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Cal U Parent and Family E-News: December 2012

The Final Stretch

The last few weeks of the semester can be stressful and exhausting for students. Deadlines are pressing, papers need finished (or started!) reading assignments  persist, and final exams are fast approaching. Encourage your student to rely on good management skills, get as much sleep as possible, and eat well.  All of these factors can contribute significantly to performance in the classroom. Preparations for final exams should begin now, not the night before the exam.

Fall 2012 Exam Schedule 

Making Transportation/Travel Plans

If you have not already done so, end-of-semester travel plans should be made asap. Students may use their CalCards to ride the MMVTA at no cost from campus to major Pittsburgh transportation hubs including Pittsburgh International Airport, the Greyhound bus station, Pittsburgh Amtrak train station, and the MegaBus pick-up location at the David Lawrence Convention Center.

The Office of Student Affairs and the Student Association also sponsor shuttle transportation between main campus and major transportation hubs for a small fee. Students must make shuttle arrangements several days in advance. Questions? Contact Thomas Donovan at 724-938-5567 or email

Shuttle Between Campus and Major Transportation Hubs

Important Winter Break Information From University Housing

Home for the Holidays 

There’s nothing quite like the excitement a parents feels in anticipation of their child coming home for the holidays. It conjures up idyllic memories of when they were wee ones. It’s natural to want this holiday to be equally “perfect.” But unreasonable expectations may set parents up for disappointment as most college students arrive home with a different agenda.

Expect a sleepy student. Spending a semester working toward A’s may leave your student needing some zzzzs. There's nothing quite like coming home to a familiar bed, home-cooked favorites and the comfort of living in pajama pants for days! If your holiday schedule is traditionally jam-packed, allow your student time to spend relaxing and resting.

Discuss house rules. Especially if your student is new to college, a lot has changed since leaving your home. Before enforcing previous curfews or other rules, consider your student’s growing independence; and if necessary, renegotiate. Communicate your expectations, while recognizing and respecting that your child is an “adult in formation.”

Share the time. You won't be the only one hankering for quality time with your student. Siblings, other relatives, and high school friends are also eager to catch up. Let your student know about family commitments ahead of time, and expect your student to tell you when he/she plans to be meeting up with friends. 

Talking to Your Student About Grades

Final grades will be available to students in VIP beginning Wednesday, December 19. If a grade is not posted, a student should contact the instructor for the course. Depending upon how your student has performed, discussing grades can range anywhere from a celebration of sorts to a very difficult conversation. Regardless, your response can provide an opportunity for both meaningful and necessary dialogue. Here are some suggestions:

Satisfactory Academic Progress: Potential Impact On Your Student’s Financial Aid

A new Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy went into effect in 2011. At the end of each semester the Financial Aid Office will review Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for all students using this policy. This is important information, as the policy defines and determines your student’s continued eligibility for financial aid.  All students who receive SAP notices for the first time are encouraged to appeal.  If you should need more information or wish to speak directly with a financial aid specialist, you may contact the Financial Aid Office at 724-938-4415.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy and SAP Appeal Forms

Important Upcoming Dates 

Classes End  December 7

Exam Week (Starting 4:00 pm on December 10) 

December 10-14

Semester Ends December 14
Undergraduate Commencement (10:00 am) December 15
Spring Classes Begin  January 28
Spring Break  March 18-22
Classes End  May 10
Exam Week (Staring 4:00 pm on May 13) May 13-17
Semester Ends May 17
Undergraduate Commencement (10:00 am) May 18