Majors, minors, and making decisions

Choosing a major is one of the biggest decisions college students make. Here is an article by Vicki Nelson for parents of students who are making decisions about choosing and changing majors and minors.

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Airport transportation tips

DU doesn’t have a shuttle service to the airport, but here are a few options. Other than using a taxi which could be $50+ or finding a ride with a local friend who doesn’t mind dropping your student off at the airport, these are the most popular choices.

Student ID transportation pass – students have a transportation pass that they can use on public transportation. They can take the light rail train to Union Station then get on a bus that will take them to the airport terminal. The last time I made this trip, it only cost me $5. That is by far the most cost effective way to get to/from the airport and I personally use this method when I travel. I don’t like paying airport parking fees, using the gas, or dealing with traffic. You have to plan ahead and make sure that your train and bus will get you to the airport on time, but it is a comfortable stress-free ride, and it’s the best price. In 2016, the light rail train will go all the way to the airport which will make this the fastest public transportation method to the airport and even more convenient.

Uber – Many students will get together and car pool with others who are travelling to the airport at the same time. They use Uber and share the expense so they have a direct trip to the airport (which saves time in comparison to other shuttle services), but don’t have the high expense of a taxi. The trip could be about $45+ using Uber, but if you’re sharing the ride with friends, you can split that cost. An Uber driver can take up to 4 passengers. There is no cash used with Uber, it’s all done with an app so the driver doesn’t know your credit card info, doesn’t take cash, and also there is no tipping. It’s very easy and most students already know all about Uber and how to use it. If your student doesn’t already have the Uber app, I have a code they can use for a first-time Uber user which will give them $20 off their first ride. The code is DUPIONEERS. If you want to read more about Uber, here’s the website

Super Shuttle – this is a very reliable source of transportation to the airport but you need to reserve your spot on the shuttle a few days in advance. The drawback of using this shuttle is that the driver could have several people to pick up before heading to the airport, which is a little slower than a personal car such as a taxi or Uber. A trip to the airport with Super Shuttle one-way is $26 (I believe this is still the rate) but students can get a $3 discount by using the discount code DU001. So can you, by the way, whenever you are in Denver. If your student knows someone else who is going to use this service, they could order together online and get a better rate to share. Additional passengers are $12, so that would mean they would split $38 (actually $35 after the DU discount). That’s not too bad for a dependable ride to the airport door-to-door.

I hope these options are helpful for you and your student. I wish you all a safe and happy winter break.


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DU celebrates Native American Heritage Month

Parents and family members, please encourage your students to join one or all of the events this month to help celebrate Native American culture on the DU campus and in the community, especially the rare complete collection of more than 2,000 photographs by Edward Curtis.

Some Native American nations have used the collection at DU for genealogical research, often sharing information with the University of a particular photograph of a great-grandparent or distant uncle.

These photographs have prompted discussions about cultural competency among students and faculty, and the truth revealed, or concealed, in photographs. They are of important historical and cultural significance. Viewing the archive is a rare opportunity, available for your students (and for you) in the Anderson Academic Commons.

Share information with your students through these videos about Native American Heritage Month.

Students can become involved with several organizations here at DU. There are many ways to get involved with a current group of students who share identities and activities they love, or to start their own group. Visit the Student Organizations page for information.

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The 6-week break

Many students will be returning home for a 6 week break after fall quarter ends, and if this is your student’s first year in college, the return home can be an adjustment, for everyone.

They have become independent. They have had the opportunity to manage their own schedules and responsibilities without parents reminding them. And if they have made mistakes, they have learned from them.

This first quarter is a time when students grow and change, and develop their self-advocacy. They realize how capable they are to navigate this new environment on their own, and they are used to their freedom.

I came across an article by Susan Bonifant, an essayist and novelist who blogs about life after the last college drop off. She writes from the perspective of a parent whose student returned home for summer break after his first year. Here is a link to her article, The other nine months: when your college student returns home for the first time.

She shares great insight about the transition to parenting a college student, and I think you will enjoy reading this, whether or not this is their first time coming home.

Our 6 week break is different from your student’s other friends on the semester system. They know time is short with those friends and they may drop their bags at home and head out the door. Try to be patient with that and give them some time to reconnect. Their friends will be going back to school within a couple of days to finish out their first semester, and you will have another 5 1/2 weeks after the friends are gone.

By now, those of you who need flight arrangements already have them, but if not, keep in mind that the last day of finals is November 23rd. Your student may have a final on that day, or they may be able to finish a day or two before, but ask them to take a look at the syllabus for each class. Final exams are published and they can figure out when their last exam is scheduled so they know when it is time to catch a flight home.

Residence hall open/close dates and meal plan info is on the Housing website

Your student is going to have all of the information needed for the break, and for moving back in to their rooms on January 3rd. Be prepared that moving back in will be different than it was at orientation. There won’t be the same number of volunteers helping them move in, so encourage them to pack lightly. For students who will occupy the same room next quarter, the rooms will be locked down so they can leave anything in their room that they don’t need over the break.

Students will be registering for winter classes pretty soon (the week of Nov 2nd). Students are encouraged to ask for advice from a professional adviser well in advance of registration week if they want some help, as the advising schedule fills up quickly during this time of the year.

Monday begins week 7. It’s hard to believe that time has flown by so fast. We have had our first cold rainy morning here in Denver and it has reminded us all that the snow is on its way – time to start thinking about snow boots and a warmer jacket. Brr.

Take care everyone. Be safe and be well.


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Registration is open for DU Homecoming & Family Weekend

Return to campus this fall and reconnect with your DU family.
Explore the campus. Explore the classroom. Explore DU.
Schedule and registration

The Parents Association at the University of Denver would like to extend a special invitation to our DU parent community for these events taking place in Margery Reed Hall on the DU campus, Friday October 16th. These are free events open to the public.

DU History in Pictures

This presentation is based on University Historian Steve Fisher’s book, which is part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series. You will have the opportunity to view fascinating glimpses into the history of DU and the environs, most notably the University Park neighborhood and former town of South Denver.

Magnetic Networking: Teaching Your Student to Build a Professional Community

“It’s not what you know, but who you know.”  Despite major changes in the workforce, networking has remained a powerful, constant force for securing employment, promotion and advancement and navigating organizational politics.  While most of us understand the importance of networking, to many, networking can feel shallow and transactional.  In addition, some view networking as an extrovert-only skill or an inheritance over which we have limited control.  Join us at this networking workshop to update your networking skills and learn strategies you can share to help your student make a strong first impression with key professionals.


You can still be involved in your student’s time at DU. Come and meet your DU Parents Council and see what we can do for you.

Starting a Business After DU

Nathan Michaels (MBA ’12) and Keenan Alexander (IMBA ’12) are graduates of the Daniels College of Business who will talk about their experiences at the University of Denver and developing their business, K&N Storage Company.

Studying Abroad & the Cherrington Global Scholars Initiative

Studying abroad is an increasingly important addition to an undergraduate education. Join us for this session to learn about preparing for this exciting opportunity for your students.

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Frequently Asked Questions

For mailing items to Denver before move-in

DU does not store items for students and doesn’t accept packages at residence halls before new student move-in day, September 6th. Some families will ship a box to the hotel where they are staying during Parent & Family Orientation. This makes travel a little easier, especially when you are flying and don’t want the extra baggage fees. Another option is to ship items to a nearby FedEx Center at 1440 S. Colorado Blvd, Denver CO 80222. Hours on Sundays are 9am-9pm. Move-in for first year students begins at 8:00am for students who have been assigned an odd-numbered room, and 10:30am for students who have been assigned an even-numbered room. Since the FedEx Center doesn’t open until 9am, you may be picking up your shipped items after the initial move-in to your student’s room. Also, keep in mind that there are other companies in the area that you could probably find by using Google or Bing. We don’t have a relationship with the FedEx center – I mention it here because it’s the one that got a great review by another DU parent. If you want to use this service, visit their site at

Parent & Family Orientation schedule is at the bottom of this page

Payment plans with the Office of the Bursar

Tuition Billing

Students receive tuition bills by email. Most parents want the tuition bill emailed directly to them, but as our students are now adults, they make decisions about who sees their financial information. Lucky for us, DU has made this easy. Ask your student to add your email address to “ecoBill Account Management” which is found on the “Student” tab on PioneerWeb.

DU Health & Counseling Center websites

Immunization forms, parental consent, study abroad forms

Health Insurance Plan waiver

Pioneer ID card website

Cashier Services – cashing a check on campus


Laptop computer requirements:

Anti-virus software:

FAQ about Housing

K&N Storage

To store belongings for summer, a quarter abroad, during winter break, or if you just want something out of the way for a while like skis and snow tires. This company is owned by DU alums. They offer free pick-up and delivery, and a DU student discount on monthly rates. They will store large items individually, or several boxes, and you are only charged for the amount of space your items will use.

Recommended Books on Parenting College Students

Don’t Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money (this is a link to purchase the book on Amazon)

A straightforward and practical book that uses humorous and helpful case examples.

The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age (this is also a link to Amazon)

Written by DU professor Lynn Schofield Clark, who will also be our Keynote Speaker during Parent & Family Orientation on Tuesday, Sept 8th. This book details effective strategies for coping with the dilemmas of digital and mobile media in modern life.

DU Parent & Family Relations website

Information about the DU Parents Association, hotels in the area with DU rates, Important academic dates for the 2015-2016 year, and many other resources may be found on

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Success by Internship

by Hunter West ’14

It is not uncommon for students entering college to find themselves stricken with one of two afflictions: being disinterested in every subject, or being interested in too many subjects. I, myself, was plagued with the latter (and lesser) malady. While being interested in several fields of study certainly made school entertaining, it made choosing a career path agonizing. I was interested in everything from studying molecular bonds, to writing algorithms in code, to dissecting ancient Egyptian literature in it’s native symbols. For a lot of students, practicality (read: remuneration) would eliminate several of the less sensible options, but I had sworn to myself that, when it came to my future career, I would not compromise my happiness for the sake of pragmatism.

So where did that leave me? I was interested in everything, but not in anything. Taking classes hurt more than it helped – my interests grew tirelessly and left me with enough career choices to make your head spin. So, I ran back to the one subject that I felt comfortable with – that I knew I would never tire of and that never ceased to make me happy: History. Well, that certainly solved my problem, I thought; I’m not certain that I could have chosen a more restrictive career path if I had tried, and as mentioned previously, I was on the fast track to being a professor.

But having what I thought would be my career laid out before me still did not restrict my interests – I thought I knew what I would do for a living, but I still wanted to explore other areas academically. That was when I discovered GIS, or Geographic Information Science. A professor of mine with whom I had a good relationship had approached me and introduced me to this new discipline – a place where geography and technology, two of my favorite fields, intersect and compliment each other. I began taking all of the classes that I could, and although I was highly interested, it did not at first strike me as something I would enjoy as much as my history studies. I was wrong.

I had a sit down with a family friend over a meal where I discussed with him my studies and my career goals. He gave me the familiar lecture about being a professor: how exclusive it was, how non-lucrative it was, and all of the other criticisms that I had grown accustomed to hearing. I sat through it, but I really didn’t care – teaching history made me happy and I wanted to do something that I could be excited for every morning. He’s an astute guy, and he knew he wasn’t getting through to me, so he made a simple suggestion – “Hey, you said that you like GIS,” he said to me, “why don’t you just do an internship?” I hadn’t thought about that – why would I intern in a field that I wasn’t going to do professionally? Well, it certainly couldn’t hurt, right? I had missed the deadline for history internships, but there were still GIS internships that I could pursue independently, so I applied to several companies and awaited a response.

The rest is, as they say, history. I was hired as a Sales Engineer intern at a GIS software company January of my senior year. I was expecting to get some workplace experience, get some course credit, and get another line on my resume. I did not get what I was expecting; instead, I fell in love. I started looking forward to the days that I interned more than the days I had class. I passed my time at work creating maps to be used as demonstration collateral, learning about technology and working with an account team, and even giving presentations to clients and business partners. I was, in effect, teaching. My dad was a career salesman for most of his life and I had always avoided it because it never seemed interesting to me, but now that I was immersed in it I saw just how dynamic and interesting it could be. Moreover I saw how I could infuse my passion for the field of GIS with my new role as a Sales Engineer, and the result was something I was excited about.

In the end, I did not compromise. I liked my internship so much that I extended it out full time over the summer, and by the end of summer I wanted to continue doing what I was doing professionally more than I wanted to be a history professor. This internship had given me a perspective on career opportunities that I had never even considered previously. It exposed me to a dimension of professional life that is absolutely impossible to see from your chair in the classroom. And most importantly, it had shown me that something you like to do in school can be something you love to do in the office, and vice versa. On top of all that, I had my choice of job offers by the end of summer, and I strongly suspect that having that internship on my resume was a huge help.

So if you take one thing from my story, make it this: encourage your student to pursue an internship. Encourage them to pursue several internships. After all, it couldn’t hurt, right?

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