Congratulations! As the parent, guardian, or caregiver of a first-year college student, you should be proud of the job you have done to prepare your student (and yourself) for the transitions that lie ahead.

As your new student begins college, you may wonder what you can do to enhance your student’s success. Just as each student’s college experience is unique, the answer to this question will be different for every family and will depend on many factors.

The first year of college can be a time filled with a variety of emotions, for both parents and students. Multiple emotions create numerous internal questions, which are often intermingled with the more immediate, practical questions regarding resources on campus. These questions can create a stressful and overwhelming time for first-year students, and their families. Therefore, we provided a resource corner for parents and families to find helpful information and resources to understand college expectations and how to best support your student through the college experience.

1. CSI’s New Student Orientation Program

A mandatory requirement of all incoming students with less than six transfer credits, parents of first-year students should ensure that their student has scheduled their New Student Orientation (NSO). NSO is an opportunity for new students to become engage with the college community and learn about campus resources available at CSI. Although the parents and families cannot attend NSO due to space limitations, it is important to ensure your student has registered and attends their scheduled NSO in order to enroll at the College of Staten Island. Many parents of today’s college students have been actively involved in managing the details, schedules, and even conflicts of their student, but college life offers the opportunity for students to grow and develop more independently, and it begins with participation in NSO.

2. How Parents and Colleges Communicate

Although colleges provide information to parents, a federal law restricts colleges from releasing certain types of student information. This does mean that parents cannot get information about their student’s academic records, disciplinary cases, or health concerns. Rather, it means that parents must first look to their student for this information. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as amended establishes requirements regarding the privacy of student records. Under FERPA, all parental rights are transferred from you to your child once the student either reaches 18 years of age or enters a postsecondary institution.

FERPA governs:

  • the release of educational records maintained by the College
  • access to educational records

3. The Academic Calendar

The College’s academic year has a unique rhythm, and parents should be familiar with it so they can understand and support their students throughout the first year of college. Parents and families may view a copy of the current Academic Calendar, which contains important information regarding tuition refund dates, withdrawal dates, college closed dates, conversion days, dates of no classes scheduled, and appeal dates.

The First Weeks of College: The first weeks of college consist of a series of adjustments, some small and some large. There are countless new freedoms, many of which students have been eagerly anticipating. However, there are also new responsibilities, including some that students haven’t really considered before but are now experiencing as they face all the choices and decisions that are part of college life including:

  • Meals, laundry, cleaning, personal health, money management, and roommate issues
  • Whether or not to get up and attend class
  • How much time to devote to studying and preparing homework assignments
  • Which campus activities and people they want to devote their free time each day

So much freedom and responsibility can feel overwhelming. Parents can help support students through their first weeks of college (and beyond) by talking to your student about problems as soon as they arise because it is the best way to ease worries. If the problem cannot be solved within the family, remind your student that there are many places on campus where they can go for help and assistance. See a list of the resources at the end of this page that you can recommend to your first-year student to take advantage of to help address the challenges they may be facing.

New Student Programs also offers peer-mentoring for any interested students to help them navigate the challenges of college life. Interested students can contact our office at 718.982.2529 or view our New Student Mentoring Program page for more information.

4. Mid-Terms Exams, Academic Advising, and Registration

The year’s first set of exams, often called “mid-terms,” can be cause for increased stress and anxiety among first-year students. Some students perform below their expectations, while others gain increased self-confidence as they do well on their exams. Parents and families should be good listeners as students vent their frustrations, but they can also remind students of their past successes in the classroom. This is a time to offer encouragement and to reinforce the student’s efforts to study and do well in classes. Parents and families can also remind their student of campus services available to help with study skills, writing assignments, subject tutoring, test preparation, and stress management. See our list of resources as the end of the page.

At CSI, after students initially register for their first semester of classes during NSO, students must meet with an academic advisor each term after that before being allowed to register for the next semester of classes. We encouraged parents and families to view the Center for Advising and Academic Success (CAAS) parent page to learn more about the expectations of the advisement process at CSI.

5. Co-Curricular and Wellness Opportunities

CSI offers vast opportunities for students to get involved in clubs, student government, campus services, and events. Co-curricular activities allow students to develop or refine leadership skills, meet friends, and explore new interests outside the classroom. Students are encouraged to get involved in activities or athletics, but balance must be maintained so that academics do not suffer from neglect.

A Listing of Important Campus Resources

CSI Campus Map
Public Safety’s Annual Security Report
FERPA Directory Form
FERPA Release Form
FERPA Rights Concerning Education Records
Gazetteer – Student Handbook

Office of Academic Support
Building 1L, Room 117
718.982.3964

Bursar
Building 2A, Room 105
718.982.2060

Center for Advising and Academic Success
Building 1A, Room 101
718.982.2280

Center for Career and Professional Development
Building 1A, Room 105
718.982.2300

Center for Global Engagement
Building 2A, Room 206
718.982.2100

The Center for Student Accessibility
Building 1P, Room 101
718.982.2510

The Children’s Center
Building 2R
718.982.3190

The Counseling Center
Building 1A, Room 109
718.982.2391

College Testing Office
Building 1A, Room 104
718.982.2380

CSI Student Housing
Dolphin Cove South
718.982.3019

CSI Student Technology Helpdesk
Building 2A, Room 306
718.982.3695

Health and Wellness Services
Building 1C, Room 112
718.982.3045

The Student Financial Aid Office
Building 2A, Room 402
718.982.2601

New Student Programs
Building 2A, Room 208
718.82.2596

The Office of Student Life
Building 1C, Room 201
718.982.3088

Parking & DolphinCard Services
Building 3A, Room 106
718.982.2294

Office of Public Safety
Building 2A, Room 108
718.982.2113

Office of Recruitment and Admissions
Building 2A, Room 103
718.982.2010

Office of the Registrar
Building 2A, Room 110
718.982.2120

Sports and Recreation Center
Building 1R
718.982.3160

Veterans Support Services
Building 1C, Room 219