Help your student become independent
Going away to college is often the first step in your student’s life toward becoming independent. It can be hard to watch them struggle and make mistakes without stepping in. There are many ways that you can help your student while encouraging independence and self sufficiency. Here are some of our suggestions:
- Who can my student talk to in their residence hall?
- Who can my student talk to on campus?
- Where does my student receive important information?
- What if my student is not getting along with their roommate? Can they get a room change?
- My student would like furniture added/removed from their room or they are having other maintenance problems (no heat, leaking plumbing, no power to electrical outlets, blown light bulb). What should they do?
Your student has a resident assistant (RA) assigned to their floor. They are students who are trained to help your student transition to college life, build community, mediate conflicts and handle emergencies/crises. If your student is having a difficult time transitioning, doesn’t know where to go to get involved on campus or has any questions they can talk to their RA.
Your student has a residence hall director (RHD) or hall manager (HM) who serves as the administrator of the building. RHDs are full time, live-in professionals who have a bachelor’s or master’s degree and HMs are part-time, live-in professionals who have a bachelor’s degree and are working toward their master’s degree. They maintain daily office hours Monday-Friday and are available by appointment if the office hours do not fit into your student’s schedule. If your student has any concerns about the residence hall or needs to ask questions or to talk, they can talk to their RHD.
There are many other services that your student can take advantage of if they have an issue or concern.
- Counseling Center
- Student Health Service
- Career Services
- Academic Support and Achievement Program (ASAP)
- Multicultural Life and Diversity Office
- Student Conduct Office
All College correspondence occurs via their SUNY Cortland email account, through myRedDragon and through their on-campus mailbox. Please encourage your student to check all three of these on a daily basis to receive important information regarding financial aid, important dates and deadlines.
After your student has been here for a month, they will fill out a Roommate Agreement Form with their roommate. This is a time where they can talk to their roommate about study and sleep habits, guests and sharing items. Please encourage your student to be as honest as possible with their roommate.
If a conflict arises between your student and their roommate, encourage them to talk to their roommate about the concern — many times the roommate isn’t even aware that they are doing something that is a concern.
If the conflict continues, encourage your student to first seek out the RA for their floor. The RA is trained in conflict-mediation and will set up a time to meet with your student and their roommate to talk through the concern and reach a compromise. Encourage your student to keep the RA apprised of the situation.
Room changes as a result of roommate conflict are not common. Please encourage your student to keep an open mind through the mediation process and to remember that they need to be flexible and willing to compromise too.
My student would like furniture added/removed from their room or there are maintenance problems such as no heat, leaking plumbing, no power to electrical outlets, blown light bulb. What can they do?
The RHD can submit a work order.
- Your student should contact their RHD with the request. If they email the RHD, they should include their room number, the work request detailing the issue, and times that they are available.
- If the problem needs immediate attention, your student should find any RA or the RHD. The staff member will call in the work request to have the problem fixed immediately.