Dear CSU Parents and Families
Dear CSU Parents and Families,
We hope you are well! We also hope your student enjoyed their fall break whether at home, here in Ft. Collins, or in some other location. Fall break is a great time for students to re-energize as they prepare for final exams (see finals schedule) and/or fall commencement if they are graduating this month. It has truly been a busy and exciting semester. We have had an action packed semester with lots of great activities on and off campus. Our Football and Women’s Volleyball teams have had very successful seasons, and we have enjoyed beautiful weather for most of the semester.
As finals approach, we would appreciate your support through checking in with your student regarding their level of stress. Great resources and tips on managing stress can be found on the CSU Health Network website. Students may be in a variety of places in terms of how they are doing academically. From doing well across all courses to struggling in a few or all, it’s important that students realize the campus has a variety of resources to support them. Additionally, it is never too late for students to visit their professor during office hours, work with their peers to form study groups, identify ideal study spaces in Morgan Library, or visit The Institute for Learning & Teaching (TILT) website for academic support resources. Finally, this time of the semester may bring concerns for some students about academic probation. Please note the following website for general information regarding academic probation.
The following issue of the e-newsletter provides a number of great articles regarding conversation topics that you may have with your students over the break. We have a great article from one of our CSU families, the Teahans, about their experience hosting a RAMFAM event at their home and some potential tips for when your student is home over the break. Additionally, there are articles about internship experiences, studying abroad, student health, continuing to live on campus after a student's first year, and more. For students living on campus, please note that the residence halls close on Friday, December 19 at 10pm and re-open on Thursday, January 15 at 8am. For specific information regarding which buildings are open or closed as well as what students need to do if they plan to stay here over break, visit the housing website.
We hope your students have a strong finish to the semester and a wonderful winter break. Note that classes do not begin for spring semester until Tuesday, January 20. Important dates for the spring 2015 schedule are available online.
John and Erin
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Important December Dates to Remember
In an attempt to ensure the integrity of the calendar, Parent and Family Programs has decided to move to a different model when trying to relay important dates. We realized that the list of dates on the side bar wasn’t always accurate and sometimes linked to events that had been cancelled or changed. We wanted to try something new and would love to have your feedback on whether or not you like this format!
Finals week is just around the corner, December 15-19 and it is vital that your student feels confident going through what can be a stressful time. Encourage your student to attend Final Exam Prep in the TILT Building so they know what to expect and have fewer questions going into their exams. Also, be sure to stress the importance of self-care and making sure your student is taking study breaks! A good way to relax and have a little fun is by attending a Women’s Basketball Game or an event put on by the University Center for the Arts like, “A Year with Frog and the Toad.” As the year comes to an end, winter break December 20 - January 19 is approaching quickly, make sure that your student has made the necessary arrangements to be out of the residence halls at the designated times. For more information on other exciting events happening at Colorado State this December, check out our University Events Calendar!
Here are some additional resources that might be helpful to you this month:
Here are some important dates to remember:
Help your Ram finish strong, and let us know if you need anything.
-Parent and Family Programs
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Internships: Don't Leave School Without One
By: Summer Shaffer | Associate Director- Communications, Outreach & Technology: CSU Career Center
As a proud Ram family member you likely support your student in their educational endeavors, like listening to how their experiences at CSU are going and routinely thinking about what post-graduation life will bring their way. One experience students are encouraged to seek out and many majors now require, is that of an internship. In fact, “students who have done at least one of the following – completed an internship, maintained at least a 3.0 GPA, used career services, and worked or led on campus – are more likely to have secured meaningful plans for after graduation” commented Barb Richardson, Associate Director of Assessment and Strategic Initiatives at the Career Center.
Why are internships so important?
Internships are both important to the student and to potential employers. Katie Lloyd, Senior Associate Director of Career Counseling at the Career Center shared, “Internships offer students the opportunity to explore work culture, learn what work-life is really like and identify if their planned career path is a good fit for them.” Internships are a great learning environment for students to gain invaluable soft skills such as professional communication and navigation within an office environment. In addition to learning the ins and outs of workplace culture students are able to see how their future plans fit. Lloyd continued, “I have seen students who have completed an internship experience with a strong confirmation that their chosen career path is a great fit for them. However, I have other students who realize they may need to re-think their future career.” Internships provide a way to explore career paths prior to fully committing to one.
What are employers saying about internships?
Employers want to see college grads with experience. It’s an age-old question, how does one gain their first experience in a chosen profession? Internships offer an avenue for students to gain some initial experience. In fact, “95% of employers said candidate experience is a factor in hiring decisions” (National Association of Colleges and Employers, 2013). What’s more, nearly half of the surveyed employers wanted “recent grad experience to come from internships and/or co-op programs” (2013).
How to land an internship
As you can see internships can be an important part of your student’s college experience. How can you support your student in landing an internship opportunity? First and foremost, encourage your student to explore internships offered in their industry of interest. One tool students can use to identify such opportunities is CareerRAM, found at www.career.colostate.edu/CareerRam.aspx. Katie Lloyd offers, “Encourage your student to start exploring internship programs beginning in their freshman year. It’s never too early to do an internship however it is ideal for students to have had at least one internship prior to their senior year.”
If your student is still not sure of the types of internships that interest him/her/hir recommend that they explore services and resources offered by the Career Center in the Lory Student Center, Room 120. Students can meet one-on-one with a career counselor to strategize an internship search process. In addition to meeting with a career counselor students have access to online tools at www.career.colostate.edu such as:
- Ram Career Tools which offers students the opportunity to customize their career resource exploration.
- Ram Career Ready (launching in mid-December) allows students access to online career training 24/7.
For more information regarding internships or Career Center services please contact us at: 970-491-5707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Where in the World Will Your Student be Next Semester?
By: Anna Berber | Office of International Programs
Education abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime, life-changing opportunity with enormous benefits. Whether it is to learn a language, fulfill major requirements, or simply to focus on general electives, international experience sets students apart from their peers, enhances their studies, and engages them as citizens of the world.
The Office of International Programs recognizes the important role that parents and family play in a student's education abroad experience. Our Education Abroad unit works with students to examine the options that fit best with their academic, financial, and personal goals. Once students select a program and are accepted, we help prepare them for the academic and intercultural challenges that they may encounter abroad.
Opportunities exist for most majors to go abroad to nearly any country of the world. CSU-sponsored and affiliated programs are offered in Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Europe/Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania. With approval, students may also have an education abroad experience through an unaffiliated program or enroll directly in a foreign university.
From animal production in France, intensive language in China, and field-based research in Costa Rica to media studies in Europe – the possibilities are endless. Some programs will focus on a particular field of study, and others will offer a general curriculum. Students can study in a foreign language or in English. Instructional offerings in English are plentiful – even in many non-English speaking countries.
Students may take classes that apply to their major or minor requirements or take a combination of coursework while earning general elective credit and fulfilling All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC) requirements. The key to staying on track toward graduation is early planning. Talk with your students about how they can include an international experience into their CSU experience. Encourage them to talk with their academic advisor about including an education abroad experience into their degree program. This will help them to see which courses may be taken abroad and assist them in selecting a program.
With so many programs to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to begin. The Office of International Programs, located in Laurel Hall, is the central resource for information on opportunities abroad. In Laurel Hall’s International Resource Center, Education Abroad maintains reference materials on a wide variety of study and internship programs, short-term work and volunteer opportunities, and grants and scholarships, as well as resources for student travel abroad. Education Abroad advisors are available to assist students in learning how to research programs, to identify those that meet University requirements for credit transfer, and to answer questions they may have. Advisors are also available to answer questions that parents and family may also have.
General advising hours: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 4 p.m.Friday, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 3 p.m.
After just a few weeks studying abroad in Australia, I had already met people from South America, Europe and Asia, as well as many amiable locals. While I was very lucky to be able to study mechanical engineering at the University of South Australia, I began to realize that the most significant learning from my study abroad experience happened outside the classroom. Australia was where I really found myself. As my time abroad progressed, I felt more confident and comfortable with my identity, both as an American and as an individual. I lost my fear of uncertainty and was able to internalize the “no worries, mate” mindset. Due to my time with people from all over the world, I became passionate about language learning and addicted to travel.
I studied at the University of Deusto, in the heart of downtown Bilbao, Spain, taking classes in Spanish language and culture. My favorite class was conversation hour, where we collaborated with native students who were learning English. While there was constant learning in the classroom, most of my learning happened with my host family. They welcomed me into their family and served as my tour guides around the culture-rich Basque Country of northern Spain. Bilbao is the most beautiful city I have ever seen, with classic European-influenced buildings and cobblestone streets surrounded by tropical beaches and modern architecture. My host family was also really patient when listening to me speak Spanish, pushing me out of my comfort zone by making me talk a lot. I was amazed by how much Spanish I quickly picked up. My family, along with the other natives of Bilbao, was my favorite part of my time in Spain.
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Cold and Flu Season Tips From CSU Health Network
By Mellody Sharpton | CSU Health Network
December brings a chill to the air and a heightened level of stress to the CSU campus as students prepare for finals. But the last month of the semester also heralds the arrival of cold and flu season. According to the 2013 National College Health Assessment, CSU students reported that cold/flu was one of the top 10 conditions that negatively impacted their academic performance. It comes as no surprise, given students are highly social and live in close proximity with one another. Although most of us have heard cold/flu prevention tips more than once, it never hurts to remind your student of strategies to stay healthy and prevent the spread of cold and flu:
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water, rubbing them together for at least 15 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Clean often. The flu virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for two to eight hours after being deposited on the surface. Sanitize items and surfaces likely to have frequent hand contact.
- Engage in immune boosting strategies:
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Seven to eight hours of sleep is optimal.
- Get some physical activity. Aerobic and strength building exercise several times a week can build long-term immunity against viruses.
- Eat a healthy diet. Include more fruits and vegetables per day, as well as whole grains and healthy sources of fat and protein.
- Manage your stress. Ongoing stress can make you more vulnerable to cold and flu.
- Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. If you are sick, stay home and away from others.
One of the best defenses against the flu is annual immunization. Seasonal flu shots are available at the CSU Health Network. Encourage your student to get a vaccine.
For more information about cold/flu prevention and flu vaccines, log on to health.colostate.edu.
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RAMFAM Gatherings and Things to Consider with Your Student Being Home for the Winter Break
By Linda and Hank Teahan (daughter Alexandra)
RAMFAM – Think about hosting an event!!
Hank and I were excited to host this year’s Southern California RAMFAM parent meeting at our home in Temecula, CA. Two CSU Directors, John Henderson, Assistant Dean of Students/Parent and Family Programs and Alexis Kanda-Olmstead, Director of Talent Management for University Advancement & Development, Lory Student Center also attended in support of our families. Twenty-six parents (all grade levels) were represented and traveled from Orange and San Diego Counties.
Having John and Alexis come all the way to California from CSU really indicated to us the investment they make in our students and the RAMFAM program. Presentations from both of them focused on academics, counseling services, on and off campus life, work-study grants, and campus improvements/building projects which broadened our perspectives as parents as to all that is happening on campus. Parent sharing followed (student’s age, major, year in school, living situation, and concerns they may have) which allowed for noting commonalities among our students. As the parents listened to each other share, some felt validated on various decisions they made for their freshmen and some learned various tips from the “more seasoned” parents (parents of sophomores, juniors, and seniors). Alexis has since followed up with an email to all of the parents providing links to each and every question that was raised by the parents. How awesome is that! We would encourage you to contact Parent & Family Programs if you’d like to consider hosting or co-hosting a RAMFAM event in your area!
Tips for Time with Your Student During Winter Break
Now that we are headed into the holidays, here are a few tips to survive your student’s return home for a month-long holiday break. Of course, this is what we have found helpful and maybe it will work for you!
If they are a freshman, you may be in for a metamorphosis, but not unlike what you may have experienced if you attended college. Here are a few things to consider:
- My house, my rules: Curfew??? This is a common challenge for many families. Freshmen, particularly, have been living a curfew-free life for the past 4 months and now may come home wanting the same freedom. They initially want to burrow in their beds and/or enjoy home cooked meals. And then at about 2:00am, are wide-awake with a circadian rhythm of a bat, feeling dislocated because there is no one down the hall or apartment to talk to, watch TV with or someone to share something to eat or drink. Be patient, but be prepared to negotiate and set “new” house rules.
- Boredom- Thanksgiving Holiday break, only a week long, does not lend itself to as much potential boredom as does the month-long winter break. Encourage your child to volunteer, find an internship or temporary work. Earning money for school is always a good incentive. Staying busy is the key; it may even temper their late night hours!
- Reflection- At the end of each semester, it is important for your student to reflect on their efforts from the previous semester. They should evaluate their time spent on their grades, involvement in CSU activities and recreation. Before they return to school, it is a good time to make new semester goals. Talk with your student about what they did well, not so well and how they may improve to achieve higher goals academically. Discuss how they can get more involved at CSU as the offerings are limitless.
- Remember: You are the parent and you rule! If they say they are now adults, you can use the saying- “They are an adult when they pay all of their own bills, and do not live under your roof.” A quote borrowed from a Dean at CSU.
Hank and I feel very blessed to have our daughter, Alexandra, at CSU.
WE ARE PROUD TO BE RAMS!
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Get Your Student's 1098-T TAX Form on FAMweb:
It’s almost tax time! Colorado State University is required to annually provide eligible students with an IRS Form 1098-T. The information on this form is used to determine eligibility for federal income tax education credits. For more information, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov and view IRS Publication 970 or consult your tax specialist. If you have questions about your Form 1098-T, please email email@example.com.
Many parents who claim their student as a dependent on their tax returns need this form to claim education tax credits. Your student can now grant you access to view or print their 1098-T Form online through FAMweb.
Students can grant access through RAMweb by selecting Manage Access to My Records (FAMweb). If there is already access for billing information, grades, schedules, etc., check the Tax Information box.
Parents or trusted individuals can then log in through FAMweb www.famweb.colostate.edu/famweb to access the following tax information:
- 1098-T tax reporting form (current and prior years)
- 1098-T detailed information
- information regarding education tax credits
- 1098-T FAQs
Questions about the 1098-T Form?
Contact: Debbie Owens
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Supporting Students: Tough Conversations After an Assault
By: Casey Malsam | Women and Gender Advocacy Center
With growing attention in the news about sexual assaults on college campuses, we want you to know that CSU has many great resources for your students. Victim Advocates are available to provide confidential crisis intervention and emotional support through the Women and Gender Advocacy Center. Advocates in the office are full time staff members dedicated to working with students who have experienced trauma. We provide information about academic, legal, medical, emotional, and student conduct resources to survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. For example, we work closely with our campus partners (such as the Campus Safety Team, CSU Police, and Student Case Management) in helping our students to receive a holistic approach to their experiences at Colorado State University. We also offer support to secondary survivors, such as intimate partners, friends, family, and you. Our advocates are here to serve people, no matter how they identify.
We also have some suggestions for how you can help your student, if they disclose to you that they have been assaulted. During this critical time, your focus will be on supporting your student. Realize that “legal justice” and “emotional healing” are two different things; for many survivors, legal justice is not the primary goal. It’s okay to have doubts about what to say or how to react when your student tells you they have been sexually assaulted. Recognize your own needs, and accept that there will very likely be changes in your relationship with your student as they heal. Here are just a few tips on how to talk to your student:
- Most importantly, believe what your student tells you (even if they sometimes doubt themselves, their memories are vague, or if what they tell you sounds extreme). Don’t become frustrated if the story changes. The details will likely come out in bits and pieces.
- Listen and help your student process through all of the confusing and painful feelings. Validate their anger, pain, and fear. These are natural responses that need to be felt, expressed, and heard. Validate the damage (all sexual abuse and rape is harmful, even if there are no physical scars or visible indicators of struggle). There are no positive or neutral experiences of sexual assault.
- It is okay to tell your student that this is a difficult topic for you to talk about. Let them know that you are open to talk about anything, even if it is uncomfortable.
- Control your own emotions. Don’t panic. If you show great emotion, your student may find it harder to talk with you and may even feel guilty for upsetting you. Share your feelings, but make sure your feelings don’t overwhelm theirs. As a loved one of a survivor, you may have reactions of anger, sadness, and shame. Find a supportive person or counselor with whom you can share your strong feelings with so that your conversations with your student can focus on their needs.
- Separate the anger you may feel at your student for having broken any rules or using poor judgment from the anger that you feel at the abuser. The offender is the only one responsible for the assault. No matter how badly you need to vocalize your anger, don’t vent it on your student or other family members.
- Recognize your student’s need for privacy. Their boundaries have been violated and reclaiming personal space is important. Respect the time and space it takes to heal after a sexual assault.
- Seek immediate professional help if your student displays any suicidal behaviors or if you are worried about their emotional or physical well-being.
- Take care of yourself. Educate yourself about sexual assault and the healing process. Realize when you’ve reached your own limitations, and encourage your student to talk to a professional.
Know, too, that the services of the Women and Gender Advocacy Center are available for parents and other family members. All information shared with advocates is confidential unless the person is a danger to themselves, someone is in imminent danger, a child currently under 18 has been abused or if the perpetrator is currently in a position of power over minors (even if the survivor is over the age of 18). During business hours you can call (970)491-6384 and ask to speak with an advocate. For after-hours calls our hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That number is (970) 492-4242. You can also visit our website.
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On-Campus Housing Over Breaks (winter break edition)
By Sylvia Cranmer | Residence Life Communications Coordinator
This is a busy time of year at CSU and in Residence Life, as we are wrapping up one semester and at the same time preparing for the next. Student’s minds are filled with finishing work for their classes and getting ready for finals, as well as sorting out their housing options for next year. Some helpful information to make sense of the housing pieces:
Winter Break On Campus Housing Information
Winter Break: Dec. 20 – Jan. 19. If your student is planning to stay in the residence halls for all or part of the break, be sure that they apply and sign-up by Wednesday, December 17 – info available at this link: housing.colostate.edu/winterbreak The cost is $35 per day, which includes housing and $15 RamCash to purchase food at Durrell Express or other campus outlets.
Only Parmelee and Westfall halls will be open during Winter Break. Residents of these halls may stay in their current room over break if they sign up. Residents of other halls may stay in limited available spaces in the open halls, also by signing up in advance at the My Housing link. Food will be available at Durrell Express during the break period, and will be open 11:00 am to 7:00 pm daily. Payment accepted with cash or RamCash.
- Residence halls close at 10:00 pm on Friday, December 19. The last dining center meal is lunch; students may get a to-go meal for dinner by 2:00 pm at all dining centers. Residence halls re-open on Thursday, January 15 at 8:00 am with limited dining centers and hours until Monday, January 19 – at which time dining centers resume regular schedules with breakfast.
- If a student needs to stay Friday night, December 19, there is no cost but they must submit a Late Departure Agreement Form to the front desk of their hall no later than 12:00 pm on December 17.
- For a checklist of what to do to prepare a room for leaving during the break period, visit www.housing.colostate.edu/winterbreak
Questions? Contact the hall front desk Community Desk Manager, Residence Director, or Assistant Residence Director. For more information: www.housing.colostate.edu/winterbreak
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Live On Campus Next Year
By Sylvia Cranmer | Residence Life Communications Coordinator
As we wind up the semester, the student chatter around campus is starting to focus on where to live next year. There are lots of options – one of which is to continue living on campus. Here are a few reasons that may help make the decision to return to living in the residence halls:
- Students who live on campus have a higher GPA than students who live off campus
- Students who live on campus are more likely to be retained by CSU
- On campus residents report a higher level of campus support than students who live off campus
- On campus residents report a higher quality of relationships with faculty members and other students than students who live off campus
- Location, location, location – on campus living is the only option that puts students in the heart of campus with easy access to our award-winning Rec Center, library, classrooms, and athletic and cultural events
- Room and board includes all utilities, high speed internet, and cable and is billed directly to CSU student accounts where it will be covered by financial aid, if applicable
- 2014-2015 room and board rates are frozen for returning students for 2015-2016, by building
- $0 due at signing (deposit from this year will roll over to next fall)
- Applications submitted by March 31 will be eligible for a drawing that includes many great prizes, including a grand prize of free room and board for one year
- Room selection for returning students begins in early February!
For more information about living on campus next year, keep an eye out for the January Parent & Family newsletter, or visit www.housing.colostate.edu/LiveOn
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