The biggest challenge that many first year students face is accepting responsibility for their own lives. Suddenly, it seems that they are responsible for everything: their academic work, social life, time, relationships, living arrangements, health, finances, etc. Learning to balance their freedom with their new responsibilities and the opportunity to explore their own identity can sometimes be overwhelming for first-year students. The University offers a variety of resources to assist your son/daughter in making the adjustment to their new role as college student.
It is not unusual for first-year students to be homesick. New responsibilities and challenges can seem overwhelming at first, but we encourage them to allow themselves time to get used to the new environment. Getting engaged in their classes, participating in co-curricular activities, eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, joining an organization, getting to know some of their faculty members and administrators and establishing good relationships with other students are important. The Counseling and Campus Ministry offices, as well as the First Year Engagement Office, are available as resources when students want to talk about their concerns.
Call or write them and let them know you are thinking of them. HOWEVER, resist the urge to call them three or four times a day, or insist that they come home immediately after classes, or come home every weekend (if they live on campus). It’s important that your son/daughter have some space to explore their new environment and to be assured that they have your “permission” and support in doing so. Use your newfound time and “freedom” to rediscover a forgotten hobby, read a book, and spend extra time with your other children, spouse, pets or friends.
The Counseling Office, the First Year Engagement Office, Campus Ministry and the Dean of Campus Life are among the administrative offices available to assist students. If the student is a resident, a Resident Assistant who lives in their building, or any member of the Residence Life staff, will gladly assist with a student’s concerns.
Encourage them to talk to their Resident Assistant (RA). The RA can provide advice, assist in coaching the student about how to address the issue, and and/or assist in arranging a mediation between roommates. If there are long-term problems, students can ask the Director of Residence Life or his staff for assistance in changing rooms.
The University’s educational and student development philosophies, as well as Federal laws, compel us to treat your son or daughter as an adult, thus honoring a confidential relationship regarding most situations involving them at UIW. Thus, such things as academic, medical, social, disciplinary and personal matters are not routinely reported to parents. Typically, parents and/or family members are contacted only when, in our best judgment, the student will benefit from consultation with the parents. Whenever possible, students are asked to initiate the contact and/or be present when the contact is made. UIW policy and federal law permit contact with parents of students less than 21 years of age, when students violate our alcohol and drug policy.
The most important things parents can do are: listen to their son’s/daughter’s concerns, be positive, and be encouraging. Encourage him/her to ask for help on campus. Help them to take responsibility for resolving their problems by talking with them about which office(s) on campus might be most helpful with their issue. If you and your student do not know who to call or where to go with a particular problem, contact The First Year Engagement Office or the Dean of Campus Life for assistance or referral to the appropriate resource on campus.
Students should expect that their college professors will have significantly more advanced expectations of their coursework than in high school. College students should expect to study two to three times more, read, write and think more analytically and critically, and to manage their own time and schedule of course and degree requirements. The UIW faculty wants their students to succeed and is available to provide guidance and assistance. The Learning Assistance Center and the Student Success Services Office also provide free academic support services for those who wish to improve their study skills or need tutoring.
The professor who is teaching the course is best person for your son/daughter to contact for assistance. The faculty member’s contact information is usually listed on the course syllabus, along with his/her available office hours. Although scheduling an appointment is usually best, sometimes the professor may be available before or right after a class. For additional help with coursework, free tutoring and study skills training are available from the Learning Assistance Center. They may be reached at (210) 829-3870.
UIW is pleased to have a world-class talented faculty and excellent resources. Although too numerous to list in their entirety, among the ways students are engaged academically at UIW are: involvement in our Learning communities (two courses linked that share common themes to create a dynamic interactive and integrated learning experience); laboratory experiences with faculty, internship experiences; attendance at guest lectures, exhibits, and performances; Study Abroad; service learning; participation in the McNair Scholars Program, and many more.
First year students are often reluctant to acknowledge that they are having difficulty with a course or instructor. Encourage your son/daughter to discuss his/her concerns with the academic advisor. The advisor will assist him/her with developing a plan to resolve the issues.
The services provided depend upon the individual student’s needs. The University ensures accessibility to its programs, services and activities for students with documented disabilities. Accessibility is accomplished through the provision of a wide variety of services tailored to each student’s documented needs and strengths. To qualify for services, the student must provide the Office of Student Disability Services with the appropriate documentation of his or her disability at the time services and/or accommodations are requested. For more information contact them at http://www.uiw.edu/sds/
A student should start exploring major options as soon as possible. We prefer the student to select a major by the end of their second semester. The First Year Engagement office will work with your student to help them understand the process and offers assessments to match student skills sets and preferences with appropriate majors. Your son/daughter’s academic advisor will also be helpful in clarifying degree requirements for each major.
During their first semester of their freshman year or as soon after that as possible! The Career Services office can assist students with information on how to select an academic major, self assessment tools, career exploration, resume writing, developing interviewing skills, internships, summer jobs and career employment. Students should visit the Career Services office no later than their junior year to benefit from assistance with full-time employment after graduation.
To compete in world markets, students must be able to work successfully with other cultures. Thus, a global education is an essential ingredient for future success. There are literally thousands of programs available to UIW students and the costs of studying in another country are comparable to what students will pay for their education in the U.S. UIW has agreements with over 80 schools in more than 30 countries. Students are encouraged to study at a Sister School Campus as an Exchange Student or to enroll in any of the other approved universities abroad. Students might be eligible to receive financial assistance in the form of loans and grants to study outside the U.S. Students interested in International Internships, can enroll on the UIW campus for internship credit while actually completing the work experience abroad.
The decision to work on or off campus is a personal one and depends on a student’s financial need, family responsibilities, involvement in university activities, and the ability to manage their coursework and time. Many students who work find that working on campus is preferable to working off campus. The duties often provide excellent work experience in a supportive environment. It is also an opportunity to engage with administrators, staff and faculty outside of a classroom. Many students who work 10-15 hours a week find that they become better managers of their time and that they are able to develop skills useful for future employment. As upperclassmen, many students find it beneficial to match their need/desire to work with their academic requirements through a paid (when possible) internship experience.
All full-time students are required to participate in the student accident and sickness insurance plan, unless proof of existing personal domestic coverage is provided. The insurance fee is automatically charged to the student’s account. Domestic students may waive the insurance, but must provide information about their alternative policy by the waiver deadline. More information about enrolling in or waiving the insurance can be obtained by logging on to: http://www.sas-mn.com or by contacting the Office of Health Services at 829-6017 or online at http://www.uiw.edu/health/hinsurance.html
International students are required to enroll in the University insurance plan and can obtain more information about the policy at http://www.sas-mn.com or by contacting the Office of Health Services at 829-6017.
Having a car is a personal decision for the student and his/her family. Most classes that students attend will take place on the main campus in buildings that are a walking distance of only 3-10 minutes apart. UIW provides a free shuttle bus service that circles the campus from 6:45 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 6:45-12:00p.m. on Friday. On weekends, the bus also makes stops at nearby shopping centers. In addition, VIA, the local San Antonio bus transit system, has bus stops located adjacent to the campus and discount passes for students are available at the Student Center Information Desk.
Students may find a vehicle a necessity if they are in majors that require off-campus internships or practicum experiences, or if they are employed off campus. There is a parking fee for students who have a vehicle on campus.
The University of the Incarnate Word and the surrounding community are relatively safe. We encourage students to take responsibility for their personal safety and that of their belongings by using good judgment, and taking reasonable precautions. The University Police are available 24 hours a day, every day of the week and students are encouraged to contact them with any concern regarding their personal safety and/or their knowledge of criminal activity. Visit their website http://www.uiw.edu/police/ for crime statistics and safety tips.
The University of the Incarnate Word, like other colleges across the country, is concerned about students’ use of drugs and alcohol. Through speakers, programs, counseling, educational opportunities, and policies and procedures, UIW actively seeks to limit students’ use of alcohol and drugs; educate students about the risks of the use of alcohol and drugs, and refer students who are at risk to resources for assistance.
Although UIW’s efforts to reduce alcohol and drug use on campus are primarily educational, students who choose to violate University policy and or state laws may face educational and/or legal consequences for their actions.
If a student is accused of violating the UIW Student Code of Conduct, he/she will be asked meet with the Dean of Campus Life or her designee to discuss the allegation(s) of misconduct. The Dean will advise the student of his/her rights and the procedure to determine if the student is responsible for the alleged misconduct. Student’s who violate local, state and federal law (especially if the violation occurs on campus) are also subject to the University’s review of the misconduct. UIW’s procedures are independent of any civil or criminal court proceedings, thus the University will make a determination about the alleged misconduct independent of legal proceedings. Read more about the Student Code of Conduct and UIW’s procedures in the Student Handbook.
UIW offers a myriad of opportunities to get involved socially on campus. The Welcome Dinner is one of the first opportunities for first-year students to become part of the UIW community. The Offices of the Dean of Campus Life also host Welcome Week during the first week of school. Opportunities to get involved include a Cardinal Camp, a Campus Ministry retreat, Student Activities Fair (featuring information about UIW clubs and organizations), Movie Night, Casino Night, etc. In addition to other Campus Life Office events, throughout the academic year there are social activities planned by student organizations, Greek Life, Athletics and the academic departments on campus. Students should contact the Office of the Dean of Campus Life for more information about ways to get involved on campus.
Dean of Campus Life: Dr. Renée T. Moore
For information or assistance call the office of the Dean of Campus Life at
(210) 829-6034 or any of the other Campus Life Services:
Counseling Services: Dr. Keith Tucker, Director (210) 829-6017
Student Health Services: Marveen Mahon, Director (210) 829-6017
Residence Life: Diane Sanchez, Director (210) 829-6034
University Events and Student Programs: Paul Ayala (210) 829-6034