First Year Resources

Parent resources for their first year student at University of Northwestern including ideas for before classes begin, the first month, and the end of the semester.


Before Classes Begin

Home Sweet Home

Regardless of whether your student is ready to start their college adventure, or a little nervous about what is ahead, it is a good idea to put those redecorating ideas on hold. Their room at home will be a comfort for them whenever they come back for a visit. Knowing that they have their old room at home will show them you, as parents, are excited for their next trip home!

Balancing the Budget

Helping your student come up with a budget before classes start is a great way to get their financial situation in order. Have them begin implementing that budget the summer before they come to Northwestern. There are many fun activities for your student to do on-campus, as well as in the Twin Cities area. Having a budget will allow your student to partake in as many of those activities as possible.

What should a student’s budget consist of?

  • Now is a great time to discuss how much money your student will be putting toward their college education.
  • The University of Northwestern Financial Aid Office will be of great help when you discuss how payment plans will be made.
  • College is a great time for students to open up their own checking account. They can learn many valuable skills from online banking or keeping a ledger.
  • Talk with your student about possible job opportunities on or off-campus. Search employment opportunities on campus.
  • Students receive numerous credit card applications during the college years. Talk with your student about whether or not a credit card would be a good option for them.
  • Teaching your student how to shop for groceries will ensure they are selecting nutritious and affordable foods.
  • It is also never too early to teach your student the importance of tithing.
  • Many good programs are available online for students to use to create a good budget.

Healthy and Happy

Your student will have to adjust to a different lifestyle during their first few weeks of college. Before classes start, take time to talk with your student about how to stay healthy. Also, talk through what to do if your student does become sick while at school.

  • Sleep
  • Healthy Eating
  • Physical Activity
  • Managing Stress

Talk with your doctor or an employee from our health services office about what forms, cards, records, etc. your student should bring with them to college.

Safety First

It is important that both you as parents, and your student know what a safe campus we have here at Northwestern. Public Safety will give you some more information about general safety and parking on-campus. The webpage will also allow your student to get information regarding the campus shuttle service available for their use.


The University of Northwestern Bookstore can help your student prepare for the new semester. Your student can order books online and have them ready to pick-up during orientation, or the bookstore staff can help to find books when you come to campus. There is also plenty of UNW Eagle attire, school supplies, snacks, etc. to purchase in the bookstore.

Parent Orientation

This is your opportunity to learn more about Northwestern. It will expose you to many members of our faculty and staff through events, including our welcome session. Throughout the weekend, several informational meetings will provide you with important information for your family and your student.

The First Month

Stay Connected

College is a brand new experience for your student. Sending them encouraging messages is a great way to help them through the first few weeks… actually, their whole college career! Ask your student how you as parents can be praying for them as well.

Get Involved

Encourage your student to take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved on-campus! Involvement is not only a great way to serve the Lord with the gifts and abilities He has given your student, but it is a way for your student to take a mental break from their busy class schedule.

End of the Semester

The end of the semester, as well as the end of the school year, is a great time to revisit some of these areas again. Have a conversation with your student about their plans for the upcoming summer and the next school year. The summer is a great time for them to gain valuable internship or work experience. Career & Leadership Development is a great resource for your student to use!