Parent & Family College Planning Guide

A group moves in boxes to their residence hall on Move-In Day.

It’s happening: your student is going to UWRF! This may or may not be your first time preparing a student for college, but we want to make sure that you and your student are feeling informed and ready for their time as a college student to begin. Consider the following steps as your student embarks on the process of enrolling at UW-River Falls for the first time. 

1. Follow the Admitted Student Checklist

It is important for students to take some level of responsibility in completing their Admitted Student Checklist items, but your guidance and encouragement to finish this list can help them start college off on the right foot. Be sure to go through item by item to ensure that nothing important is missed, especially some time-sensitive items like completing the FAFSA application and signing up for housing and meal plans.

2. Get Organized

In the coming months, you are going to be receiving a lot of information about next steps and life at UWRF. Creating a central, organized system for maintaining this information can be incredibly helpful. Consider having a special folder at home specifically for communication that you receive from UWRF, and encouraging your student to have an email folder for the emails that they will be receiving from us. Encouraging your student to regularly check their email is important.

Consider having a shared calendar where you and your student can keep track of important dates, deadlines, and to-do list items. Check in regularly on these to make sure that you are both on the same page for getting things done.

Students move belongings into their residence hall3. Start Having Conversations to Prepare Your Student

What are you excited about in heading to college? Why are you going? What are you thinking about studying? What activities do you want to continue when you start college? What new things are you excited to try?

4. Know the Deadlines and Opportunities Available

Following the Admitted Student Checklist will ensure that you are keeping up with all important deadlines, but it is important to be aware of deadlines coming up. Things like FAFSA, scholarships, and pending aid need to be completed in a timely fashion.

Some things at UWRF are awarded on a first-come, first served basis, like parking permits and housing room assignments. Check in with each of these areas for specific dates that contracts and applications are open.

5. Know Your Resources

 Check out our Resources Page for incoming students to learn more about campus services, commonly asked questions, and the local happenings in River Falls.

A family carrying in a bookshelf to their students' residence hall6. Prepare for the Big Move

As your student prepares for Move-In Day, be sure to review the Residence Life packing list to make sure they are bringing items they need, as well as leaving things at home that aren't necessary.

Hot tips from our current students: DO bring a box fan. DON'T bring quite as many clothes as you initially think you'll need (pack for the season, if you can make a trip home mid-semester). Closet space is a precious commodity!


Another way you can help your student prepare for living with a roommate. Sharing a small space with a stranger (or even a friend!) is challenging-- especially when that is your only private space for everythng from getting ready in the morning to completing homework. Many students haven’t had to navigate sharing a space with another person before. Help lead some conversations about tools and skills they can use to be effective communicators, responsible and respectful cohabitants, and resilient when things get tough. Our Department of Residence Life offers some great tips for effective communication between roommates for your student to check out ahead of time!

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

If you have questions, we have answers. NSFP is here to help you with the transition. The college transition process is a huge undertaking, and you don't have to go through it alone! It can sometimes feel like the university experience comes with a whole new vocabulary. We are going to ask things of you and your student that you may have never prepared before. We're here to help. Whether we have an answer for you or we can redirect you to the office on campus best able to serve you, we can help you each step of the way to get your questions answered. Just don't be afraid to ask!

Three students walking together at the Week of Welcome8. Expect Ups & Downs

The transition out of high school and into college is full of  uncertainty and excitement, a lot of hellos, and a lot of goodbyes. These are all part of the process.

Remember that emotions can run a little high when so many changes are occurring. While you may be focusing on details like graduation parties, financial planning, and getting your student’s ducks in a row, many high school students are also recognizing that for the first time, their day-to-day routine that they’ve been familiar with for most of their life to this point is about to change. They are navigating leaving friends, ending their primary school chapter, and making decisions that will affect their entire future. This can all feel like a lot of pressure.

They may not have all of the answers for questions that you have for them right now, and that is okay. You can provide support and guidance along the way to make sure they are balancing planning ahead while making the most of these high school “lasts”.

9. Guide Rather Than Pressure

This is a time for your student to learn independence, responsibility, and begin making some decisions that they haven’t had to make before. Be sure to be available in helping them in the process, but keep on growing in your relationship together by guiding rather than pressuring them on classes to take, majors to consider, or ways to involve themselves.

10. Enjoy This Time

Okay, we know this last one feels corny, but seriously, give yourself a pat on the back and your student a hug! Attending college is a huge accomplishment, and this first time only comes around once! Celebrate these times that you are sharing together, and enjoy the countdown to college!


Contact Us

M-F, 8:00am - 4:30pm
Rodli Hall 103, Admissions 

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