior. The "Family Guides" will help you initiate these important conversations prior to your student's arrival at UC and on an ongoing basis. 

Your student may encounter challenges or questions that are not included in the Family Guides. Remember, Parent & Family Programs can help. Contact us Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, at 513-556-1200 or families@uc.edu.

The cover of the print "Family Guide: Talking with Your Bearcat about Tough Topics" - featuring students celebrating at the Holi Festival.

The University of Cincinnati Family Guide can be downloaded and printed for easy reference and to share with your Bearcat.

An accessible version of the Family Guide is available below.

Overview

Congratulations to your student on becoming a Bearcat! Your student was admitted to UC because they have demonstrated the ability to be successful at UC during high school. UC coursework is challenging, but there are many resources available to help support your student.

As a family member, encourage your student to do their best and to make the most of the opportunity they have to learn and explore their interests at a large, resource-filled, research institution. Allow your student some time to adjust to the pace and rigor of college classes. When talking with your student about academics, try to focus on their interests and what they are learning rather than specific test grades or overall grade point average (GPA).

Academic Support Services

Talk to your student about the importance of proactively seeking support and reaching out for help when needed. Remind them it is much easier to recover from a setback if you take action sooner rather than later. Academic advisors are available to help students with academic plans and decisions related to their major and coursework. The Learning Commons provides free one-on-one and group tutoring sessions, academic coaching (to help your student build successful habits and study practices), success skills workshops, writing assistance, supplemental instruction (weekly review sessions for historically challenging courses), and more. 

Accessibility Resources leads the campus community in supporting students with disabilities by fostering an environment that places independence, inclusion and success at its core. The office helps students arrange support services such as testing accommodations, assistive technologies, service animals, ASL/English interpretation, and more.

Pressure to Succeed

Students put a lot of pressure on themselves to achieve academically, which can lead to elevated stress levels, intensified mental health concerns, and/or cheating. Talk to your student about the consequences of cheating and encourage different choices.

If you are worried about your student’s stress level or mental health, encourage them to reach out to Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) for help. In addition to group sessions and one-to-one appointments with licensed counselors, CAPS offers the Reach Out app and Therapy Assistance Online (TAO), which provide free, self-help tools and resources.

The Student Wellness Center also offers resources and events (e.g. Stress Less Fest) to help students de-stress and promote their overall well-being.

Conversations with Your Student

  • What fields of study are you considering?
  • Which classes are you most excited about?
  • What do you hope to learn this semester? When talking about academic success, try to focus the conversation around learning and exploration rather than a specific grade or GPA. This helps to reduce any additional pressure your student may feel to achieve certain grades.
  • How will you manage your time and keep track of assignments so you can stay on track? Discuss your own strategies for time management. Many students track assignments and deadlines in their cellphone calendar, but your student may also wish to purchase a planner or wall calendar.
  • Have you established testing accommodations at Accessibility Resources?

Resources

Accessibility Resources

Accessibility Resources leads the campus community in supporting students with disabilities by fostering an environment that places independence, inclusion and success at its core. The office helps students arrange support services such as testing accommodations, assistive technologies, service animals, ASL/English interpretation, and more. The office is open Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm.

Advising & Academic Services

The mission of the Office of Advising & Academic Services is to facilitate and promote high-quality advising across UC academic advising units through coordination, academic services, technology, professional development, and leadership support.

Center for Exploratory Studies

513-556-6540

The Center for Exploratory Studies (CES) provides personalized exploratory advising which helps undecided students find their best-fit career pathways early in their academic career to enable timely graduation. CES is the University of Cincinnati's academic home for students who are undecided, exploring majors, or seeking admission to a competitive UC academic program.  Our professional advisors are uniquely skilled to help students navigate the admission and program requirements for all undergraduate majors offered at UC. An intentional curricular structure ensures that students participate in academic exploration leading to major selection. CES is located on the 2nd floor of French Hall

Experienced Based Learning & Career Education

513-556-2667  | Email Career Education

The more than 60 faculty and staff of the Division of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education facilitate real-world work experience for students, teach students to prepare for their professional lives, and provide career services to University of Cincinnati students and alumni. Experience-Based Learning and Career Education is located on the 7th and 8th floors of Steger Student Life Center

Learning Commons

513-556-3244 | Email the Learning Commons

The Learning Commons provides free one-on-one and group tutoring sessions, academic coaching (to help your student build successful habits and study practices), success skills workshops, writing assistance, supplemental instruction (weekly review sessions for historically challenging courses), and more. 

Libraries

513-556-1424

The libraries provide Bearcats with a wealth of quality, diverse, and innovative resources to enhance student learning and research, and support their academic experience. Staff are readily available to help students find the information and resources they need.

One Stop

513-556-1000 | Email One Stop

One Stop is the integrated customer service area representing the offices of the Bursar, Registrar, and Student Financial Aid. Their Parent FAQ contains frequently asked questions about bills, financial aid, registration and how record privacy affects parent access to information.

Pathways Advising

513-556-9000 | Email Pathways

Pathways Advising is a team of professional advisors serving the needs of transfermajor-changers, and non-matriculated populations and creating articulated pathways to goal attainment, through high-quality academic advising, resource referral and innovative programming. Pathways is located in 120 University Pavilion.

Pre-Professional Advising

Pre-Professional Advisors (PPAC) collaborate with students who have an interest in attending professional school after their undergraduate career starting in their freshman year, helping them explore their options, prepare an outstanding portfolio and then apply to professional schools. They provide a critical partnership for you to manage this process and are located in 120 University Pavilion.

Registrar's Office

513-556-1000

The Registrar's Office provides a wealth of information for your student regarding their enrollment and coursework at UC, including class registration, course-related information, and schedules. They also maintain your student's academic and educational records.

Testing Services

513-556-7173| Email Testing Services

Testing Services helps members of the University of Cincinnati and the Greater Cincinnati community reach educational and professional goals by providing secure and convenient testing services following the NCTA Professional Standards and Guidelines.

University Honors Program

University Honors is committed to helping students maximize their educational opportunities at UC while discovering and pursuing their passions in life and using their gifts and talents to make meaningful contributions to society. The University Honors Program is located in 700 Swift Hall and comprises students in the top 7% of University of Cincinnati undergraduates, nearly 1500 in total across all nine colleges. 

Overview

With alcohol being the most misused drug in our society, and the most widely used drug by college-aged adults, parents, guardians and families should talk early and often about alcohol with their student(s). Research shows that over 90% of students try alcohol outside the home before graduating high school, and although they may have learned some of the negative effects of alcohol during high school, most of the important issues are never addressed. During this period in their lives, parents, guardians and families are their number one source for essential information and for guidance when it comes to important decisions involving alcohol. College is also an environment where students may be more likely to use substances such as marijuana, stimulants and other drugs. Just as parents, guardians and families have a significant impact on a student’s behaviors involving alcohol, families should also talk with their student(s) about drugs. According to the 2018 National College Health Assessment, in a 30 day period, 20.9% of undergraduate college students used marijuana and 7.5% of undergraduate college students reported using other drugs including cocaine, stimulants and sedatives that were not prescribed to them, opiates and others.

Conversations about alcohol and drugs can often be difficult, but research has shown that parents are a primary influence in students’ lives. Parents and families should have a discussion with their student about their expectations concerning alcohol and drugs, the effects of alcohol and illegal and non-prescribed drugs on the body, the reasons students may choose to drink or use drugs, reasons for not drinking or using drugs, and their willingness to help in unsafe situations that involve alcohol and drugs. Parents should also encourage their student to complete UC’s online alcohol education program, AlcoholEdu, and use the program as an opportunity to discuss alcohol and other drugs before starting classes in the fall.

Conversations with Your Student

  • How will you decide whether or not to drink or use drugs?
  • What will you do if you find yourself at a party where there is only alcohol to drink? What will you do if you find yourself at a party where there are drugs available?
  • What will you do if your roommate drinks and/or if your room becomes a center for this type of activity?
  • What will you do if you find a student passed out in the bathroom and/or how would you handle caring for someone who is very drunk or under the influence of a drug?
  • How will you balance the need to study and the opportunities to drink/use drugs?

College can potentially provide an environment where the pressure to drink and use drugs is high. When parents discuss alcohol and drug use with their students, the students are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors involving alcohol and drugs.

Here are some tips to make the discussion easier and more successful:

  • Talk about the effects of drinking on the body so they understand how drinking and using drugs will impact them.
  • Make your position clear about your student’s drinking and drug use. Explain exactly what is and is not okay with you.
  • Explain that students drink and use drugs for many reasons. Addressing this will allow your students to think through the choices they will make when confronted with different situations.
  • Discuss reasons for not drinking and using drugs and the negative consequences that result from both.
  • Make clear your willingness to help your student find constructive alternatives to drinking and using drugs.

For more information about how to have the conversation about alcohol with your student, visit www.parenthandbook.com

Resources

On-Campus

Student Wellness Center

513-556-6124

The Student Wellness Center is an educational resource for students, parents, and families about college student wellness. Their website includes information about campus resources, as well as education about various wellness topics, including alcohol and drugs.

Online

An online resource for alcohol information including standard drink size, signs of a drinking problem, and a self-assessment. Published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Resource for parent to have a conversation with their college student(s) about alcohol before the fall semester. Published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Facts sheet for prescription drugs that includes information about the effects of prescription drug misuse, statistics on teen usage, and resources for support.

A guide for parents and families to have a conversation about drugs with their college student. The guide also includes warning signs to be aware of and information about commonly used drugs.

Even students who enter UC with clearly-defined academic goals often change their path as they discover new fields and learn more about their interests. College students tend to be familiar with the professions of their family members and the careers they typically see on TV. Most are not aware of the broad career options available to them. Students who are unclear or undecided about future career plans are often more open-minded and eager to explore potential options, which can lead to a more satisfying career path.

Encourage your student to consider all of their options and to be open to changing their major or career goals. Academic advisors and career counselors can help your student identify majors and careers related to their skills, values, and interests. Experience-Based Learning and Career Education helps graduates identify career goals, develop job search skills, identify and obtain co-ops and internships, and more. Internships and job experience give students a chance to further explore potential careers and build their resume with relevant work experience. 

Conversations with Your Student

  • What classes are most interesting to you?
  • What kinds of jobs might allow you to apply the knowledge you’re gaining in your favorite classes?
  • Are there professionals in the field you could reach out to for advice?
  • What kinds of experiences are hiring managers in the field seeking in potential job candidates?
  • What types of internships are you interested in pursuing?

Resources

Advising & Academic Services

The mission of the Office of Advising & Academic Services is to facilitate and promote high-quality advising across UC academic advising units through coordination, academic services, technology, professional development, and leadership support.

Center for Exploratory Studies

513-556-6540

The Center for Exploratory Studies (CES) provides personalized exploratory advising which helps undecided students find their best-fit career pathways early in their academic career to enable timely graduation. CES is the University of Cincinnati's academic home for students who are undecided, exploring majors, or seeking admission to a competitive UC academic program.  Our professional advisors are uniquely skilled to help students navigate the admission and program requirements for all undergraduate majors offered at UC. An intentional curricular structure ensures that students participate in academic exploration leading to major selection. CES is located on the 2nd floor of French Hall

Experienced Based Learning & Career Education

513-556-2667  | Email Career Education

The more than 60 faculty and staff of the Division of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education facilitate real-world work experience for students, teach students to prepare for their professional lives, and provide career services to University of Cincinnati students and alumni. Experience-Based Learning and Career Education is located on the 7th and 8th floors of Steger Student Life Center

Pathways Advising

513-556-9000 | Email Pathways

Pathways Advising is a team of professional advisors serving the needs of transfermajor-changers, and non-matriculated populations and creating articulated pathways to goal attainment, through high-quality academic advising, resource referral and innovative programming. Pathways is located in 120 University Pavilion.

Pre-Professional Advising

Pre-Professional Advisors (PPAC) collaborate with students who have an interest in attending professional school after their undergraduate career starting in their freshman year, helping them explore their options, prepare an outstanding portfolio and then apply to professional schools. They provide a critical partnership for you to manage this process and are located in 120 University Pavilion.

Overview

Diversity and inclusion at UC enriches the Bearcat experience for all students in many ways. In fact, when students feel their college campus is a nondiscriminatory environment, underrepresented students feel a greater sense of belonging and the majority students show greater support for the university’s diversity efforts. Diversity prepares students for future careers in a global society, enhances and expands their social development, promotes creative thinking and solutions, and enhances their own self-awareness. From roommates to classmates to professors, your student will have the opportunity to spend time learning with and from individuals with different backgrounds, interests, habits, and abilities.

UC may be a more or less diverse environment than where your student grew up. Both scenarios can present a cultural adjustment for students. For many students, college may be the first time they have been around individuals from backgrounds different than their own. If so, encourage your student to take advantage of the chance to learn about new cultures, meet new people, and expand their mind and experiences. Encourage them to attend events on campus that make them think critically and consider a new perspective.

For students familiar with diverse communities, an inclusive and multicultural campus community affirms their experience. UC’s identity centers (e.g. the African American Cultural & Resource Center, Ethnic Programs & Services, LGBTQ Center, Women’s Center) build community among Bearcats and promote the cultural, ethnic, and racial appreciation, awareness, and understanding of the entire university community. The centers also serve as a safe space where students can be themselves, explore their identities, and speak their minds without having to represent all people of their race, culture, and/or identity.

Encourage your student to seek out student groups that promote their development and expose them to new ideas, such as the Black Arts Collaborative, Society of Women Engineers, Hindu Student Association, Out in Health Care, and more. For more information about student groups, Bearcats can reach out to Student Activities & Leadership Development (SALD) and browse clubs organizations on CampusLINK.

Quick Tip! UC earned 4.5 out of 5 stars in the Campus Pride Index, a national listing of LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. The index is an overall indicator of institutional commitment to LGBTQ-inclusive policy, program and practice. Additionally, in a recent national ranking, UC was ranked #52 among the top LGBTQ-friendliest colleges and universities.

Conversations with Your Student

  • How are you feeling about meeting people who are different from you?
  • How can you promote a respectful environment at UC?
  • Have you thought about what you would do it you saw someone being disrespected?
  • How will you find your community at UC?
  • What identity centers or student organizations are you interested in exploring?

Quick Tip! There are many places of worship for many denominations and faiths in UC’s surrounding area and in the city of Cincinnati. Additionally, there are a variety of organizations created by students to focus on faith-based exploration and building connections with other students.

Resources

African American Cultural & Resource Center (AACRC)

513-556-1177

The AACRC fosters an atmosphere where lively conversation is welcomed and encouraged, leadership development and academic success are prioritized, and quiet study spaces are regularly utilized. The Center serves as a resource for enlightenment about the Black experience and is poised to become a model for cultural and racial understanding in higher education. The AACRC is located at 60 W. Charlton St.

Accessibility Resources

Accessibility Resources leads the campus community in supporting students with disabilities by fostering an environment that places independence, inclusion and success at its core. The office helps students arrange support services such as testing accommodations, assistive technologies, service animals, ASL/English interpretation, and more. The office is open Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm.

Office of Equity & Inclusion

513-556-4119 | Email Equity & Inclusion

The Office of Equity & Inclusion, located in 600 University Pavilion, works to bring out the best in our students, faculty and staff by valuing their unique backgrounds, experiences and perspectives -- welcoming and leveraging individual contributions to collaborate, create, innovate and compete in a global society. We address issues of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct and retaliation so members of our communty can work, learn, grow and thrive in a safe and supportive environment.

Ethnic Programs & Services

513-556-6008 | Email EPS

Ethnic Programs and Services (EPS) provides provides a culturally-inclusive environment by enhancing the growth and development of underrepresented students through intentional programming, academic and community engagement, and the access of resources. EPS is located in 555 Steger Student Life Center.

Gen-1 Program

513-558-8172

The Gen-1 Program was established in 2008 and is a living and learning community that supports Pell-eligible, first generation college students with a structured environment in which to live, learn, and work. Gen-1 helps to promote successful transition to the University of Cincinnati, first-to-second year retention, and degree completion. By helping these students achieve academic, personal, and social success, this program transforms lives and enhances our community. Gen-1 is located in Stratford Heights, Building 12.

LGBTQ Center

513-556-4329

The LGBTQ Center is an inclusive campus community that welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and provides support, resources and advocacy. The Center, located in 565 Steger Student Life Center, facilitates LGBTQ visibility by promoting and enhancing understanding, acceptance, and awareness regarding LGBTQ issues. 

UC International

513-556-4278 | Email UC International

UC International facilitates opportunities for international experience and cultural exchange. They provide a helping hand to the over 4,300 international visitors that call Cincinnati their second home. UC International is located in 7148 Edwards.

Veterans Programs & Services

513-556-4401

Veterans Programs & Services (VPS) was founded to ensure that all individuals associated with the military at the University of Cincinnati have a seamless transition to college. VPS provides educational benefit certifications and outreach programs designed to provide student support services for military veterans, service members, dependents, and survivors.

Women's Center

513-556-4401

The UC Women's Center is committed to the personal and professional growth of women by facilitating action, promoting intersectional justice, and fostering connections for all students. They strive to challenge gender inequities and advance the rights of women by elevating student activism and leadership through innovative and transformative programming. The Women's Center is located in 571 Steger Student Life Center, and open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.

Overview

Finding a new group of friends is very important in helping your Bearcat to feel at home at UC. It may feel daunting at first, so remind your student that friendships take time and effort to develop. Encourage them to be proactive and participate in activities in their residence hall, join a student organization, form a study group with their classmates, visit identity centers (e.g. the African American Cultural & Resource Center, LGBTQ Center, and Women’s Center), and/or work on campus. Not everyone your student meets will be their new best friend, so we suggest that students try a lot of different activities and avenues to building their own community at UC.

Research shows that students who get involved in at least one activity in the first six weeks of the semester do better academically than those who do not get involved. Bearcats have a wide range of opportunities for getting involved from over 400 clubs and organizations and Student Government to the Residence Halls Association and paid work positions around campus. For more information about involvement opportunities, students can reach out to Student Activities & Leadership Development (SALD) and browse clubs organizations on CampusLINK.

Conversations with Your Student

  • What are your interests? What activities, student organizations, etc. do you plan to get involved in on campus? Encourage your student to attend the Student Organizations Fair during Welcome Week and to explore CampusLINK, our online portal for events, activities, clubs and organizations, and more.
  • Who might be able to help you get involved? Resident Assistants (RAs) and other staff in the residence halls, as well as student support offices (e.g. Student Activities and Leadership Development [SALD]) are great resources to help students get connected to campus activities and peer groups.

Resources

African American Cultural & Resource Center (AACRC)

513-556-1177

The AACRC fosters an atmosphere where lively conversation is welcomed and encouraged, leadership development and academic success are prioritized, and quiet study spaces are regularly utilized. The Center serves as a resource for enlightenment about the Black experience and is poised to become a model for cultural and racial understanding in higher education. The AACRC is located at 60 W. Charlton St.

LGBTQ Center

513-556-4329

The LGBTQ Center is an inclusive campus community that welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and provides support, resources and advocacy. The Center, located in 565 Steger Student Life Center, facilitates LGBTQ visibility by promoting and enhancing understanding, acceptance, and awareness regarding LGBTQ issues. 

Student Activities & Leadership Development (SALD)

513-556-6115

SALD encourages students within the university community to strive to reach their greatest potential, through leadership development, and personal and professional growth, and involvement around campus. They are located in 455 Steger Student Life Center.

Women's Center

513-556-4401

The UC Women's Center is committed to the personal and professional growth of women by facilitating action, promoting intersectional justice, and fostering connections for all students. They strive to challenge gender inequities and advance the rights of women by elevating student activism and leadership through innovative and transformative programming. The Women's Center is located in 571 Steger Student Life Center, and open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.

Overview

While at the University of Cincinnati, your student will have many opportunities to become involved outside of the classroom and may consider joining our Greek community. Fraternity and sorority membership can be a positive experience that will last a lifetime, and membership offers a home away from home, all while encouraging individual development in the areas of scholarship, service, and philanthropy.

There are a number of benefits to affiliation, but as a family member, it is important to be honest with your student about creating positive experiences and joining a fraternity or sorority the right way. Having frank and honest dialogue with your students about avoiding negative or detrimental behavior will help your student get the most out of their undergraduate experience and will make sure that their affiliation mirrors what the university and our national headquarters value: student organizations focused on the tenets of brotherhood, sisterhood, academic excellence, leadership development, and service.

Quick Tip! Encourage your student to learn more about UC's fraternities and sororities!

Conversations with Your Student

  • Do you want to join a fraternity or sorority?
  • Have you heard about recruitment or "Rush Week" at UC? Are you interested?
  • Did you know that the university has 4 Greek Councils with different membership requirements and timelines?
  • Have you looked at the Bearcat Greek Guide?
  • Do you know what hazing is and the university’s stance?
  • How can you be a positive member of the Greek community?
  • What are the costs associated with joining a fraternity or sorority? How will you pay for these costs?

Resources

Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL)

513-556-1155 | Email FSL

Fraternity & Sorority Life offers year-round support to students and family members. Their website provides information about organizations, councils, and FAQs for parents.

Overview

The transition to college student begins to occur as soon as your student receives their letter of acceptance to UC. The process does not happen overnight, but will occur gradually over the next four years. As a family member, you can begin to encourage your student’s independence and set them up to be equipped to successfully navigate the university.

Generally, students who have had more independence and responsibilities in high school have a smoother and more successful transition to college. The summer before they arrive at UC is a great time to encourage your new Bearcat’s independence. Encourage them to problem solve. Let them manage gathering all their health records to submit to UC. Have your student manage their own budget. Discuss choices, consequences, and taking responsibility for one’s actions.

At UC, faculty and staff will treat your student as an independent, self-sufficient adult who is expected to manage their own academic and personal matters. Your Bearcat is ultimately responsible for their own success and is expected to reach out for help and support when they need it.

Independence

It won’t be long before your Bearcat calls you with an unexpected challenge. Navigating hiccups and hurdles is an important part of growing up and becoming independent. Express your confidence in your student’s ability to solve the problem themselves. You can even help them brainstorm potential paths forward and share relevant campus resources, but try to refrain from solving the problem for them or taking action on their behalf, such as communicating with their roommate or a professor. It’s very important that your student develop plans to proceed and have the opportunity to take action steps that will help them learn and grow.

Homesickness

Your Bearcat may feel homesick at times. UC is a new and unfamiliar environment and at times it could feel overwhelming. It is very common for students to miss being in their own home with family members who know them.  It may take some time before UC feels like home for your Bearcat, but for most students homesickness is short-lived.

If your student is feeling homesick, it’s important to validate those feelings while encouraging them to get involved on-campus, meet new friends, and begin to build a home at UC. Your student may want to come home. You know your student best, but when possible, encourage them to stay. The problem may continue if they leave campus and miss out on social opportunities. If you are able to, you may wish to come visit your student and give them the feeling of home while they are able to remain on campus. 

Quick Tip! After several weeks, come to visit your student. They’ll love showing you around their new home. Family Weekend (October 4-6, 2019) is the perfect, action-packed weekend to hang out with your student at UC.

Conversations with Your Student

  • How often do you want to communicate and via what methods? Regardless of how much you may text your student, we encourage you to have at least one phone conversation each week. You can hear a lot in their voice that may tell you how they are really doing.  
  • Do you want to FaceTime or Skype so you can see the family?
  • How can you be a good roommate? How would you want your roommate to treat you?
  • What items or homemade treats would brighten your day in a care package?

Once at UC:

  • What are some of your favorite places at UC? Where do you like to study?
  • What do you do to have fun when you aren’t studying?

Quick Tip! A quick note in the mail or a care package can really brighten your student’s day and give them a little piece of home. Parent & Family Programs offers a care package program that makes it easy for you to order and deliver goodies for your students.

Overview

Beginning college is an exciting time for your new Bearcat.  They will gain greater independence, meet new people, explore their academic interests, and make memories for a lifetime.  This is also a time of significant transition for your student, which can be both positive and challenging.  For some students, the stress of college may impact their mental health, making it difficult for them to manage their responsibilities and relationships.  According to the American College Health Association’s 2016 National College Health Assessment, 43% of UC students rated that within the last 12 months they felt that they were dealing with “more than average stress” and almost 85% felt “overwhelmed with all they had to do.”

As many as one in five students nationwide experience a mental health condition while in college and that is why initiating and continuing conversations with your student about mental health is so important.  Proactively addressing potential mental health challenges allows for a plan to be made if your student does begin to experience emotional distress or if you suspect they might have a mental health condition.  This plan can include discussing who your student is comfortable talking with if they experience a mental health concern, what help is available for mental health support on campus and in the community, and what information your student is comfortable sharing about their mental health with family while away at college*.  

*For more information about the University of Cincinnati privacy practices, FERPA and HIPPA, please visit the University Health Services website.

UC has two technologies to support your student's mental health - the ReachOut App and "TAO" (Therapy Assistance Online). Learn more under Resources below.

Conversations with Your Student

Here are some examples of conversation starters to talk with your student before they arrive at college:

  • “I know you’re excited about starting school next month, and I’m excited for you too. Before school starts, I’d like to talk with you about some common struggles that might arise.”
  • “(If relevant) We have a family history of mental illness or substance abuse, so I’d like to talk with you about mental health.”

Signs of a Mental Health Condition

There are some common signs of a mental health condition that you should be aware of and take seriously.  If your student tells you they are experiencing any of these signs or you notice that they are, additional professional mental health support is recommended.

  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • Severe, out-of-control risk-taking behaviors
  • Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason
  • Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight
  • Seeing, hearing or believing things that are not real
  • Repeatedly and excessively using drugs or alcohol
  • Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality or sleeping habits
  • Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still
  • Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
  • Trying to harm oneself or planning to do so

It may be difficult for you or your student to know whether what they are experiencing is an early sign of an emerging health condition or just part of adjusting to college.  If your student isn’t feeling right and/or having trouble coping, encourage them to talk to a professional mental health clinician to help them decide what kind of support is best for them. 

How to Help Your Student

The best thing a parent or trusted adult who suspects their student is struggling with their mental health can do is:

  • Reach out: Let them know you are concerned.
  • Contact college staff: If you notice a change in your student’s behavior and are concerned about their well-being, you can contact the Assistant Dean of Students, Daniel Cummins at 513-556-5064 or daniel.cummins@uc.edu. If your student lives in a residence hall, you can also reach out to the Resident Education & Development staff and request a wellness check be done for your student. 
  • Keep talking: Help start—and continue—a dialogue about mental health.

Resources

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

24 Hour Crisis Helpline 513-556-0648

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers accessible, student centered, inclusive, and effective mental health services to UC students and we seek to actively foster a community of care at UC to support student success. We support student success through prevention, training and education, brief treatment services, and 24/7 crisis support services. CAPS is located at 225 Calhoun Street, Suite 200 and open 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday.

University Health Services (UHS)

513-556-2564

University Health Services is the home of two campus health locations, a campus pharmacy, and UC Student Health Insurance. The main campus location is Lindner Athletic Center, 2751 O'Varsity Way, 3rd Floor, Room 335. UHS is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 8:30am to 5pm, and Wednesday 9:30am to 5pm.

Student Wellness Center (SWC)

513-556-6124

The Student Wellness Center empowers students to make informed decisions regarding their health and wellness by providing evidence-based education, inclusive resources, and non-judgmental support. We offer an extensive collection of resources and information about various health and wellness topics. The SWC is located at 675 Steger Student Life Center and open 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday.

ReachOut App

The Reach Out - University of Cincinnati App is a free app available for smartphones that provides a wealth of information for the UC community. This new app includes information regarding available resources under a "Help Me" menu, tips on how to talk with others about mental health under a "Help a friend" menu, and contact information for crisis services under "Emergency Contacts".  More information can be found on the CAPS website

TAO - Therapy Assistance Online

Therapy Assistance Online or "TAO" is an interactive, web-based, self-help program that provides online and mobile tools to help you overcome the day to day challenges around stressors like anxiety, depression, or other concerns. More information can be found on the CAPS website.

Quick Tip: Students can give family members access to charges on Catalyst by clicking on the “My Dashboard” tab and then “Give Parent/Guest Access.”

Overview

Paying for college can be challenging and confusing for the entire family. We encourage you and your student to utilize campus resources, such as Financial Aid and the Bursar’s Office to ensure you have important tools and information, such as deadlines, to successfully navigate college finances.

As a family member, it is important to be honest with your student about the amount of money your family will be able to contribute to college and related expenses. Clear expectations will help your student will be able to predict and plan for their financial needs. Additionally, college may be your student’s first experience with managing money on their own. Money management is an important skill that your student will carry with them throughout their life.

Quick Tip: An interest-free payment plan that spreads tuition and fees over 3 months per term is available. Your Bearcat can sign up for the plan in Catalyst.

Conversations with Your Student

  • Will you need to take out student loans? 
  • Will you work? Do you need to work right away or can you wait until you get adjusted? Students who work in college earn valuable job experience, and historically have better time management skills and higher grades. Additionally, the extra income alleviates some college-related expenses.
  • How will you balance your job with your school work?
  • How many hours per week will you work? We recommend up to 10 hours per week. Students who work some hours actually tend to have better time management skills than those who do not work. Your student may have to work more than 10 hours in order to earn enough money to pay for college. If so, encourage them to work with an academic coach to develop a time management and study plan for success.
  • How much spending money do you think you need? In general, students need very little spending money, especially if their housing and dining plan is already established. 
  • Have you ever made a budget? Talk to your student about the amount of money they will need for college and how long that amount of money is expected to last. Work together to complete a practice budget over the summer.

Quick Tip: Students can find jobs all around campus from local restaurants and businesses to on-campus positions. UC jobs are posted at jobs.uc.edu. On-campus dining facilities also hire a number of students each year.

Resources

Quick Tip: The Student Wellness Center offers free, private, personalized financial coaching and planning sessions to assist with budgeting, saving, credit, and debt management. Call 513-556-6124 for an appointment.

Bearcat Card

UC’s student ID card is known as the Bearcat Card. The Bearcat Card also allows your student to complete business transactions around campus and the nearby community. The card gives your Bearcat access to rent library books, enter the Campus Recreation Center, and to make a purchase from the UC Bookstore, campus eateries, vending machines, printing services, parking, and more.

OneStop

onestop@uc.edu | 513-556-1000

Students can visit or contact OneStop to speak with professionals in each of the following areas: Bursar's Office, Financial Aid, and the Money Management Team.

Bursar's Office

The Bursar’s Office is responsible for collecting academic and non-academic fees, including tuition, room and board, general fees, campus life, non-resident surcharges, and more. The fees are collected via the disbursement of aid received through Financial Aid, third-party sponsors, and the processing of personal payments. Students can give family members access to charges via Catalyst by clicking on the “My Dashboard” tab and then “Give Parent/Guest Access.”  

Financial Aid

A college education is one of the most important investments your student will make. Financial Aid works to make your student’s college education as affordable as possible. Nearly all students are eligible for some type of financial assistance, but financial aid will likely not meet all of your student’s educational costs. The Financial Aid team can help you to understand your eligibility status, timelines, plan for college costs, and more to support your student in achieving their educational goals.

Money Management Team

The Money Management Team supports both students and family members in managing financial resources effectively. This includes increasing knowledge regarding college costs and affordability, financial aid resources, budgeting, saving, and reducing overall debt loads as related to education. 

Quick Tip: Encourage your student to be wary of credit cards. Explain interest charges, missed payment fees, overspending, and debt. While responsible credit card use allows students to build a strong credit score, it is important that they understand the risks.

Mind What Matters. Watch it. Hide it. Lock it. Look around. Listen in. Buddy up.

Overview

Ensuring a safe environment on and around campus is our highest priority, but our campus is not immune to criminal activity that may occur in the larger Cincinnati community. Theft is the most common crime on and near campus, which tends to increase at the beginning of the school year when students return to campus. Public Safety works hard to protect students, however, your Bearcat can take simple steps to reduce their risk. Unattended belongings are an easy target for a thief. Remind your student of the importance of always locking rooms and cars and securing other belongings (such as laptops).

Encourage your student to use common sense, walk with a group at night, and report suspicious behavior to UC Public Safety. The Bearcat Guardian app is a state-of-the-art safety app that allows students to turn their cellphone into a safety device. The app allows users to send anonymous tips to UC Police, receive emergency notifications, make emergency calls, create a safety profile, find university phone numbers, and set-up a Safety Timer with a location and expected arrival time. The user can then choose anyone with a cellphone in their contact list as their "Guardian," who will be sent a link via text message asking them to keep an eye on you while you walk. They will be notified if the student does not turn off their safety timer. The Bearcat Guardian app can be downloaded for free on the App Store or Google Play. Search for "Rave Guardian." After installing, users must ensure the location and notification service has been enabled and register with their cell phone number and university email address.

NightRide offers UC students safe transportation within one mile of campus. Vans operate from 8pm to 5am each day. Students can request a ride by calling 513-556-RIDE (7433). Wait times may increase during peak hours. Please remind your student of the importance of waiting for the ride rather than taking a chance.

Conversations with Your Student

  • How will you secure your belongings when unattended or over extended breaks?
  • Have you downloaded the Bearcat Guardian mobile app?
  • Have you programmed the NightRide phone number (513-556-RIDE) in your cellphone?
  • Have you registered your bike? Bike registration helps Public Safety to identify your student as the correct owner of the bike in the event of theft.

Resources

UC Police & Public Safety

Emergency: 911 | Non-Emergency: 513-556-1111

Public Safety is committed to providing a safe campus environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors. The team works hand-in-hand with members of the Cincinnati Police Department and other community partners to prevent crime and provide vital safety services and resources.

The UC Police Division is a fully empowered law enforcement agency that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All police officers are certified by the state of Ohio and have full police authority. The UC Police Division is committed to bias-free policing as embodied in its bias-free policy

NightRide

513-556-RIDE (7433)

NightRide offers UC students safe transportation within one mile of campus. Vans operate from 8pm to 5am each day. Students can request a ride by calling 513-556-RIDE (7433). Wait times may increase during peak hours. Please remind your student of the importance of waiting for the ride rather than taking a chance.

Bicycle Registration

513-556-1111

All students are asked to register their bicycle with the Department of Public Safety. Information collected during the registration process is entered into a database and used to identify the bicycle in case of theft. 

Overview

It can be difficult to think and talk about sexual violence when your student is going off to college, but it’s important that you are both aware of the national rates of sexual violence on campus.

  • One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.
  • More than 90 percent of sexual assaults go unreported.
  • Nearly two-thirds of college students experience sexual harassment.
  • Among college women, nine out of 10 victims of rape and sexual assault know their offender.

Conversations with Your Student

You and your student play a key role in preventing sexual violence at UC. Here are three ways you can talk to your student about sexual violence prevention:

Talk to your student about respect and communication.

Try...

  • Communication is an important part of sex and dating.
  • No one has the right to cross your boundaries or push you further than you want. This is something you can always talk to me about.
  • Do you know the signs that someone might not be into the situation? Silence doesn’t mean yes.

Instead of...

  • Sex and dating are ­filled with mixed signals and messages.
  • Some girls dress in such skimpy clothing. What do they expect?
  • If someone doesn’t say “no” or is silent, then you’re fine.

Ask your student about their plans to be active bystanders.

Try...

  • Watch out for others.  Alcohol and partying is never an excuse for inappropriate or hurtful behavior.
  • What do you think would be realistic ways for you to intervene if you saw something that was a red flag for sexual assault?

Instead of...

  • Rape and dating violence are personal issues. Don’t get involved.
  • It’s just college. You’ll see people getting handsy at parties, and it’s useless to try to interrupt that!

Talk to your student about how they would help if their friend was harmed.

Try...

  • How would you respond if your friend or roommate was being stalked or was in an abusive relationship?

Instead of...

  • Don’t let what happened to your friend/roommate happen to you.
Sex without consent isn't sex. It's assault.

Talking About Consent

Consent is one of the most important elements of any healthy sexual relationship. Sex without consent isn’t sex. It’s assault. Here’s what you can tell your student about consent:

  • Consent is informed, freely given, mutual, and can be withdrawn at any time.
  • A person cannot give consent if he or she is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired.
  • Silence or the absence of resistance does not necessarily imply consent.
  • Consent to some sexual acts does not imply consent to other acts.

Warning Signs of Sexual Violence

If you notice the following warning signs for sexual violence in your student, it’s important to reach out to them. It’s better to ask and be wrong than to let the person you care about struggle with the effects of sexual assault.

  • Signs of depression, such as persistent sadness, lack of energy, changes in sleep or appetite, withdrawing from normal activities, or feeling “down”.
  • Self-harming behaviors, thoughts of suicide, or suicidal behaviors.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Anxiety or worry about situations that did not seem to cause anxiety in the past.
  • Avoiding specific situations or places.
  • Falling grades or withdrawing from classes.
  • Increase in drug or alcohol use.

Resources

To Get Confidential Support

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

24 Hour Crisis Helpline 513-556-0648

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers accessible, student centered, inclusive, and effective mental health services to UC students and we seek to actively foster a community of care at UC to support student success. We support student success through prevention, training and education, brief treatment services, and 24/7 crisis support services. CAPS is located at 225 Calhoun Street, Suite 200, and open 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday.

Women Helping Women (WHW) On-Campus Advocates

24 Hour Crisis: 513-381-5610 | Office: 513-556-4418

Women Helping Women provides free and confidential services including individual crisis intervention, hospital accompaniment, campus reporting assistance, court advocacy, and referrals. All services are survivor centric and available to all genders. The advocates are located in 559 Steger Student Life Center and available 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday.

To Report

Office of Gender Equity & Inclusion (Title IX)

513-556-3349

 The mission of UC's Title IX Office is to lead the university in creating and maintaining a community in which all persons may participate in University programs and activities regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity and expression. The Title IX Office promotes that all persons can work, live, and learn at the university free of all forms of sex discrimination including harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. The office is located at 3115 Edwards 1, 45 Corry Blvd and open from 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday.

UC Police & Public Safety

513-556-1111

Ensuring a safe environment on and around campus is our highest priority. UC's Department of Public Safety provides all public safety and emergency response resources for the University of Cincinnati, including our regional campuses, UC Blue Ash and UC Clermont. Public Safety is located at 51 West Corry Boulevard.

Adapted from NSVRC TIP SHEET Going to College: What Families Need to Know about Sexual Assault and Safety on Campus (2016) and Talking with your Student about Sexual Assault and Dating Violence; a parent handbook 2017-2018, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2017).