Parents & Families

We recognize that you have a strong interest in your student’s educational experiences in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech and because you are your student’s greatest supporter, we know that families play a very important role in a college student’s success. Together we recognize that students must make many adjustments to their daily routine as they transition from high school to college. This may very well be the first time they are assuming full responsibility for their day-to-day actions. Not only are young college students developing an adult identity, they must also take on the responsibility of making their own decisions. Your student will be meeting new people every day, may be living in a brand new place, and definitely will be taking on academics far more challenging than what they experienced in high school. Our students must step out of their comfort zone and adjust their routines and habits in order to accommodate daily life on the Virginia Tech campus. Your understanding, encouragement, and support are key to making this transition as smooth as possible for your student.

Helpful Suggestions for Parents & Families

Consider these suggestions as you and your student adjust to college life:

  • Communicate with your student.
  • Encourage your student to visit their advisor regularly, at least once per semester.
  • Encourage your student to take responsibility for academic and other decisions.
  • Support their accountability.
  • Encourage your student to discuss any confusing policies or procedures with their advisor.
  • Consult the university calendar before planning family activities. Pay particular attention to the final examination schedule. Access Dates & Deadlines published by the University Registrar.
  • Encourage your student to visit instructors during their office hours.
  • Encourage your student to utilize the campus resources. These are services covered by your tuition and fees.
  • Download and save the Undergraduate Catalog so you can easily reference academic policies and procedures.
  • Visit the College’s website regularly at to keep current with events and

During your student’s time at Virginia Tech, he or she will be learning new things about the world and about themselves. Let them know you are interested in their decisions and that you care about what they are doing. Reassure them and encourage their success. Assure them that they have the intelligence, character, and strength to succeed and, more importantly, that everything worthwhile takes time.

Tips for Parents/Family Members of First-Generation Students

  • Learn more about Virginia Tech and keep current with campus happenings at
  • Follow news from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies through our website and social media outlets.
  • Know what campus resources and services are available to your student. Remember that parent/family support is key to the academic success of college students!
  • Remind your student to write down contact information, the date, and comments when they speak with campus personnel in order to streamline follow-up communications.
  • Consider that your student may not have the same amount of time to devote to family responsibilities as they did before starting college.
  • Remember that pursuing higher education does not mean that students will lose the family values that they were raised with.
  • Take time to learn about college processes and resources in order to better understand what your student is experiencing.
  • College is a major transition for both students and their families. Be sure to allow ample time and extra patience as you all settle into this brand new experience together.

What do first generation college students want their parents to know?

Mainly, that college can be a stressful time. It is a very exciting time but it is without question a completely new environment in which to adapt. Students are making decisions about their academic plans. They are learning new subject matter and gaining deeper knowledge of subjects previously studied. They are balancing their time to accommodate attending class, studying, research, completing assignments, learning about the campus and its resources, and meeting lots of faculty, staff, and other students. They are developing a social life with people they’ve never met before. These activities are challenging for even the most disciplined individual! Please know that they are doing their very best to work through the new challenges and opportunities that are being presented to them every single day. Our first generation students want you to understand all that they are experiencing and, more than anything, that they want your support and encouragement. Knowing you believe in them will contribute exponentially to their college success and happiness.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to educational records. This law, also known as the Buckley Amendment, applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the US Department of Education. For more information about student privacy, please visit the Office of the University Registrar website.