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Resources for Family Members & Support People

How to Help Your Student

We love how much you love and support your student. And, your student has another layer of support to guide them through their journey as a UNC Bear. Your student is growing, learning, and developing their own decision-making processes. We curated some ways you can help your student as you take a step back.


FERPA prevents your student's advisors, professors, and support from sharing information with you. If you call UNC, you are likely to run into FERPA blocks on some of your questions.

The best thing you can do to help your student is encouraging them to talk to their advisor directly. However, your student can submit FERPA Consent forms with our Registrar.

Here are a few questions you can ask an advisor.

Question 1: can you tell me about the academic support and services my student has access to on campus? What do you recommend as support for the type of class my student is taking?

Question 2: How long does it typically take students to complete this degree program? What requirements and general timeline can we expect students to follow?

Question 3: How can I help my student be successful this semester?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 C.F.R. Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

  • Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
  • Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
  • Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 C.F.R. § 99.31):
    • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
    • Other schools to which a student is transferring;
    • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
    • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
    • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
    • Accrediting organizations;
    • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; 
    • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
    • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a P.T.A. bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.

Academic Advising: from the first semester to graduation

All incoming first-year students are required to schedule and attend a New Student Registration session. To register and view available sessions, log into the Admissions portal. Your new Bear should also participate in a New Student Orientation to learn more about their new community of support.

At New Student Registration, your Bear will meet the professional and faculty advisors from their college to discuss their major and general 4-Year Plan. The advisors and student support staff help every Bear register for their first semester through URSA, your student's homepage for their UNC records and information.

After the initial New Student Registration session, each Bear is assigned an advisor to guide them through their degree plan.

When your Bear reaches their final semester (yay!), they will complete a Graduation Application. Our graduation specialists in the Registrar's Office review every application to ensure all the requirements have been met. If there are any issues with your student's application, they will be contacted by Bear Central with instructions on what to do next.

Your Bear might check in with their advisor and academic success at a few points in the semester. And some Bears receive more outreach and support based on their academic standing.


Early Progress Reports and Classroom Support

The professional advisors at UNC work with faculty to identify and reach out to students who need a boost of support early in the semester. Our Progress Report system allows faculty to communicate with advisors and success coaches about missing assignments, low grades, and other concerns.

Your Bear might receive emails from their college advising or success center inviting them in for help.


Next Semester Planning

Advisors begin scheduling appointments for the next semester planning nearly 2 months before registration opens. Your Bear has the opportunity to meet with their person--and potentially meet with a new advisor if they are considering a major change--with plenty of time to decide on a schedule.

Your Bear will receive emails about advising and registration until they connect with their advisors.


Registration Opens

UNC follows a tiered registration schedule that allows students closer to graduation more opportunity to get the classes they need for their degree.

If your Bear hasn't registered yet, they might receive an email from their advisor to check in on their plans and remind them that those classes are filling up.


End of Semester Support

Advisors might follow up with students at the end of the semester to help them prepare for finals and see how things went. If adjustments need to be made, such as repeating a class or considering a new path, your Bear has the chance to talk it out with their support person.

If your Bear is working through Academic Probation (it happens, and we are here to help them get back on track), their advisor will help them through the next steps of the process based on their semester grades.

Year 1 Success

At UNC, we have systems to support first-year students while understanding that mistakes happen and learning new, more successful habits takes time. Your Bear can rely on their advisors and success coaches to help them as they adjust to life as a college student.

Our academic support systems consider four areas of development in their programming that lead to more confident students and graduates.

  • Intellectual Development

    Intellectual Development relates directly to your student's time and confidence in the classroom. The advisors and success coaches will help your Bear build routines for studying, learn how to access the syllabus, and navigate academic processes or questions.

    In the first year, we want Bears to build their skill and confidence to:

    • Adapt and apply appropriate information processing and strategic learning strategies to their courses and learning experiences.
    • Use effective research skills to retrieve and evaluate information from a variety of sources.
    • Use written and oral communication to discover, develop, articulate, and defend ideas and viewpoints.

    Your Bear can also access Library SupportTutorial Services, the Writing Center, and other academic resources to help them in their first year. You can help your student by encouraging and supporting them in using these resources early in the semester.

  • Personal Development

    Personal Development relates to your student's sense of self and purpose at UNC. The advisors and success coaches help your Bear identify what motivates them, feel confident exploring new subjects and activities and learn the campus.

    In the first year, we want Bears to build their skill and confidence to:

    • Describe the inter-relationship between goal-setting, motivation, and time management.
    • Apply strategies to effectively set goals, develop and maintain personal motivation, and manage time-based on priorities.

    Your Bear can try new activities like Outdoor Pursuits or Intramural Sports at the Campus Recreation Center and join a support group at our Counseling Center to develop their personal habits.

  • Community Development

    Community Development relates to your student's sense of belonging at UNC. The advisors and success coaches will encourage your student to find their micro-community and engage with social activities in their colleges to become part of the university.

    In the first year, we want Bears to build their skill and confidence to:

    • Describe processes, strategies, and resources, and explain the implications of their decisions related to their overall personal wellness.
    • Describe concepts of diversity and recognize diverse perspectives.

    Your Bear can explore new social groups with the Office Student Engagement and build their skill in relating to people from a broad range of identities through the UNITE Cohort program.

  • Professional Development

    Professional Development may seem too early for their first year, but we are preparing your student for their future. Your student will work with their advisor or success coach to ensure their major and class choices align with their longer-term goals while maintaining a focus on present success. The Liberal Arts Curriculum, which students typically complete in the first two years, offers many choices that will enhance your students knowledge and skill potential when chosen with purpose.

    In the first year, we want Bears to build skill and confidence to:

    • Use effective collaboration and teamwork skills to work productively with others.
    • Identify relevant academic policies, processes, and procedures related to advising, course planning, and major exploration.
    • Identify career options that are consistent with personal values, interests, and aptitudes.

    The first year is not too early for your Bear to explore our Center for Career Readiness and connect with Bear Alumni for insights and inspiration.

Your Bear might benefit from three courses in their first year specifically. All Bears must complete their Written Communication and Math courses as part of the Colorado Core Curriculum (and our LAC requirements), and Bears who take University 101 tend to meet their academic goals.

Written Communication

Bears who complete their Written Communication courses early in their programs build skills in composition and research that help them in their major courses.

Ask your Bear which writing classes they are thinking of taking.


Mathematics helps Bears increase their quantitative literacy and problem-solving skills. Bears who complete this course early can increase their foundation with general math functions, algebra, statistical analysis, and more.

Ask your Bear which Math class they are thinking of taking and if they need the ALEKS Math Placement.

University 101

University 101 is a course your Bear might take. It is designed to help undergraduate students make connections at UNC and gain skills in research, time planning, information processing, and motivation.

Ask your Bear if they have considered University 101.

How to Support your Bear