We have compiled a list of some questions and concerns that we hear about most often from parents and family members. If you have specific questions about your student or your involvement in the Rice community, please Connect with FYP.
Is there an orientation program for parents or family members of new students?
New Families Orientation (NFO) is on Sunday, August 12, 2018, immediately following Move-In. There is no charge for parents to attend this session. After lunch, there will be a variety of information sessions and presentations for family members. Please note that there will not be an opportunity to see your student again after lunch until the conclusion of O-Week and that all parents are asked to leave campus by 6pm on the August 12.
I have already attended New Families Orientation in the past and/or another institution's orientation. Do I really need to attend this year?
Each year we introduce new information to the NFO agenda as well as provide important updates on the state of the university that may be fairly different from your previous experiences. Some information may be similar to what you have already learned at Rice or other schools, but there are new policies, programs, and topics that are especially pertinent to this year's class of new students. We strongly encourage all families to attend even if they have been through the program in previous years.
When will I have an opportunity to spend time with my student during O-Week?
On the Sunday of O-Week, you will be able to help your student get settled into his or her room during the morning Move-In time as well as attend lunch with them in their College. At 1:00 pm that day, New Families Orientation will begin rest of the day and throughout O-Week, your student will be with his or her O-Week group.
I want to bring my student shopping for some college essentials. Can I check them out of O-Week to visit the store?
Due to the nature of O-Week and the intensive schedule, you will not be able to check your student out during the week even to go to the store. Over the summer, your student will receive an O-Week book that will outline the essentials that are needed for living on campus and should be gathered in advance. Additionally, we would suggest that your student collaborates with his or her roommate(s) prior to O-Week to determine what shared items may be needed.
I want to explore Houston and the area around Rice with my student. When is a good time for that?
It is a great idea to take some time getting acclimated to your student’s new home away from home. The best time for that would be in the days or week prior to O-Week if you are able to get in town early. During O-Week, your student will get a chance to learn about the area with his or her O-Week group as well—parents and family members cannot attend these trips.
Where should family members stay if they will be in town before Move-In of O-Week?
A number of area hotels and bed and breakfasts are near campus and would be convenient for families who arrive before O-Week. Some of these also offer shuttle service to and from campus for those families who would rather not drive. Due to housing limitations, parents and family members are unable to stay on campus before or during O-Week.
My family will be in town before O-Week. Can my student move into their room early?
We are unable to allow any students to move into their room or College prior to Move-In on Sunday, August 14. However, Move-In at Rice is truly an impressive effort–students and staff from across campus greet new students at the Colleges and help them move their belongings to their room. You will receive more detailed information about how to find your way to Rice and to get around campus once your student has been assigned to their residential college this summer.
If something comes up during O-Week, how can I get in touch with my student?
We understand that there may be extenuating circumstances that require you to get in touch with your student during O-Week. The most direct way may be to contact your student via cell phone if they have one. Another outlet is your student’s College Coordinator, the administrative professional at your student’s College, who should be able to get a message to your student as soon as possible.
Where can I find all of the forms my student needs to complete to enroll at Rice?
Once your student has been admitted, he or she will be able to access the required new student forms through Esther. We have created a New Student Checklist that outlines all of the information that must be completed before O-Week. Be sure to encourage your student to check back frequently as there are a number of things due at various points in the summer.
Are there ways for family members to stay involved in the Rice community during the school year?
Absolutely! We fully recognize that families are a critical resource in a student’s education and want families to maintain their communication and involvement with the university throughout your student’s time at Rice and beyond. One of these opportunities is Families Weekend which is held each fall. The parent and family newsletter also helps keep you in the know about what is going on around campus. We will post more ways for parents and families to remain active in the Staying Involved section of our website.
How can I check to see if my student is going to classes and taking care of his or her well-being?
There is not a formal way for you to determine that information beyond speaking with your student. Part of the collegiate experience for parents and family members is understanding and supporting the independence that your student will develop. It is important to communicate regularly and openly with your student so that he or she feels comfortable sharing all aspects of their education with you. Keep in mind that this is an exciting time for your student and that it may take some time for you both to develop a system that works for your family.
How can I see my student's grades or progress during the semester?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects your student’s educational records including their course grades unless the student provides explicit consent if they are 18 or older. In our experience, this is an area that students and their families should work out on an individual basis as it requires open and honest communication as well and familial support.
What policies and support exist on campus for students regarding drinking alcohol?
The Rice campus is considered to be a "wet" campus which means that students 21 years old or older (legal drinking age) are allowed to possess and consume alcohol on campus. We have a detailed policy on alcoholic beverages which governs what students of age may and may not do. The primary purpose of this policy is to protect the safety and security of our students and our community. Whether or not a student drinks is a personal decision that all students must make. Those who do so are personally responsible for their actions.
Rice University offers no formal protection for students under 21 years old who choose to drink on campus or return to campus after drinking elsewhere. However, there are students in each residential college who are trained caregivers on hand to assist students or contact the appropriate resources if necessary. Additionally, there are plenty of activities and programs on campus that offer students a fulfilling college experience whether they choose to drink or not. More detailed information on the alcohol policy can be found in the Student Handbook.
What is the residential college syst em at Rice?
Rice has a unique system of student life on campus, largely structured by the residential college system. Rice’s residential colleges serve not only as residence halls but also as primary centers for intellectual life, dining, studying, playing, networking, and developing leadership skills. Entering students are randomly assigned to one of nine colleges and remain a member of that college throughout their time at Rice, thus uniting diverse academic interests, extracurricular talents, and life experiences. In the Oxonian tradition, each college has a group of faculty, staff, and alumni "associates," who eat meals with students, provide academic advising, and become friends and mentors. The colleges are independent, egalitarian institutions, with their own government, traditions, rivalries, customs, and lifetime affiliation.
Can my student change roommates or rooms?
At Rice, the individual colleges are responsible for matching roommates. Once students are assigned to a college, student staff at each college pair roommates that they feel are most compatible. Inevitably, problems may arise from time to time. Students having roommate issues should talk with their College Masters.
My insurance company needs proof that my student is enrolled full-time. Who should my student contact?
Students can verify their enrollment for such purposes in two ways: a) online through the Rice registration system, or b) complete a form requesting an official document. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for more information.
How safe is the campus commu nity?
Rice University is an enclosed campus located in the heart of the Houston Medical Center. The campus is closely monitored 24 hours a day by Rice’s own police department through security cameras and regular patrols. The department consists of 25 licensed and commissioned police officers and 4 security guards. In any type of emergency, students should call (713) 348-6000 to speak to a police dispatcher. More information can be found at the University Police Department.
What should my student do if they have a disability or require additional accommodations?
If your student has a disability that may require some type of accommodation, he or she must contact the Disability Support Services Office (DSS) at (713) 348-5841. This will allow the office to utilize its resources to provide the necessary accommodations for your student. DSS is committed to providing all Rice students, faculty, and visitors with an equal opportunity learning environment by providing accommodations inside and outside of the classroom.
Where do I call if I have questions about Rice or my student?
To obtain information about Rice, there are many people and departments that can be reached depending on the nature of the question. Please call (713) 348-0000 for the university switchboard. For information concerning an individual student, you can contact your student's College Masters. Keep in mind that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) limits the amount and type of information that can be disclosed about students 18 years old or older. A list of important phone numbers has been compiled for your convenience.
What is the proper procedure for notifying my st udent in case of a family emergency?
If you need to contact your student in a legitimate emergency, please contact the Masters at your student's residential college or the Dean of Undergraduates at 713-348-4996.
What documents must students have with them in order to work on campus as a student employee?
In order to be employed on campus, each student must complete the U.S. work authorization form (I-9). In order to do this your student must have original, unexpired documents that provide identity and work eligibility. Please review the last page of the I-9 form for allowable documents.