After your student completes their first year at UW-Stout, they are officially a part of The Next Experience. This living environment is designed specifically for their needs as a returning student. We know that even for the maturing young adult, coming home during break periods may present some issues that are unique to their situation. As a partner in your student’s success, we want to work with you on these transitional issues and help your student feel and be successful.
Let’s talk about some of the most common differences between the first-year experience and what comes next for students. Check out the dropdown menus below for more information.
The new community may feel different. We see that many continuing students are moving to floors in small groups of friends and we encourage them to continue these relationships from last year while trying to branch out to meet people in their new community. The second year is the first time that you get to recreate your college experience.
TIP: Encourage your student to think about how they can recreate the good elements of their social environment from last year and work to improve other elements in their new community.
The Next Experience RAs may also look a little different to a continuing student. Instead of a 30:1 resident to RA ration, now RAs have upwards of 50 residents to connect with. They will continue to be resources and to interact meaningfully with each of their residents focusing on the individual student’s transition to the sophomore, junior & senior years. RAs focus on continued success in college, career and life preparation, as well as guiding the student in becoming more resourceful. RAs also continue to help enforce policy and help to create a positive living community.
TIP: Ask if your student who their Residence Life Coordinator or Academic Resource Coordinator is. These staff members are the full-time live-in professional a student academic support, respectively. These people are here to help!
Many of our second-year students live on North Campus (not all, North and AFM Halls are on South Campus) but it is a different area of campus and comes with it’s benefits and challenges. Here are a few things to consider:
How far is the walk from North to South Campus?
THE WALK IS NOT BAD! It’s .7 miles. It’s a chance to get your steps in for the day- a 13 min walk and a 4 min bike ride. (The distance is calculated from Red Cedar Hall to the Memorial Student Center)
TIP: Consider that your student may be living off campus next year, so this is a soft transition to wherever they may live in the future.
Do the buses still come to North Campus?
You bet! The campus bus goes every 15-20 min between North and South campus. Pickup location is in front of the library on South Campus and outside Red Cedar on North Campus. The Walmart/Menomonie bus also makes stops on North Campus.
TIP: Download the Stout Connect app to see the times!
Is there any parking on North Campus?
Yes! North Campus has 4 lots to accommodate students. The lots are rarely full and get plowed in winter.
TIP: Make sure when buying a parking permit, you specify you will live on North Campus!
It may seem like dining could never be as convenient as it is on South campus, but it’s just as good “Up North.” Even with the longer walk, they shouldn’t have any excuse for not being able to get what they need. Check out the options:
Is there dining on North Campus?
North Point Dining facility is smaller than the Commons but the menu is the same, you can still get all your favorite options. A special North Campus perk though are the personal pizzas. Check it out!
TIP: You can use your Baseline money at either the North or South Campus dining facility, so maybe grab breakfast “at home” in the morning, lunch while “on break” from classes, then head back home for dinner in the evening!
Is there a store like the Blue Devil Market?
Absolutely! Next to North Point Dining is the North Campus Mini Mart (convenience store). You can get to-go items as well as late night snack. During the week they are open until midnight, on the weekends until 10:00pm.
TIP: This can be an easy way to spend a lot of your money without knowing it, items are fairly-priced, however not as affordable as the dining center. Spend wisely!
As we mentioned earlier, the second year is the first time you have a chance to recreate yourself and your college experience. Much of your student’s life in college is built around the relationships they make with their peers and support networks. Here are several tips we trip to offer students that you could support as well:
- Meet and build a relationship with your RA, ARC, and RLC – they are here to help you!
- Meet and build relationships with your neighbors right away (even if you have your friends from last year)
- Make a roommate agreement, this will help resolve issues that come up later in the year (they often do!)
- Seek out involvement opportunities in the community
- You will get to meet new people
- You will be giving back to the community
- It will help you to connect and become part of an established community
- Seek out and build relationship with experts
- Get to know faculty
- Get to know co-workers and supervisors
- Get to know influential people in your desired field
While everyone’s situation is different, when your student moves off-campus, they are likely to take on even more financial obligations. Starting good habits now will help them be successful in the future.
- Set a budget. Know your income and what monthly bills you will need to pay, when you move off-campus this may include even more, like: rent, utilities, food, gas, etc
- Get a job if you don’t have one yet. There are several options available via Handshake, our campus and community job hub.
- Read financial documents (loans, statements, bills, etc) carefully and ask questions of financial providers if you have any
- Know where your financial documents are located and ensure they are in a safe place
- Start future financial planning
- How to pay off school loans
- Plan for large future life purchases (cars, houses, etc)
- Create an emergency fund in case of an emergency (job loss, illness, etc)
- Start thinking about retirement saving plans
If you thought the first year was critical (you were right) but the second year is also important! Your student now has the ability to look back at what they did in the first two semesters and determine if they want to stay on that path or forge a new one. Your student may have already done many of these things, if not, here are some pointers for some self-discovery:
- Seek out leadership opportunities
- Explore academic and/or professional opportunities (conferences, internships, professional organizations, etc)
- Let someone know if you are struggling (academically, professionally, personally, etc)
- Continue to explore new hobbies, interests and experiences
In addition, there are many easy pitfalls for second-year students. Often a student’s support structure changes as they continue through college, the premise being that as they grow through their experience, they ought to know how to manage it better. However, we know that students learn and grow at different paces, so when your student comes home, check-in and see how some of these popular issues are faring for them.
- Community connection – Are they feeling connected to their residence hall floor? -campus? -major? -student organization?
- Campus resource utilization – Are they finding the resources they need to be successful? There are many campus departments that can assist students on their issues, try some of the departments listed on this page.
- Friendships and Relationships – Who are they hanging out with and what do their friends contribute to their experience? If they aren’t feeling connected, they should talk with their RA about meeting new people.
- Major or career questions – It is natural to start questioning your major or career or decide that you need to make a change. If your student is struggling with their major, they can always meet with a first-year advisor (yes, even if their aren’t a first-year student). If they are considering a new career trajectory or looking into internships and co-ops, they can meet with a Career Counselor.
- Mental health and anxiety – Many students come in knowing their mental health needs, others learn what they need through their college experience. Either way, their RA and Counseling Services is here to assist and find them the help they are looking for.
- Extracurricular involvement – Students who are involved in at least one extracurricular activity are more like to persist to graduation and be happy with their experience. Ask them what their “pick one” is on campus (we tell all students to at least “pick one” thing to be involved in).