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Frequently Asked Questions

Parent Information

Welcome to Dakota Wesleyan University! We want you and your student to be happy and comfortable here. We've compiled a list of things you may want to know, especially if this is the first time you are sending a child to college.

College is not grade 13!
There will be some changes. It is not uncommon for your child to experience some initial adjustment problems between your home and ours. The rules may be different. They will not have a curfew here, and may not expect to have one when they return home. They are likely to develop new habits regarding work, sleep, studying and eating. They will be sharing a room with someone and the bathroom with an entire floor. These things may cause some initial anxiety. It is perfectly normal and generally temporary.

Phones
Each room is provided with local phone service and voicemail. Students will receive their room phone number with their housing assignment by mail during the summer. Students need to provide their own telephone. Long distance service is not available on campus, so it is recommended for students to use either calling cards or cell phones.

Maintaining contact
College students might not write or call nearly as often as parents wish. They do so much writing for classes, their recreational writing may be minimal (or nonexistent). This does not mean that you should stop writing or calling them, however. Everyone loves to receive news from home and/or friends. It can be a real day-brightener. It’s a good idea to schedule the time you will call with your son or daughter - college students have the most unusual schedules. You could also indicate what the best time for them to reach you would be. The DWU voicemail system will pick up after four rings. If it picks up immediately, then someone is already on the phone. E-mail works great if you have access to it. It is cheaper than either a phone call or a letter and your child can access it from several campus locations. All students are provided with an e-mail address that they keep until graduation.

Involvement outside the classroom
Studies show that students who are involved in campus life are more likely to stay in school.

When students get to campus, they are searching for a sense of belonging. So, they look to their peer groups for acceptance and camaraderie. Getting involved in a campus organization is the best way for them to belong.

If your child says he/she would like to join a campus group or organization, encourage it. They can focus on academics while also participating in activities outside the classroom. Encourage your student to get involved, you’ll be guiding them on the pathway to both academic and social success.

Release of Information
College personnel cannot release information regarding your child without signed permission from your child, even if you are helping with the bills! (Your child may have several signed releases on campus, each one for different purposes and pertaining to different information). The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student’s educational records. It applies to schools receiving funds through a United States Department of Education program. Once a student enters college, information from his student record cannot be shared with others, including parents, unless the student gives written permission. Some records may be disclosed without consent in some special cases, including health and safety emergencies. For DWU FERPA notification information, go to /handbook/code.htm#records.

Laundry
Our machines require 50 cents to wash a load and 25 cents to dry. You may also want to give them some tips about how to do laundry to prevent him/her from ending up with the most unusual colors!

Liability
The university does not assume liability for loss or damage from any source. It is a good idea to check your homeowner’s policy to see if it will cover your child's property while at school. Most do, but if not, you or your child may want to look into renter's insurance. It is normally very reasonable and can save you both a headache later.

Eating habits
Your child's eating habits are likely to change. We offer three meal plans to meet the needs of most students. S/he may want to snack/eat at times when the cafeteria is not open, like late-night study sessions. He/She is experiencing so many new things that it is not uncommon for him/her to gain weight during the first year - it's called the “freshman fifteen” and most lose it later.

Change
Life changes dramatically when a student goes to college. There will be adjustments that must be made and at times they can seem overwhelming. However, this time should be viewed as:

  • an opportunity for growth;
  • a chance to know your child on a different level;
  • a way to learn about one another;
  • a chance for you both to try new things and stretch your comfort zones;
  • an opportunity to miss one another and gain a renewed sense of appreciation for one another; and
  • the start of an adult relationship between parent and child.
Dakota Wesleyan University
1200 W. University Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301
800-333-8506
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Last updated: 2/2/12
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