Can I see my students grades?

The University of Windsor cannot release specific information (e.g. grades, class attendance, academic progress) about a student to anyone, including family members. We suggest that parents and students work together to establish an effective means of communicating with regard to these issues.

What if my student has not yet declared a major?

Many students come to the university without a specific major in mind and a large majority of those that do come with a preselected major, eventually may change it. During the first year, students are encouraged to register in an array of courses that are of interest to them. There will be many opportunities for self-discovery and career exploration and students are encouraged to partake in these opportunities. Students are also encouraged to participate in campus volunteer and work opportunities that may assist them in making an informed decision about an appropriate major.

Does my student need their own laptop?

The University of Windsor has hundreds of computers on campus to serve students. Computers are available in the Information Technology lab, most academic departments and in the library. If your student wants to bring a computer to the university, every residence room is wired for direct access to the LAN (Local Area Network) to a variety of campus computing capabilities and library resources for a minimal fee. In addition, each room is cable ready if students wish to subscribe to the local cable company to receive high speed internet access. Some of the newer classrooms and lounge areas have connections available for students with portable laptops and wireless connections are also available.

Reasons why intelligent students sometimes fail

  • Lack of motivation - Motivation is the key to success. It is what keeps you moving forward in spite of difficulties.
  • Poor time management - Students' ability to manage time effectively is crucial in attempting to balance multiple responsibilities, (i.e. school, work, leisure, and family obligations). Students need to be cautious about becoming overly committed if they can't devote the necessary time to their studies.
  • Lack of perseverance - Learning a new skill or new subject is difficult and requires a commitment of time and mental energy. Mastering the subject or skill does not happen overnight, but requires concerted effort and repetition over time.
  • Inability to apply concepts to different situations - Learning something new requires going beyond the facts. To truly understand a concept students must be able to apply it. Until you have a thorough understanding and are able to recognize its application in a new situation, you don't have a true understanding. University level work calls for the application of concepts in new situations.
  • Inability to complete tasks - Everyone gets "stuck" sometimes. The wise person seeks assistance. Students need to work through the task and identify the area that give them problems, then seek appropriate assistance.
  • Fear of failure - Failure is a fact of life. Students need to understand that it is important not to become discouraged. It is important that students learn from their mistakes and move on.
  • Procrastination - Students may procrastinate when they feel overwhelmed by one or more tasks. The best way for them to avoid this is to plan ahead and accomplish tasks a little at a time. Reviewing class notes, keeping up with reading and getting started early on assignments are all ways to avoid stress and poor performance.
  • Excessive dependency - Independent thought and action are keys to success at university. Students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning, cover the material required and seek out needed help and resources.
  • Too little or too much self-confidence - An accurate appraisal of abilities is key to success in college. Recognizing areas that require further development is important to student development and personal growth. Conversely, too little confidence can be paralyzing to a student's ability to build on his/her strengths.

Information from this section adopted with permission from Wayne State University Advising Center

Academic Difficulties

So your student didn’t do as well as you had hoped in the first semester. Most if not all students will encounter some adjustment issues in university. How can you as a parent respond in a positive way?

Consider this:

  • Although it is true that some students are not as successful as they could be, try to keep in mind that sometimes the toughest lessons are learned through disappointments or failure. Resist the temptation to say, “I told you so”.
  • Students need to be given the opportunity to understand that they are responsible for themselves. Negative consequences are sometimes the best teacher.
  • Adjustments to new living situations or issues related to independence are normal for every student. Some are more successful at working through these issues than others. But all students need to be given time to do so independently.

Financial investment:

  • Consider encouraging your student to take some of the financial responsibility for his or her education. If students invest some of their own hard earned money into their education, they may actually try harder to succeed.
  • Working a part-time job can actually improve your student’s time management. Remember the old adage, “if you want something done, ask a busy person”? The less time we have means we have less time to waste.
  • Let your student work through the issues. Be there for support and to listen, but be careful about trying to solve the problems for him/her. Let your student take the initiative to help themselves.

Sometimes students encounter serious difficulties that may be beyond their control:

  • Prolonged medical illness, emotional or psychological difficulties, car accidents or personal family crisis can have serious negative implications on a student’s performance.
  • Consider encouraging your student to access some of the free campus support services that are available.

Academic difficulties:

  • Students who did not obtain a 5.0 (general program) or an 8.0 (honours program) in first semester will notice that their transcripts indicate that they have been placed on “academic probation”.
  • The time for your student to act is now. Encourage your student to seek academic advising immediately.
  • Most departments have programs and workshops available to students who have encountered difficulties, but they are encouraged not to wait.
  • Students should consider purchasing a STEPS membership through the Educational Development Centre. For $10.00, students can receive unlimited access to workshops that can help with exam preparation, time management, multiple choice test taking and more.
  • A very high percentage of students change their majors and that’s okay. It could be that your student’s lack of academic success is partially related to the fact that he/she does not feel suited to the program of study. Students are encouraged to consult with academic advisors and the University calendar before changing majors.

"Your modern teenager is not about to listen to advice from an old person, defined as a person who remembers when there was no Velcro" -U.S. Columnist Dave Barry

The Rhythm of the Academic Year


  • Homesickness/loneliness, excitement for new friends and
  • Frequent calls home
  • Campus familiarization


  • Roommate problems and midterm examinations may begin
  • Time management problems start to occur
  • Possibly the first visit home will come with Thanksgiving


  • First set of midterm grades are returned and the second batch begin
  • Pre-final exam anxiety


  • Anxiety of finals and anticipation of holidays capture the students
  • Course selection and registration for second semester is taking place


  • Disappointment/excitement regarding first semester grades


  • Cabin fever may occur due to bad weather
  • Study week takes place


  • Anxiety over living arrangements for the following year Midterm exams begin.
  • Summer employment considerations


  • Anxiety of approaching final exams
  • Sadness of losing touch with new friends Summer job pressures

Throughout the academic year students may also miss:

  • Birthday celebrations at home (their own & others)
  • Holiday celebrations at home (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, Passover, Easter, Ramadan )
  • Special family-specific traditions (eg. Carving pumpkins, picking out the Christmas tree).

UWindsor Lingo

  • Antirequisite: Courses that overlap sufficiently so that both cannot be taken for credit.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: The first university degree (e.g. B.a. – Bachelor of arts; B.Sc. – Bachelor of Science).
  • Course: The name for “Classes.” Cumulative Grade Average: a grade average which is based upon all courses attempted at the university of Windsor, including failed courses (unless repeated).
  • Department: group of faculty members in the same academic discipline.
  • Faculty: a collection of departments or individual professional programs such as education and law. Spelled with a lower case f, faculty is the term for all instructors (professors).
  • Full Time: 4 or 5, 3.0 credit courses per semester.
  • General Program: a three-year (30-semester courses) program which provides a moderate concentration (roughly 10-16 courses or about half the total) in one specific subject.
  • Honours Program: a four-year (40-semester courses) program which is designed to emphasize greater concentration in one discipline (20-24 courses or half the total) and demands a higher level of achievement than the general program.
  • Combined Honours (or Double Major): a four-year (40-semester courses) program combining two majors (14-17 courses from each major.)
  • Major: a specific concentration for courses within a subject area.
  • Major Grade Average: Based on all the courses in the major, including failed attempts (unless repeated).
  • Minor: 6 courses in an area other than the major.
  • Option: Courses outside the major field(s). a number of options in specific areas (arts, Sciences, Social Sciences) are required in most programs.
  • Part Time: fewer than four courses.
  • Prerequisite: a course for which credit must have been earned prior to enrollment in another course.
  • Program: a combination of courses in a subject area (or areas) that fulfills the requirements for a degree.

What if my student has a crisis?

University students are very good at hiding social and academic problems and are sometimes far along in their troubles before anyone knows that there is a problem. Be watchful, listen and remind your student that help is always available. Residence life staff, faculty, advisors, university administrators, etc. may be able to make recommendations and referrals to your student. In addition, all University of Windsor students have free access to the Student Counselling Centre, Medical and Health Services and Peer Counselling. Talk to your student now and remind him/her periodically about where he/she can go if difficulties arise.

What First Year Students Fear Most

  • Making new friends
  • University will be too difficult
  • Will have trouble understanding the professor
  • Won't be able to manage time and get everything done
  • Won't feel a sense of belonging
  • Will not be able to measure up to other students in class
  • Won't find a major area of study they like

How Parents Can Respond Effectively

  • Encourage your student to talk about decisions to be made, what he/she hopes to accomplish by the decision
  • Allow your student to make mistakes but let him/her know that you will offer what support you can even if the result is not ideal
  • Try to take a "wait and see" attitude regarding a new venture
  • Help your student to view this time of life as a discovery phase, which is normal and exciting
  • Encourage your student to make contact and network with a variety of people at the University