The Office of Residence Life recognizes that attending college is a time of transition for both students and parents. Research also shows that parents and families are the first people students contact when they experience a challenge at school.
While students attend college to receive an education, it is also known that they spend the majority of their time at college outside of the classroom. This means that your student will spend a great many hours in their residence hall. Residence Halls are great environments that support student retention and academic achievement. We encourage your student to meet new friends, attend hall programs and participate in Hall Council.
Guiding your Student to Independence
This comprehensive guide is the perfect resource to ensure your student is on the right path to independence. It's a partnership between the BGSU Staff and the families. Together we can prepare your student for a bright future.
This guide was handed out during the Move-In Parent Session. Watch one of the sessions here.
The Office of Residence Life is here as a partner with parents and families. As an office, the staff are here to support you and your student's success at college. Our professional Hall Directors are a great starting point for you as parents. Resident Advisors are a great resource for your student when they have a question or concern.
As students transition from children to adults, how do you keep abreast of what is going on in their lives, especially if they aren't very communicative? It is common for parents and families to inquire about their student's well-being.
Before you contact University Staff, consider the following:
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) | When students take on the legal status of “adult,” FERPA governs how BGSU handles student records. This federal law does not allow us to share any part of a student’s record with anyone without the student’s written consent. This includes student conduct records, academic records and any records pertaining to student housing. The only exception is in an emergency.
Being denied access can be difficult to comprehend, particularly for families who pay for their student’s education.
It is important for your student to be the primary source of information that you receive. Encourage them to communicate openly and honestly with you about issues involving their education. This is a critical skill to develop and helps build trust and respect between families and students.
Consider asking these Top 10 questions to help your student transition to the college environment and assist with his or her success!
1. Are you going to class?
Skipping class is the #1 reason many students fail.
2. Are you studying at least 25 hrs per week?
College is a full-time job. Students should be in class, studying and doing homework 40 hours per week. This hard work will pay off in the years to come.
3. Are you scheduling your "goof-off" time?
Everyone needs downtime, it’s how we absorb and make meaning from what is learned in the classroom, but new college students need to learn to manage their "goof-off" time.
4. Do you know the last day to withdraw from classes?
After this date you cannot withdraw from a class and dropping below a full-time student status can affect your financial aid.
5. Are you starting your assignments early?
The unexpected happens. Students get sick, their computer dies, etc. Starting assignments early plans for the UNEXPECTED.
6. Have you seen your advisor?
Students need to meet with an advisor (usually in October) to plan for next semester.
7. Have you gone to your professor's office hours?
Professors like to help students. Encourage them to visit the professor during office hours. The earlier this relationship is established, the more comfortable they will be to ask for help.
8. Are you going to tutoring or visiting the Learning Commons?
The BGSU Learning Commons offers a number of resources, such as tutors or study sessions to help students succeed at BGSU.
9. Have you formed a study group?
Studying complex material is more efficient with a study group. It’s helpful if they make connections with people in their classes by forming a study group.
10. Have you talked to your Resident Advisor (RA) about it?
Resident Advisors are a great resource for students. If your student is having difficulties with their roommate, is experiencing issues relating to homesickness or adjusting to college, please encourage your student to talk to their RA. They are armed with numerous resources to help mediate situations or help your student make connections on campus.
What is an RA?
Resident Advisors (RA) are one of the best resources available to your student. Resident Advisors are a great starting point for your student to approach with concerns or issues. RAs are BGSU students who live in your student’s residence hall community and are at least in his/her 2nd year of living in the residence halls at BGSU. These students are knowledgeable when it comes to campus resources, mediating conflicts, helping students to make connections with one another, and encouraging campus involvement among students. RAs also help to promote safety and security in the residence halls to make sure that students living in the halls can succeed at BGSU. RAs are full-time students and many of BGSU’s RAs are involved in numerous clubs and organizations across campus as well.
What is Hall Director or Graduate Hall Director?
Hall Directors are a great starting point and resource for parents to approach with an issue or concern. Hall directors are Masters-degree attained, full-time employees at Bowling Green State University that oversee the general operations of the residence hall communities. Hall Directors supervise the RA staff and Graduate Hall Directors.
Graduate Hall Directors are bachelor’s degree attained, part-time employees that work with the Hall Director to oversee the general operations of the residence hall communities. Graduate Hall Directors are also enrolled as full-time graduate students in BGSU’s College Student Personnel program.
Both Hall Directors and Graduate Hall Directors live and work in the residence hall to help handle issues that happen after normal business hours in addition to their office hours. As trained crisis responders, Hall Directors and Graduate Hall Directors help RAs handle larger situations to help keep students and the campus community safe and secure.
My Student is having issues with their roommate. What should i do?
The best thing that a parent or family member can do for their student is to encourage them to talk to their roommate about the issue. Often times, the root issue between roommates is that there is not open communication between the roommates to discuss frustrations or concerns. Roommate issues are great opportunities for your student to grow into a mature adult by opening the line of communication with their roommate. Remind your student that face-to-face conversations are best when communicating frustrations and that using text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail are not the most effective ways to communicate. These forms of communication during roommate issues usually make the situation worse.
If your student needs further assistance after trying to talk to their roommate, encourage your student to talk to his/her RA. RAs will work to mediate the situation with your student and his/her roommate.
The RA will know both the student and their roommate and be able to be a neutral resource to both to facilitate a formal conversation and enter into a roommate agreement about acceptable behavior.
Please keep in mind that the Office of Residence Life does not move students due to differences of race, ethnicity, religion and beliefs, sexual orientation, physical ability, or any other social identity. If your student is voicing concerns due to how his/her roommate identifies, the best thing to do is to encourage your student to talk to their roommate and develop a further understanding of the roommate. We tell students that college is a great time to learn how to interact with people that are different from themselves. It is helpful to remind your student that one of the best ways to learn this very important life skill is to live with someone who is different from than himself/herself.
My student has taken all of the necessary steps but they still want to move. What should I do now?
After making every effort to reconcile the issues between roommates, if a student still is not happy living with his/her roommate, the student may choose to move to a vacant spot. The Office of Residence Life does not force a roommate to move out of a living space, even if one of the roommates believes that the other has more of a responsibility for their problems. If a roommate does not wish to live with his/her current roommate, it is the responsibility of the roommate with the concern to move.
There is a two-week freeze on moving room assignments at the beginning and end of each semester, so we can identify the vacancies in each building. As a result, students must stay in their current room assignment for at least two weeks, but after the first two weeks and the student would still like to move, the student should to the front desk of the building. At the front desk, there will an accurate report of the vacant spaces in the building that the student could possibly move into. Once selecting a vacant space from the list at the desk, the student can go online to his or her MyBGSU account to fill out a room change request form. The room change request form is located on the left side of the page under “My Room and Meals.” This form is only available Monday through Friday from 8:00AM to 5:00PM. The student must fill out the form and wait to receive a confirmation email stating that his/her request was approved or denied. If the request was approved, the student will be able to check into his/her new space at the building’s front desk on the date indicated in the email. They must start the process of moving by going to the front desk to get the key and other important information about the room.
Students will have until midnight of the night they check into their new space to move out of their former space, so they will not be taking up two rooms for more than 24 hours. Doing so could result in a charge for two rooms. In order to check out of the former space, the student must have all of their belongings out of the room and must find their RA or another member of the hall staff to conduct the room check. The check out is completed when the student and RA go to the building’s front desk to turn in the student’s key and paperwork.
I haven't heard from my student and I am concerned. what should I do?
First and foremost, try to remain calm and not jump to conclusions. While today’s generation of college students communicate more frequently with others than generations before, that’s not to say that there will not be times when your student isn’t able to answer the phone, text, or e-mail you back. Often times, students are busy with school work, clubs and organizations, jobs, or spending time with friends when family members call them.
It is important to set clear expectations about how often you and your student will communicate while they are at college. Sometimes students do not answer the phone when they feel that their families call too much. If you set clear expectations about how often you and your student will communicate, it will be easier to discern between a real emergency and a time when your student just does not feel like talking.
If your student does not answer when you attempt to contact him or her within the expectations that the two of you set, it may be helpful to send them a text message indicating that you are concerned. This may prompt them to give a quick reply, if he/she is busy and then can let you know a better time to talk.
If this method does not prompt a reply from your student and you feel enough time has passed to warrant concern, we recommend calling your student’s Hall Director to see if the student can be located and then asked to call you back. If the Hall Director is unable to locate your student, the last option is to call the University Police Department.
There’s a maintenance issue with my student’s room. What can I do to help them fix it?
It is difficult when something happens in your student’s room, and you’re not there to help them fix it as you might at your home, however, this is a great opportunity for your student to learn how to live as an independent adult by utilizing their resources to fix the issue. In the residence halls, students are able to submit a work order online through the University’s website (see instructions below). It is important that your student be the one to fill out the form, so that both your student and their roommate will be aware that someone may be entering into their room to fix the issue.
- Your student will need to have their BGSU username and password to access the system.
- Click on the "Submit a Request" link in the navigational menu on the left.
- Select the building where repairs are needed.
- Select the room number if you know it. If you do not know the room number, simply describe the location in the same field where you describe the problem.
- Describe the problem or need in the textbox "Request".
- Please make separate requests for distinct tasks since different jobs may be assigned to different workers.
- Click "Submit".
- Close Browser Window to log out.
My student was documented in the residence hall for a policy violation. What is going to happen?
Your student may have called you worried that they will “get kicked out of school” and unsure of what will happen next. This reaction is very common. Assure your student that they most likely will not be removed from BGSU and talk with them more about what happened. Often times, simply talking to someone about the situation helps students to calm down a little bit.
If a potential policy violation occurs, a member of hall staff documents the situation and all students involved in the situation meet with the Hall Director. Let your student know that they will receive an e-mail in his/her BGSU e-mail account from his/her Hall Director informing your student of a meeting that the Hall Director scheduled using your student’s class schedule. In this meeting, the Hall Director will get to know more about your student and try to build a relationship with the student in order to make them feel more comfortable and have an open dialogue with the Hall Director. The Hall Director will also let your student read the incident report about the situation where your student was documented. Students will be asked to recount their side of the story, so that the Hall Director can hear multiple perspectives in a situation.
Meeting with the Hall Director does not necessarily mean that your student is responsible for the policy violation. Some students meet with the Hall Director when they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. In many of those situations, the meeting serves as a great opportunity for the student to have one on one time with the Hall Director to talk about his/her adjustment to college and good decision-making.
For students who were responsible for violating a residence hall or University policy, the Hall Director will ask the student questions to see if the student understands the issue in violating the policy and the reason the policy is in place. After having an educational conversation with the student, the Hall Director may charge the student with violating the policy, if the Hall Director determines a student’s responsibility. For residence hall policies, the Hall Director will determine the sanctions and hear the case with the student in the meeting. For larger issues that are outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, the student will be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students for the case to be heard.
The conduct process at Bowling Green State University is meant to be a way for students to learn responsibility through their experiences in college. The process is not punitive in nature, but educational.
I want to visit my student in their residence hall. What should I do?
When coming to campus to visit your student, we ask that you contact your student prior to visiting so he/she can meet you in the lobby of the residence hall. Family members, like all other guests, need to be escorted while in the hall for the safety of all of our students. As a result, hall staff will not allow guests to walk through the residence hall by themselves to knock on a student’s door. Hall staff may call the student or go to the student’s room to let the student know that he/she has a visitor waiting in the lobby. When planning a trip to visit your student, it is best to communicate when you will arrive, so he/she can meet you.
Parent Online Resources:
- bgsu.edu – Getting to know the University’s web site can help you encourage your student to utilize the resources available to him or her.
- bgsu.edu/studenthandbook - Encourage your student to read the Student Handbook, so they’ll know their rights and responsibilities as a BGSU Student.
- collegeparents.org – An online resource with numerous articles for parents of today’s college students. Because it’s a national resource to parents all across the country, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re most likely not alone in what you’re experiencing with your student.
- “Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years” – Karen Levin Coburn
- “The Naked Roommate and 107 Other Issues You May Run Into at College” - Harlan Cohen
- “When Your Kid Goes to College: A Parents Survival Guide” – Carol Barkin
- “You’re On Your Own, But I’m Here if You Need Me: Mentoring Your Child During the College Years” by Marjorie Savage