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INTRODUCTIONS Welcome to Washington University in St. Louis. We are pleased to serve as your partner in the success of your student! We know you have invested a great deal into the success of your student, and we are honored that your student and your family have chosen Washington University. We take the responsibility of working with and supporting our students very seriously. We also know that our parents and families serve as important partners in the development and success of our students. “Bear Essentials” is a guide for parent and family members with information about WashU and the new student transition. This guide is meant to be brief and provide an introduction and overview of what to expect during your student’s first year and the resources available to you and your student. Two key websites, families.wustl.edu and newstudents.wustl.edu, provide information in greater detail. We encourage you and your student to explore those sites. Washington University is excited to welcome you and your student to our community.



The Transition to WashU


Campus Resources




Beyond the Transition



THE TRANSITION TO WASHU SUMMER BEFORE WASHU The summer before your student heads to college is a special one for your family. We hope you will have the opportunity to reflect and create memories. It can also be a busy time as your family prepares for your student’s arrival to WashU. There are many to-do items your student needs to accomplish before their arrival to campus in August. Please remind your student to complete the summer new student checklists that will arrive to your student’s permanent address in June, July, and August. In addition to the checklist we provide, it’s also a good time to make sure your student is prepared to live more independently. If your student is not already doing so, please use the summer months as an opportunity for them to do their own laundry, clean their own living space, and cook some simple meals. It’s also a good time to talk to them about things like managing their own money, expectations about how often and when they will be in contact with you - phone, texts, video calls - and how to advocate for themselves. You should also talk to your student about information you may expect them to share regarding their grades and academic progress. Your student’s record, including academic and health information, is their own and is not shared by the university with parents and family members. Lastly, please speak with them about your family’s values and expectations around alcohol, relationships, and making good decisions. The companion “Parent & Family Guide to Habif Health & Wellness” provides tips on how to start these conversations.


BEFORE YOU ARRIVE CHECKLISTS The checklists can also be found at newstudents.wustl.edu under the “Before You Arrive” tab.

TRANSFER STUDENTS Families of transfer students, please reference the transfer-specific checklist in your students’ copy of New Bearings.

MOVE-IN DAY AND BEAR BEGINNINGS Bear Beginnings is the official welcome for new students and their families to the university. As you begin making plans for your new student’s move to WashU, we encourage you to visit newstudents.wustl.edu and families.wustl.edu for the most up-to-date information around what to expect and how to prepare. You and your student will also receive the “Residential Life Move-In Guide” with detailed instruction and information around the logistics of Move-In Day.

ONLINE RESOURCES More information can be found at families.wustl.edu.

During Bear Beginnings, your student will engage with faculty, staff and fellow students connected with their residential college to learn about the experiences within their academic division. They will participate in social activies, programs and events to encourage new friendships and prepare them for the first weeks of classes. Parents and families are encouraged to join us for a virtual Parent & Family Orientation that will include campus resource and academic dean presentations.


ACADEMICS ACADEMIC DIVISIONS Your new student’s academic experience is greatly shaped by their academic division. We encourage your student to connect with their academic division for specific questions and concerns regarding their academic experience.







(314) 935-6800

(314) 935-6100



olin.wustl.edu bsba@olin.wustl.edu (314) 935-6315

samfoxschool.wustl.edu gbinning@wustl.edu (314) 935-6532

BEYOND BOUNDARIES beyondboundaries.wustl.edu

beyondboundaries@wustl.edu (314) 935-3040


SUPPORTING YOUR STUDENT FROM AFAR We encourage you to check-in periodically with your student about their experiences in and out of the classroom. Academically, it is common for a student to undergo an adjustment period, as the rigor and classroom environment of college are different. Successful students are more likely to utilize academic support resources, including students who may not have used such resources previously in high school. In addition, we encourage you to speak with your student about time-management and creating a personal task management system, whether an online tool or printed planner. ACADEMIC ADVISER Your student will receive a four-year adviser who will work to ensure your student graduates and completes academic milestones and requirements. Additionally, once your student declares an area of study, they will be matched to their major advisor. A major adviser is typically a faculty member in the field of study who will work to ensure your student fulfills major requirements and has specific knowledge about research and career opportunities in the field. Pre-professional advising is available for students interested in pre-health or pre-law.

OFFICE HOURS AND AVAILABILITY FOR FACULTY AND TEACHING ASSISTANTS Typically, office hours can be found on a student’s course syllabus and should be regarded as an additional opportunity for support. Many students take advantage of office visits, not only for when they may be having difficulty, but as a proactive way to connect with their professor, clarify understanding and to discuss research opportunities or potential career paths. THE TEACHING AND LEARNING CENTER The Learning Center offers scholastic support, in partnership with academic departments, in a variety of forms. These includes coursespecific, weekly structured study groups facilitated by trained peer mentors, as well as course-specific walk-in sessions and individual coaching for academic skills, such as time management, note taking or handling test anxiety. The Teaching and Learning Center is also home to The Writing Center and The Speaking Studio at WashU, providing assistance for any writing or public speaking project.


PREPARING FOR CLASSES In June, your student will be contacted by their academic adviser to discuss interest of study and course options for their fall classes. Students register for classes using WebSTAC, WashU’s online service portal, during an assigned registration time, typically mid-July. Your student will be contacted by email with instructions how to access their WebSTAC account prior to registration. Students can access syllabus information through Canvas, the university’s classroom management system. Although some faculty wait until the first day, many instructors will provide syllabus and textbook information prior to the start of classes. Having your student check both WebSTAC and Canvas to gather a complete textbook list is a good idea. Textbooks, WashU merchandise, and a wide range of items are available at Washington University Campus Store, providing an easy one-stop-shop for required course materials. Many textbooks are also available to rent through the bookstore and are available in an e-book format. The Danforth Campus Bookstore is located in the ground floor of Mallinckrodt Center or wubookstore.com. Additionally, some course materials can be acquired through the University Libraries at no additional cost.



Developing good time management and organizational skills is key for students who find themselves struggling academically. Keeping a calendar and a to-do list may seem simple, but are effective tools to help students structure study time and stay focused.

LIFE AT WASHU LIVING AT WASHU Washington University’s first-year residential areas include 10 residential colleges in a section of campus known as the South 40, located at the southwest end of the Danforth Campus. As you become more familiar with your student’s residential college, you will find a dedicated group of people willing and able to help with their transition. Each residential hall has a residential college director (RCD). This WashU full-time staff member lives in residence and facilitates community engagement within the college, assists in day-to-day operations and manages the team of resident advisors (RAs). RAs are trained upper-division students who live in residence and serve as leaders and peer student mentors. In addition, WashU faculty members also work closely with first year student communities, providing significant faculty-student interaction outside of the classroom. Each residential college also has its own dedicated custodial and maintenance personnel.

TRANSFER HOUSING Families of transfer students, please reference your students’ copy of “New Bearings” for off-campus housing resources.

FLOOR PLANS Floor plans for each building can be found online at reslife.wustl.edu.


Bed and mattress (extra-long twin, 36” x 80”)

Desk and chair

Dresser and closet space

Central air conditioning

Small recycling bin

PACKING A suggested packing list can be found at newstudents.wustl.edu.



Adjustable height beds (allowing for more storage)



EATING ON CAMPUS Meals and food items bought on campus may be paid for with the meal plan purchased at the beginning of each semester. Points are accessed through your student’s WashU ID card—all they have to do is swipe their card and the designated points for the food will be deducted. For detailed meal plan information, please visit the Dining Services website. DINING SERVICES

(314) 935-7098 diningservices@wustl.edu diningservices.wustl.edu

MEAL PLANS First-year students most commonly choose the SILVER meal plan. The larger GOLD or PLATINUM plans may be appropriate if your student is very active or a varsity athlete.

For students with dietary restrictions, Dining Services works with them directly to make sure their personal needs are met. Ensure that your student connects with Dining Services before fall welcome to help manage their dietary restrictions. Dining Services has had experience with a wide range of diets including gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, Halal, Kosher, and more.


BEYOND THE CLASSROOM Your student’s priority at WashU will be academics, but how your student choses to complement their learning outside the classroom is also very important. Many students look to their co-curricular involvement to find new peer connections and friendships, discover new interests and develop healthy, social engagement. We encourage your student to get involved in at least one of the many co-curricular opportunities on campus, such as a student organization, undergraduate research, or a student work position.

CAMPUS LIFE Campus Life empowers students to discover themselves and their communities through advising, programs, and resources. Campus Life is organized into focus areas including leadership development, student involvement, and fraternity and sorority life. campuslife.wustl.edu STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS There are more than 450 student groups at WashU. The Activities Fair held at the beginning of each semester is an opportunity for your student to learn more about the current groups at the university. wugo.wustl.edu CIVIC & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Active civic and community involvement are central experiences of WashU’s student culture. Many opportunities are available, from one-day projects and philanthropy events to community partnerships that involve a greater commitment and a deeper exploration of each student’s role as an engaged citizen. The Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement gephardtinstitute.wustl.edu Campus Y campusY.wustl.edu


CULTURAL CONNECTIONS The Center for Diversity and Inclusion provides opportunities for students wishing to engage with topics of equity, dialogue around social change, social justice education, and affinity groups and programs. Their work includes advocating for students, connecting students to resources and existing support systems on campus and in the St. Louis community, and building connections. cdi.wustl.edu RELIGIOUS, SPIRITUAL, & ETHICAL LIFE Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life encourages interfaith understanding, supports the diverse religious, spiritual, and ethical communities on campus, and facilitates interfaith student leadership development. They serve the entire community, including students of any or no religious, spiritual, or philosophical background. All are welcome! students.wustl.edu ATHLETICS & RECREATION The WashU Department of Athletics competes in Division III of the NCAA with a historic reputation both at the conference levels and nationally. The Bears have won 23 NCAA Team National Championships, 254 conference titles, and have registered 245 NCAA team appearances. Intramural (IM) and club sports are also a fun and engaging way to interact with the WashU community in recreational sports. washubears.com; rec.wustl.edu STUDENT ENTREPRENEURIAL PROGRAM (StEP) The Student Entrepreneurial Program (StEP) provides students the opportunity to own and operate their own businesses while serving the campus community with unique resources. step.wustl.edu


CAMPUS RESOURCES DISABILITY RESOURCES Disability Resources (DR) is the official resource for students with learning, attention, visual, hearing, psychiatric, mobility, or medical disorders. Students should visit the DR website and review the requirements for documenting their disability and requesting accommodations. Students should submit their documentation well before course registration to be sure there is no delay in accessing accommodations once classes begin. Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis. DISABILITY RESOURCES

(314) 935-5970 disabilityresources@wustl.edu disabilityresources.wustl.edu

NAVIGATING CAMPUS AND ST LOUIS A university-run shuttle service is provided for travel around the Danforth Campus. Additionally, there are four MetroBus lines that reach the Danforth Campus— three running through the core of campus—that can take passengers to major shopping areas and local attractions. There are also two MetroLink train stations that exit onto campus that provide quick, direct service around St. Louis, including to the Medical Campus. Students are able to access the MetroBus and MetroLink for free with a WashU UPass. Bikes are also a great, quick way to get around campus. For convenience, there are bike racks and several bike repair stations located across campus. Please note, first-year students are not permitted to have cars on campus. PARKING & TRANSPORTATION



HEALTH AND WELLNESS The Habif Health & Wellness Center provides medical and mental health care and health promotion services to students. Same-day medical appointments are available for urgent needs. SERVICES INCLUDE: MEDICAL SERVICES Medical services provides routine care, preventive health care, evaluation/treatment of illnesses and injuries, immunizations, an on-site lab, radiology, and a pharmacy. MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES Mental health services provides individual, couples, and group counseling. Psychiatric services are provided to prescribe and monitor medication. Crisis services are also available. All full-time students who pay the University Health and Wellness Fee as part of their tuition are eligible for services. HEALTH PROMOTION SERVICES Health promotion services provides free programs and risk reduction information on issues including stress, sleep, sexual health, and alcohol/other drugs. Your student is required to provide Habif Health & Wellness with important and necessary health information such as date of immunizations and health history. More information about specific requirements can be found on the Habif Health & Wellness website. In addition, your student is required by university policy to have adequate health insurance coverage. Students wishing to waive the university’s student health insurance plan must complete a waiver prior to September 5th. HABIF HEALTH & WELLNESS

(314) 935-6666 HabifInfo@wustl.edu



FINANCES STUDENT FINANCIAL SERVICES Student Financial Services (SFS) takes a personal approach with your student, and your financial counselor will be with your family from the moment you exchange hellos to graduation and beyond. Before your student arrives on campus, we encourage you to check out the SFS website for information on how to view and pay your bill, payment options, and the necessary documentation needed to complete an I-9 if your student plans to work on campus. Your counselor is available to provide information and resource assistance.

(314) 935-5900; (888) 547-6670 financial@wustl.edu financialaid.wustl.edu

PAYING THE STUDENT BILL We encourage you and your student to have an open conversation around expectations regarding billing and finances. Once your student is given login access to WebSTAC, WashU’s online service portal, they will be able to grant access to named parent and family members. WebSTAC will send a generated email to those given access providing a link to a parent billing portal to view financial statements. BEAR BUCKS Similar to a debit card, many students and family members choose to utilize Bear Bucks, an optional cashless system that can be loaded on a student’s WashU ID. Bear Bucks can be used for a variety of purchases on-campus and off-campus, including residential laundry services, the two campus bookstores, for printing services, at select vending machines and at campus dining locations. In addition, some local area businesses accept Bear Bucks, as well. Visit the Campus Card website for a complete list of locations that accept Bear Bucks. (314) 935-8800; Toll Free (855) 935-8800 campuscard@wustl.edu card.wustl.edu/bear-bucks


CAREER At WashU, we believe that career education occurs over the course of the four-year undergraduate experience, beginning during the first year. We encourage each student to reflect on and understand one’s unique skills, interests, and goals. The Career Center assists with a number of opportunities for new students and continuing students to engage with their vocational and professional search. Students can expect to learn strategies for meaningful exploration of the world of work and engagement with employers and organizations. These include: •

Facilitating participation in summer internship, research, and volunteer experiences.

Individualized career advising.

Signature events including Career Fairs, Career Expos, Road Show visits to different regions throughout the United States, and the ACE shadowing program.

Connecting students with professionals and peers in different industries through Career Interest Groups.

In your student’s first year, some conversations we encourage you have with your student include: •

Encourage early and regular engagement with a career adviser and the Career Center’s programs, resources, and events.

Observe and listen to your student’s interests, values, and strengths. Help your student see themes, patterns, and opportunities for continued growth and development.

Discuss and support the importance of multiple, meaningful professional experiences including internships, research, volunteer work, and study abroad. CAREER CENTER 314-935-5930 careers@wustl.edu careers.wustl.edu


SAFETY WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY POLICE DEPARTMENT The Washington University Police Department, also known as WUPD, is a diverse law enforcement team that provides foot, bicycle, and vehicle patrol 24 hours a day, seven days a week. WUPD officers possess the same authority on campus as that of a St. Louis County police officer. WUPD prides itself in maintaining a safe campus while recognizing no place is immune from crime. To help students feel safe and secure on campus, WashU has also developed initiatives to enhance their personal safety and protect their property.

(314) 935-5555 police@wustl.edu police.wustl.edu

ALERTS Students and their families can get emergency alerts by downloading the WUSTL Mobile App and “allowing notifications.”

EMERGENCY NOTIFICATIONS In the case of emergencies, we encourage students and families to sign up for emergency alerts. You will then receive all campus-wide alerts that our emergency operations announce. Additional information about the WashU Alert System is available at emergency.wustl.edu. If a crisis occurs, you will have multiple ways to obtain information. Visit the university’s website emergency.wustl.edu. New information will be posted to the site. If there is no current emergency, the site will say so. You can listen to frequently updated voice messages by calling the university hotline: (314) 935-8000 (5-8000 from a campus phone), or (888) 234-2863 (out of area). Check your email for updated information. For additional preparedness information and updates during an emergency, visit the Emergency Management website and follow @WashUReady on Facebook and Twitter.


UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION Work with your student to check that your contact information is correct in their WebSTAC account. This will ensure that you, as a family member, are receiving all relevant information. This includes home and cell phone numbers, email address, and emergency contact information. Your student can confirm your information via WebSTAC, webstac.wustl.edu.

FAMILY MEMBER CONTACT UPDATES Your student can make mailing address and phone number updates in WebSTAC. To change the listed family email, please visit families.wustl.edu and select “communications,” where you will find a form to update this record.

YOUR STUDENT’S PRIVACY The privacy of your student’s records is protected by law under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Certain pieces of “directory information” on your student’s record may be publicly available, such as their name, mailing address, and phone number, unless your student has placed an optional information restriction on their record. Your student can remove themselves from the public directory via their WebSTAC portal.


FERPA Learn more about FERPA at registrar.wustl.edu.

BEYOND THE TRANSITION STAYING UPDATED WITH THE UNIVERSITY The First Year Center is the primary support resource for parent and family members of all undergraduate students. Throughout your time supporting your student at the university, we will provide ongoing communications detailing campus resources, engagement with faculty and administrators, and university news and information. At times, the University sends separate communication to family members about current events both on- and off-campus. To check the family email associated with your student’s record, your student should log into WebSTAC and select contact information. To change the listed family email, please visit families.wustl.edu and select communications, where you will find a form to update this record. On the families website, you can sign up for “Family Ties,” a quarterly e-newsletter keeping you up to date on what’s happening around campus. The Family Webinar Series connects you with staff and administrators to answer live questions about various student resources and campus events. Recordings of past webinars can be found on the Families’ website. (314) 935-5040 / (844) 935-5040 families@wustl.edu





STAYING CONNECTED TO YOUR STUDENT USPS, UPS, FedEx, and other parcel services deliver to WashU. You may begin sending packages to your student’s mailing address 14 days before their move-in date. Your student can find their mailing address on their WebSTAC account after their housing assignment is released. Please make sure to send any packages to your student’s mailing address with their MSC number, not to their room assignment. When sending mail or packages, please include the following information:

First and Last Name MSC Number XXXXXX Street Address City State Zip Code

Your student will receive an email when any mail has arrived for them. Their mail will be available for pick-up at their assigned mailroom.


CONTACTING YOUR STUDENT Use this page to keep track of your student’s contact information while at WashU. Cut along the line to keep this information handy in an easy-to-find location at your home or office.


See Page 18 for more Information




(314) 935-5040

Residential Life (ResLife)


(314) 935-5050

Dining Services


(314) 935-7098

Habif Health and Wellness Center


(314) 935-6666

Student Financial Services


(314) 935-5900

University Registrar


(314) 935-5959

For a list of other university contacts, visit this QR code.


This book was created by THE FIRST YEAR CENTER Campus Box 1136 One Brookings Drive St. Louis, MO 63130-4899 newstudents.wustl.edu (314) 935-5040 20 | BEAR ESSENTIALS

Profile for WU First Year Center

Bear Essentials for Families 2020  

“Bear Essentials” is a guide for parent and family members with information about WashU and the new student transition. This guide is meant...

Bear Essentials for Families 2020  

“Bear Essentials” is a guide for parent and family members with information about WashU and the new student transition. This guide is meant...

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