Resources for families and guardians of CSE students

Your student is off to the U and on their own for the first time. You know they are ready, but you still want to know what’s going on in their lives. 

This page gives you the tools you need to stay informed and empower your student to take personal responsibility for their social and academic choices. Together we can assist students in achieving their goals by identifying our unique responsibilities in the college process.


Family/guardian responsibilities

  • Actively listen to what your student tells you about their college experience.
  • Support your student’s development of coping and problem-solving skills. Remind your student to seek out support resources and be proactive about asking for help.
  • Allow your student to take the lead in their own learning.
  • Encourage your student to explore various interests and learn about new majors and career paths.

CSE Student Services responsibilities

  • Assist students with navigating course registration, major and career exploration, and University policies and procedures.
  • Provide resources to keep students on track for timely graduation and to prepare for life after college.
  • Connect students with opportunities and services that will complement and support their academic experience.
  • Offer referrals to campus resources to support students’ success and well-being.

Student responsibilities

  • Take responsibility for their own learning, and be prepared to invest considerable time in studying.
  • Communicate with CSE Student Support Services staff and professors when questions arise or help is needed.
  • Pursue opportunities that will enhance their academic experience and provide opportunities for personal development.
  • Take full advantage of campus resources, opportunities, and services. The college experience is what students make of it!

Frequently asked questions

What should I expect during my student’s first year in CSE?

Expect your student to experience rigorous and rewarding academic challenges during freshman year. Most CSE students are academically talented and earned exceptional grades in high school with moderate effort. Students will experience new levels of rigor in CSE and need to adapt to an increased quantity and quality of work than they encountered in high school. Students’ ability to manage time and prioritize becomes increasingly important throughout the first year in CSE.

You may also expect your student to face adjustments to college life while living away from home for the first time, building new relationships, developing new perspectives, and engaging in new opportunities. We encourage students to reach out to campus resources, such as CSE Student Services staff, if they have questions or concerns regarding their transition.

What resources can I suggest if my student is struggling academically?

My student has indicated concerns about their mental health or general well-being. Who can students speak with?

Your student will have a support network of professional staff in CSE that includes an academic advisor, CSE 1001 instructor, and career counselors. Students are required to meet with their academic advisor once a semester, and are welcome to participate in additional appointments or drop-in hours if concerns arise. Students also have access to a variety of in-person and online mental health and well-being resources that can be found on the University's Student Mental Health website.

My student has a diagnosed disability or medical condition and received accommodations in high school. How can students continue to receive them in college?

To receive accommodations at the University of Minnesota, students must register with the Disability Resource Center (DRC). The DRC balances students’ needs for access to learning environments with the University’s need to maintain academic integrity.

As students transition to college, they will notice two key differences in the process of determining accommodations from what they may have previously experienced.

First, students are expected to play an active role in communicating with the DRC, as well as faculty and staff, about any accommodations they wish to use.

Second, accommodations are intended to provide access to educational environments and processes and are only one of the factors that can contribute to student success. Students can learn more on the Disability Resource Center website.

What is FERPA and how does it impact access to my student's academic records?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that a student give written permission for any third party to access or discuss the student’s academic record with an advisor. If a student is interested in granting academic record access to a parent or guardian, the student will need to sign an authorization form with their advisor. We strongly encourage your student to actively engage in the advising experience, and request that they be present for any discussion between you and an advisor.

How can I stay informed about how things are going academically, socially, etc., for my student?

The best way to stay informed about what your student is experiencing at college is to develop consistent and open communication. We encourage you to start talking about how things are going with your student early.

You can also stay informed about information your student is receiving from CSE, such as upcoming academic deadlines, opportunities and events by following the CSE Academic Advising blog or staying up-to-date with CSE Student News.