Family Guide

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 Guide" 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 Guide. Remember, Parent & Family Programs can help. Contact us Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, at 513-556-1200 or

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.


Congratulations! Your student is 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. We are here for support the whole way.

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 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 by action sooner rather than later. One of the first resources your student should become familiar with is their Academic Advisor. Academic Advisors are dedicated professionals with a passion for helping students succeed and meet their goals. Academic advisors guide students through their academic program by:

  • helping students clarify academic, professional, and personal goals;
  • explaining program and university policies;
  • advising on classes and how they fit students academic, professional, and personal goals;
  • helping with academic or personal matters;
  • keeping students on track to graduation.

Most academic advising happens within a student's college. Certain populations (Athletics, University Honors Program, Exploratory Studies, and Gen-1) provide a specialized advisor to support those student’s program-specific needs. Your student’s assigned academic advisor is listed on the Bearcat Portal, in Catalyst, and in My Bearcat Network. The directory of advising centers will help you reach the advising offices for general questions.

The Learning Commons provides free one-on-one and group tutoring, academic coaching (for building successful habits and study practices), success skills workshops, writing assistance, supplemental instruction (weekly review sessions for historically-challenging courses), and more. Each year over 6,000 students take advantage of Learning Commons services to build confidence, integrate themselves at UC, and master course content. Students don't have to be struggling academically to reap the benefits of the Learning Commons.

If your student was on an IEP or receiving accommodations in high school, those do not automatically roll over into college. Accessibility Resources can support your student with accommodations at the college level. To begin the process for accommodations, your student can register on the Accessibility Resources website.

Pressure to Succeed

Students put lots of pressure on themselves to achieve academically, which can lead to elevated stress, mental health concerns, and/or cheating. Talk to your student about the consequences of cheating and academic dishonesty.

If you're worried about your student’s stress or mental health, encourage them to reach out to Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS). In addition to appointments with licensed counselors and group sessions, CAPS offers the Reach Out app and Therapy Assistance Online (TAO), which provide free, self-help tools and resources. Later in the Family Guide, you'll find our Mental Health section. The Student Wellness Center also offers resources and events to help students de-stress and promote their overall well-being.

Conversations with Your Student

  • 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 or Outlook calendar, but your student may wish to use a planner or calendar.
  • Have you established testing accommodations at Accessibility Resources?
  • 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, focus the conversation on learning and exploration rather than specific grades or GPA. This helps reduce additional pressure your student may feel to achieve certain grades.
  • What skills or personal values do you have that could influence your choice of what to study?
  • What are some of your long-term life goals?

Advising Resources

Advising & Academic Services

Advising & Academic Services facilitates and promotes high-quality advising across academic units through coordination, academic services, technology, professional development, and leadership support.

Center for Exploratory Studies


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

Experienced Based Learning & Career Education

513-556-2667  | Email Career Education

The more than 70 faculty and staff of the College of Cooperative Education and Professional Studies facilitate real-world work experience for students, teach students to prepare for their professional lives, and provide career services to UC students and alumni.

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.

Pathways Advising

Transfer and Transition Advising Center

513-556-9000 | Email TTAC

Transfer and Transition Advising serves the needs of transfermajor-changers, and non-matriculated populations through articulated pathways to goal attainment, high-quality academic advising, resource referral, and innovative programming.

Academic 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.

Enrollment Services

513-556-1000 | Email Enrollment Services

Enrollment Services is the integrated customer service area representing the offices of the Bursar, Registrar, and Student Financial Aid. Their online Parent Checklist guides you through steps to ensure an easy transition at the University of Cincinnati.

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. 



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.

Registrar's Office


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 students reach their educational and professional goals by providing secure and convenient testing services, including for students receiving accommodations through Accessibility Resources.

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. 


With alcohol being the most misused substance among 18-22 year olds, parents, guardians, and families should talk early and often about alcohol with their student. Some students will already have experience with alcohol, but some aspects of college life such as increased availability for alcohol, less structured time, and newfound freedom can intensify those experiences. During this period in their lives, parents, guardians, and families are the number one source for essential information and 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 cannabis and stimulants. Just as families have a significant impact on a student’s behaviors involving alcohol, families should also talk with their student about their expectations around substance use.

According to the 2020 National College Health Assessment, 28.5% of undergraduate students used cannabis and 72.8% of undergraduate college students reported using alcohol in the last 30 days.

Conversations about substance use can often be difficult, but research has shown that parents are a primary influence in students’ lives. Parents and families should have discussions with their student(s) about their expectations, the effects of alcohol and non-prescribed substances, the reasons students may or may not choose to drink or use substances, and their willingness to help in unsafe situations that involve alcohol and/or other substances. Families should also remind their student to complete UC’s online alcohol education program, AlcoholEdu, and use the program as an opportunity to discuss alcohol and substances 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 substances available?
  • What will you do if your roommate drinks or if there are people drinking in your room?
  • What will you do if you find a student passed out in the bathroom? How would you handle caring for someone who is very drunk or under the influence of a substance?
  • How will you balance the need to study and the opportunities to drink or use substances?

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

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 substances can impact them.
  • Make your position clear about your student’s drinking and substance use. Explain exactly what is and is not okay with you.
  • Explain that students drink and use substances for many reasons. Addressing this will allow your students to think through the choices they will make when confronted with different situations.
  • Discuss the negative consequences that result from drinking and using substances.
  • Make your willingness to help find constructive alternatives to substance use clear to your student.

When family members discuss alcohol and substance use, students are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors. For more information about how to have the conversation about alcohol with your student, visit



Student Wellness Center


The Student Wellness Center (SWC) is an educational resource for students, parents, and families about college student wellness. The SWC provides Late Night Programs bi-weekly to act as an alternative to drinking or using substances. They also facilitate the Bearcats Recovery Community, a group that supports students in recovery from alcohol or substance use. The SWC's GetInvolvedUC page provides information regarding times of these events. Their website includes information about campus resources, as well as education about various wellness topics, including alcohol and substances.


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

This resource for families helps guide a conversation with students 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 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. Students who are unclear or undecided about future career plans are often more open-minded and eager to explore options, which can lead to a more satisfying career path.

UC offers many resources for career exploration. The Bearcat Promise Career Studio, part of the College of Cooperative Education and Professional Studies, helps students identify their career goals, connect with co-ops and internships to gain real-world, hands-on experience, and pursue their post-graduation plans.

Encourage your student to consider all of their options and to be open to changing their major or career goals. Academic advisors can help your student identify majors and careers related to their skills, values, and interests. Internships and job experience give students a chance to further explore potential careers and build their resume with relevant work experience.

The Bearcat Promise Career Studio offers assessments that can help your student clarify their values, skills, and interests and explore related majors and careers. They also have a professional headshot photobooth that provides free digital headshots delivered through email. Students can schedule an appointment through Handshake!

Quick Tip! Encourage your student to check out Handshake, UC’s career platform for students. Students can search for co-ops, internships, full-time, on-campus, and part-time job postings, view upcoming career fairs and workshops, and schedule Career Studio appointments.

Help your student find the path that's right for them

It is important to be involved in your student's career development. However, finding a healthy level of involvement looks different for each family-student dynamic. Remind your student of their values and how this identity could connect to majors or careers. Encourage your student to explore questions they have about majors and career using Career Studio resources or suggest they meet with their Career Coach. Share your career story and how you made career-related choices. Be mindful not to project your career fears and biases onto your student. Validate how your student feels about choosing a major or career. The process can be an overwhelming or scary decision and students frequently worry they will regret their choice. Encourage your student to trust what they know (or are learning) about themselves and to make career choices that align with this knowledge. Allow your student to grow and evolve as they progress in college. You can support and normalize the loss of old interests and pursuit of new ones. Avoid changing the subject when your student expresses emotions like anxiety, fear, excitement, or curiosity about disciplines or careers that you don’t know much about. This is a great opportunity to expand your own knowledge together about potential paths forward.

Conversations with Your Student

  • Would you like to talk about your major or career choice with me? I am happy to listen and help you think through your options.
  • Would it be helpful for me to share my career story with you? I also experienced uncertainty and questioned my path.
  • What boundaries can we establish to regularly check-in about your major and career choices (i.e., who is allowed to bring up the topic and how often)?


Advising & Academic Services

Each student is assigned an academic advisor through the Office of Advising & Academic Services. Advisors help students by explaining academic degree program and university policies, selecting classes to make progress toward degree completion and achieve academic, professional, and personal goals, and by connecting students with resources to address academic and personal challenges that may arise.

Bearcat Promise Career Studio

513-556-0381  | Email Career Studio

The Bearcat Promise Career Studio, part of the College of Cooperative Education and Professional Studies, helps students identify their career goals, connect with co-ops and internships to gain real-world, hands-on experience, and pursue their post-graduation plans. They connect with students through scheduled one-on-one career coaching appointments, walk-in resume reviews, as well as events and workshops to offer advice on countless career subjects.

Center for Exploratory Studies


The Center for Exploratory Studies (CES) helps undecided students find their best-fit career path early in their academic career to enable timely graduation. CES helps students navigate the admission and program requirements if they wish to enter one of UC’s competitive admissions programs.

Pre-Professional Advising

The Pre-Professional Advising Center helps students who are interested in attending law school, medical school, and other health-related professional schools. Advisors help students, beginning their first year, to explore options, prepare an outstanding portfolio, and apply to professional schools.

Transfer & Transition Advising Center

513-556-9000 | Email TTAC

The Transfer & Transition Advising Center is dedicated to serving students who are transferring to UC, transitioning academic programs or colleges within UC (changing majors), or who are non-matriculated. This office helps students navigate UC's academic pathways and processes and ensure students stay on-track to graduation.


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 the Center for Student Involvement and browse clubs organizations on GetInvolvedUC.

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 if 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.


African American Cultural & Resource Center (AACRC)


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. 

Accessibility Resources

Accessibility Resources leads the UC 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.

Equity, Inclusion, and Community Impact

The Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Community Impact 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. Issues of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation are addressed so members of our community 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. 

Gen-1 Program

513-558-8172 | Email Gen-1

The Gen-1 Program is a living-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 UC, 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.

LGBTQ Center

513-556-4329 | Email LGBTQ Center

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 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. 

Veterans Programs & Services

513-556-4401 | Email VPS

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 | Email Women's Center

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.


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), play intramural sports, 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 the Center for Student Involvement and browse clubs and organizations online through GetInvolvedUC, UC's online portal for events, activities, clubs and organizations, and more.

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 Bearcats Welcome and to explore GetInvolvedUC, 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., Center for Student Involvement) are great resources to help students get connected to campus activities and peer groups.


African American Cultural & Resource Center (AACRC)


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. 

Center for Student Involvement

The Center for Student Involvement provides a vibrant Bearcat community through advocacy, engagement, education, and inclusion. Whether engaged in leadership and social justice programs, club sports, or one of hundreds of student organizations, students receive critical skills related to inclusive leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills. 

LGBTQ Center

513-556-4329 | Email LGBTQ Center

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 facilitates LGBTQ visibility by promoting and enhancing understanding, acceptance, and awareness regarding LGBTQ issues.

Women's Center

513-556-4401 | Email Women's Center

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.


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 sorority or fraternity?
  • Have you heard about recruitment or "Rush Week" at UC? Are you interested?
  • Did you know that UC has 4 Greek Councils with different membership requirements and timelines?
  • 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?


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.


The transition to college begins 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.


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.


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 is the perfect, action-packed weekend to hang out with your student at UC.

Transition Planning Conversations

  • How often will we communicate with one another? What modes of communication will we use, and what time of day?
  • What guidelines can we set now to use when difficult conversations come up?
  • When is a good time for family to visit campus? (We suggest Family Weekend!)
  • What will the expectations be while at home on break? (Ex: curfew, help around the house, chores, bringing laundry home, spending time with friends, bringing college friends home)
  • How often will visits home occur on the weekends?
  • Will we have delegated access to your student records? Which records?

Quick Tip! Quick Tip! Mail or a care package can brighten your student's day. Parent & Family Programs offers a care package program that makes it easy for you to order and deliver goodies for your student. Learn more at


"As a member of the University of Cincinnati, I will uphold the principles for a Just Community and the values of respect, responsibility, and inclusiveness. I will promote the highest levels of personal and academic honesty and aspire continuously to better myself, the Bearcat community, and the world." -Bearcat Bond

The Bearcat Bond provides a set of values for students to learn how to be good global citizens. We intend for the academic, cocurricular, and shared experiences they will go through at UC to teach students what it means to be responsible community members. Many of those lessons occur in the classroom or by living in a shared community.

For many UC students, college is the first time that they will share a room, or a bathroom, or live in a communal space. Many first-year students live within our residence halls on-campus, and then move to privately leased facilities in the Clifton or Cincinnati area beyond the first-year. Living situations look different year after year, and the lessons your student will learn each year may look progressively more and more adult. Regardless of your student's living situation, remind them this is an important part of growing up. Living with others in a community allows them to develop relationships, manage their own conflict, learn from differences, and take responsibility for their actions.

Residence Halls

The Bearcat Experience in the UC residential communities is focused on four core values of Learning, Leadership, Inclusion, & Community. Students living on-campus will have the opportunity to engage with others while developing their identity as a Bearcat. Our residential communities promote a space for students to explore, engage, and grow through a variety of opportunities.

Our Resident Education and Development team (RED) is responsible for providing leadership in the development of a positive community within the residential communities. Most of the RED staff lives in the residences along with the students. They are available to meet or talk with students and have staff available 24 hours a day to provide emergency assistance, if needed.

Learning to Live with Others

RED publishes the Guide to University Living on their website to assist students in learning about campus and university life, knowing their rights and responsibilities as a member of the residence hall community, and being successful in their academic endeavors. Additionally, students living in the residence halls complete roommate or suitemate agreements with their resident advisors (RAs). Roommate agreements are a great practice to carry beyond the residence halls. Throughout their lifetime, your student will encounter lots of different agreements around living spaces from leases, to local ordinances, and even HOAs.

Certainly there may be times when your student needs help navigating a roommate conflict. Remind them that there are many avenues to pursue before a room change is necessary. It's important for students to address conflicts with their roommate in a calm and respectful manner, and the earlier, the better. Sometimes the other student doesn't realize there is even a problem. Encourage your student not to let issues fester or grow. If your student needs help addressing the issue, encourage them to involve their RA or other RED staff members. The Ombuds Office is another resource available to assist students through conflict.

Talk to your student about what it means to be a good roommate and a good neighbor within the community. Students do not always immediately understand how their actions impact the lives of others. Actions that may seem insignificant, like playing music loudly, holding the side door of the residence hall open for an unknown person, or leaving the bathroom a mess can leave a negative impact on their community.


Dean of Students

513-556-4119 | Email Dean of Students

The Dean of Students Office serves students and their families as they navigate the collegiate experience through support services and resources committed to students' advocacy, safety, and well-being.

Housing & Food Services

Reach out to Housing & Food Services for room and board related charges, housing application process, and meal plans.

Ombuds Office

513-556-5956 | Email Ombuds

The Ombuds Office provides neutral, informal, and confidential (except in cases of Title IX) conflict resolution for the UC community, and a space to talk about campus concerns, disputes, or problems to generate realistic options.

Resident Education & Development

513-556-6456 | Email RED

Contact Resident Education & Development for support and guidance related to the residential experience. This includes what to expect living on campus, needs while living in our residence halls, or questions and advice on handling any challenges that arise. Each residential community has assigned staff members with offices located in communities throughout campus. Their goal is to be a partner in each student's educational journey through an intentional, educational, and vibrant residential experience.


eginning 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 to manage their responsibilities and relationships.  According to the American College Health Association’s 2016 National College Health Assessment, 43% of UC students felt that they were dealing with “more than average stress” and almost 85% felt “overwhelmed with all they had to do" within the last 12 months.

As many as one in five students nationwide experience a mental health condition during college, which 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 begins 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*.

It is better to figure out strategies in advance than waiting until tensions and emotions are high in the moment. There is a worksheet in this section that guides you through some questions to ask your student.

*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.”
  • "UC has various resources available and many different levels of support. How do you feel about seeking mental health support should you find yourself wanting to talk to someone/needing help?"
  • If relevant: "We have a family history of mental illness or substance abuse, so I’d like to talk with you about mental health.” Consider sharing your own experiences with mental health and what you found to be helpful. Normalize that stress and dips in mental health may happen when big changes occur and that they are not the only person to experience this.

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. 

How to Help Your Student

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.

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.
  • Validate their feelings. Use phrases like, “It’s ok to feel like that,” “That’s nothing to be ashamed of,” or “Thank you for sharing that.”
  • Reflect back. Show you are actively listening and taking them seriously by using phrases like "So what I hear you saying is…” or “Just to clarify...”
  • Contact college staff. If you notice a change in your student’s behavior and are concerned about their well-being, you can contact the Dean of Students Office. If your student lives in a residence hall, you can reach out to the Resident Education & Development staff and request a wellness check be done for your student. 
  • Keep talking. Start and continue an ongoing dialogue about mental health.

Plan in Advance

We encourage you to talk to your student about how to support their mental health in advance of starting college. Write down your answers to the questions below.

  1. What steps can you take that promote your overall well-being?
  2. Who would you be comfortable seeking help from? (Note: This doesn’t have to be professional help. Emphasize that this doesn’t have to be you if your student isn’t comfortable with that. (e.g., friend, mentor, cousin, etc.)
  3. What are some signs that should indicate to me that you’re experiencing heightened stress/mental health difficulty? (Note: You can develop a pre-determined system to use with your student. For example, they could use a 1 to 9 scale when describing how they are doing. (1=no issue/feeling fine; 5=not great but nothing out of the ordinary/nothing I can’t handle; 9=I’m really struggling/need support.)
  4. When is a time when you’ve felt truly supported by us (parent/family)? What did we do that made you feel supported? (Note: Your student’s answer(s) identify helpful behaviors to use in the future to support your student. Example: Is this is a time when they want to vent and be listened to, or do they want help problem solving?)
  5. What are some of your strengths that help you to be resilient? (Note: You can identify strengths you see in your student that help them be resilient. These are good things to bring up if your student feels overwhelmed or that they can’t do something/aren’t enough.)
  6. What do you most want to get out of this coming year and how can I help keep you accountable to your mental health/wellness as you do that?


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 students and seeks to actively foster a community of care at UC to support student success. CAPS supports student success through prevention, training and education, brief treatment services, and 24/7 crisis support services. CAPS is located at 225 Calhoun St, Suite 200.

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.

Student Wellness Center (SWC)

513-556-6124 | Email Student Wellness

The Student Wellness Center (SWC) empowers students to make informed decisions regarding their health and wellness by providing evidence-based education, inclusive resources, and non-judgmental support. They offer an extensive collection of resources and information about various health and wellness topics, which can be viewed online. The SWC is a place on campus for students to take a break and attend to their mental wellness.

University Health Services (UHS)


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. 


Paying for college can be challenging and confusing for the entire family. We encourage you and your student to utilize campus resources like 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 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.

Student Account Management

Catalyst is UC's student information system. Catalyst streamlines the business of being a Bearcat. Students can register for classes, check their class schedule, manage financial aid and billing, track their academic progress, view and print official transcript, and more. Due to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), your student's records are protected information. You are not automatically granted access to their records. Your student can grant delegated access to family members in order to share their records. You should have a conversation with your student about FERPA prior to attending UC.

Once your student completes the steps for delegated access, you are granted FERPA rights to speak with Enrollment Services staff regarding your student's account. You must also complete the parent steps if you wish to have your own Catalyst account for access to your student's information.

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.

Financing College

There are many ways to finance your Bearcat's education. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form every year allows your student to be considered for federal student aid. In addition, states and colleges use FAFSA information to award their own grants, scholarships, and loans. But, since aid is limited, it is important to meet the deadlines! Filing the FAFSA each year is important as the amount of aid your student qualifies for can change.

Many types of scholarships are available. UC and each college within the university offer a number of scholarships to students each year. Catalyst has a search tool for scholarships external to UC. Your student can check with their local or regional communities as well to see if they offer any scholarships.

UC has lots of on-campus jobs that are available to view on Handshake. Many students take advantage of co-op semesters as well.

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 to understand the risks.

Checklist for Getting Started

Mark your calendar! Tuition is always due five days before the term begins.
  • Review the New Student Checklist on the Enrollment Services website.
  • File the FAFSA.
  • Discuss expected monthly expenses.
  • Set expectations around bills.
  • Discuss FERPA and Delegated Access.
  • Waive/enroll in the student health insurance plan.
  • Ask about student discounts.

Conversations with Your Student

  • How will your education be financed? (Applying for scholarships, securing loans, college savings, work study, co-ops, etc.?)
  • Will you have a credit card? What are the expectations?
  • Will you work, and if so, how many hours per week? Do you need to work right away or can you wait until you get adjusted? 
  • How will you balance your job with your school work?

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


Bearcat Card

513-556-2000 | Email Card Office

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.

Enrollment Services

513-556-1000 | Email Enrollment Services

Students can visit or contact Enrollment Services 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: 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.

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


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. Users can 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. Users can then choose anyone with a cellphone in their contacts 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." Users must enable location services and notifications and register with their cell phone number and UC email address.

When an emergency occurs, UC utilizes several tools to communicate in a quick and coordinated manner, including a voice notification system, text messages, emails, electronic signage boards, the UC website, social media (Instagram and Facebook), and Rave Alerts. Remind your student to pay attention to safety notifications and stay alert.

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 registered your bike?


UC Police & Public Safety

Emergency: 911 | Non-Emergency: 513-556-1111 | Email Public Safety

Public Safety is committed to providing a safe campus environment. The team works hand-in-hand with 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. Public Safety is located at 51 West Corry Boulevard.



NightRide is a free night-time shuttle service that provides safe and reliable transportation to and from many locations within a one-mile radius around campus. The service is available from 8pm-2am during the school year. A UC ID is required to use the service. Please remind your student of the importance of waiting for the ride rather than taking a chance.

Bicycle Registration


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. 


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.

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).

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.


  • 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.


  • Watch out for others.  Alcohol and partying is never an excuse for inappropriate or hurtful behavior.
  • What could be realistic ways for you to intervene if you saw 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.


  • What would you do if your friend or roommate was being stalked or was in an abusive relationship?
  • Are you familiar with the resources on campus to share with a friend who may have been harmed?

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.


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 seeks to actively foster a community of care at UC to support student success. CAPS supports 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.

Women Helping Women (WHW) On-Campus Advocates

24 Hour Crisis: 513-381-5610 | Call or text Monday to Friday 9am-5pm at 513-431-1563 or 513-431-3807

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.

To Report

Office of Gender Equity & Inclusion (Title IX)

513-556-3349 | Email Title IX

The Office of Gender Equity & Inclusion (OGEI) serves students, faculty, staff, and visitors in ensuring equal access to UC programs and activities in support of UC’s commitment to equity and inclusion. OGEI works to ensure that all persons can work, live, and learn free from all forms of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex. OGEI coordinates UC’s comprehensive response to incidents of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual exploitation, and sexual coercion. The office is located at 308 USquare, 225 Calhoun St. and open from 8am-5pm, Monday - Friday.

UC Police & Public Safety


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.