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UniversityParent’s new guide answers parent questions about the first year of college

BOULDER, Colo. – Boulder-based UniversityParent has published an easy-to-use, practical guide to one of the most challenging times for both parents and students — the freshman year of college.

The UniversityParent Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year gathers advice from more than a dozen higher education and student life experts who are in some cases parents themselves.

No matter how organized parents try to be, nearly everyone with a student leaving for college is confronted with questions. The Guide, organized by the seasons leading up and into the first year of college, addresses everything from making a budget and understanding financial aid to navigating the changing parent-child relationship.

“We all want to stay connected to our students, but realize we shouldn’t be hovering or too controlling,” says Diane Schwemm, senior editor for the Guide whose son recently completed his freshman year. “It’s a time when a parent becomes more like a coach or a mentor.”

The Guide brings together writers with different views, and doesn’t avoid difficult issues such as how to talk to your student about alcohol and sexual respect and safety on campus.

Contributors include:

  • Jo Calhoun, who worked in Student Affairs for more than 30 years, including at the University of Denver
  • Marjorie Savage, director of the University of Minnesota Parent Program and author of You’re On Your Own (But I’m Here if You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years
  • Dr. Victor Schwartz, medical director of The Jed Foundation, which works to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college students
  • Amanda Taylor, licensed clinical social worker and behavioral counselor at the University of Colorado

As UniversityParent began planning the Guide, staff organized parent focus groups to discover what was important to them as their students headed to college. Roommate issues topped the list; health was important, too.

Some parents are surprised by the impact of privacy laws that mean they don’t have automatic access to students’ grades and health records. “Our Guide will help stave off some of the misunderstandings that arise,” Schwemm says. “It’s a resource to strengthen the parent-student relationship, but also the relationships parents and students have with the university.”

To create the Guide, UniversityParent drew on 10 years of experience working with parents, students, and universities. “ Articles include: “What to Expect at Orientation,” “Roommates 101,” “Majors, Minors, and Making Decisions,” and “Wellness and Safety Tips to Share With Your Student.”

UniversityParent is working with its university publishing partners to sell the Guide at college bookstores and to offer it at orientation, says Sarah Schupp, CEO and founder. The 116-page spiral-bound Guide is designed to be easy to read, with short articles and space to add notes.

The UniversityParent Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year can be purchased through

About UniversityParent

UniversityParent, based in Boulder, Colo., produces print and online guides for parents of college students in partnership with more than 200 schools in 46 states. Sarah Schupp founded UniversityParent in 2003 as an undergraduate in the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business entrepreneurship program.

Each UniversityParent guide offers institution-specific information on college orientation, parent programs, admissions, academics, financial planning, health and safety, off-campus housing, and more.

UniversityParent recently expanded its website to include key information and contacts for all 2,277 public and private nonprofit universities and colleges in the United States.

In addition to, parents, students and friends connect with UniversityParent on Facebook at, on Twitter, and through the UniversityParent weekly eNews.

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