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March 2016

Hello Winthrop Parents and Family Members!

March is an exciting time here at Winthrop. Students will soon be experiencing course advising and registration sessions for the fall 2016 semester. You will find an article below from the Office of Records and Registration regarding academic course advising and registration. Also, spring break is coming up from March 14 to March 18. We have included an article about spring break safety in this edition of the Eagle Family Connection. In the meantime, if your student is in need of some study snacks, our Dining Services article outlines important information about the new To Go option in Thomson Café. We have also highlighted exciting opportunities for students to get involved on campus and in our Rock Hill community in the Relay for Life article. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page to stay up-to-date on our office and all of the great things going on at Winthrop! As always, the Office of New Student and Family Programs is here to keep you connected and informed. 

Go Eagles!
The Office of New Student and Family Programs
248 DiGiorgio Campus Center
803/323-2387
familyprograms@winthrop.edu
http://www.winthrop.edu/familyprograms/

Course Registration 

April will be here before you know it, and that means it's time to register for fall classes. If your student is a new freshman or transfer this semester, this will be a new experience: no sitting in a computer lab with 50 other new students, surrounded by Orientation personnel to help. So, what do they do?

The first step to a successful registration is to be advised. All degree-seeking students must meet with their academic advisor in order to be cleared to register. Advising begins March 23 and lasts for two weeks. (Summer registration starts on this day but does not require advisement.) Students should look through the course offerings (found in Wingspan and on the Records and Registration page) to plan their fall schedule. The student should also be prepared to discuss their academic plan with their advisor. DegreeWorks, the online degree progress system, clearly lays out the student’s degree requirements with what they have completed and what they have yet to complete.

Second, the student should make sure they have no “holds” on their account. Are there any outstanding financial balances? Have they provided Health and Counseling with appropriate immunization information? Students can view all holds via their Wingspan account. The student will be unable to register until all registration holds are removed.

Third, the student should make note of their time assignment. Because Winthrop cannot register 6000 students at the same time, times are staggered throughout a six-day period. Graduate students and seniors register first. Freshmen are on the last day.

Finally, what does your student do if they cannot register for several of their classes because they are already full? Students should always have alternate classes picked out, but if that doesn’t work, they can contact the department chairperson to request an override. Students should keep in mind that other students change their schedules all the time and seats may become available later in the summer.

The Registrar will send an e-mail to all students and place an announcement on Wingspan before registration begins that will outline all the items above. We understand that the registration process can sometimes be a frustrating time for students, and the Office of Records and Registration is available to assist your student with this. Please make sure they understand they can call, e-mail, or come by the office for any issues they may be having.   

Gina G. Jones, Registrar
Winthrop University
Office of Records and Registration

A Parent's Survival Guide to Financial Aid 

College is both an exciting and terrifying time for new students and their parents; whether your student is a first-time freshman transitioning from high school, a continuing Winthrop student, or a transfer student that previously attended community college, there is so much to do – apply for housing, pick out classes, buy books, choose a meal plan and of course, figure out how to pay for it all. Then there are forms to fill out, emails to read, phone calls to return, counselors to meet with. You call the financial aid office dazed and confused, frustrated or outright irate – sometimes all three at once! Know this: We want to help you.

Helping students find avenues to afford higher education is something we take very seriously in the Division of Access and Enrollment Management. Whether you’re helping your student navigate the FAFSA, tap-dancing to the requirements of verification, lining up scholarships, or learning the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans, we genuinely want the best for your student. Because we are so committed to your child’s success, allow us to give you some advice that will smooth your student’s path to funding an education.

1. Be punctual: Submit the FAFSA on time. Funding for some financial aid programs is finite, so students who apply early are considered first. The 2016-2017 FAFSA is currently available and should be completed as soon as possible. The 2017-2018 FAFSA can be submitted beginning October 1, 2016.
2. Check your e-mails: We promise we’re not spamming your child’s inbox when we send out our steady stream of e-mails. Instead, each time we correspond with them via Winthrop e-mail we’re either notifying them of pertinent news or requesting specific information that may impact their financial aid. So please, make sure you remind them to check their Winthrop e-mail.
3. Be diligent: It’s in your child’s best interests to pursue outside scholarship opportunities. There are many unique scholarships for which they may qualify, with a little research and effort on their part. Is your student going to be the first person in your family to attend college? Have they applied for hometown scholarships? Have you checked with your church or employer? Also remember to never dismiss a scholarship as not being worth the application time. Even a $500 scholarship is well worth the two hours it might take to answer an essay question.
4. Ask questions: When in doubt about something regarding financial aid, be sure to ask us first – we promise not to bite. Is your student thinking about a schedule adjustment? Make sure you have them contact our office first so we can advise how this may affect their financial aid.

Financial aid is a process and as such, it comes with many requirements, rules and regulations, many of which change year to year. Sometimes it can feel like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube while blindfolded.But we here in the Division of Access and Enrollment Management love what we do. We are a passionate bunch and measure our success through our students. So come in or call, and together we’ll figure out how to fund your student’s education.

Spring Break Safety Tips 

Spring break is a great time to have fun and make lifelong memories. Most college students will use spring break as a time to visit family and friends, work, study, or catch up on school work. Some will help build communities by participating in alternative spring break programs. Others will choose to use it as a well-deserved vacation from the stressors of college life. The possibilities of how your student will spend his or her spring break are nearly endless. No matter what your student plans, you can help to ensure he or she remains healthy and safe while having fun with the following tips.

• Encourage your student to plan ahead. Your student should know where he or she will be staying and have the directions or travel itinerary to the destination easily accessible.

• If driving, your student's vehicle should be inspected before hitting the road. Minimally, encourage your student to have the oil, tires, battery, fluids, and lights checked. Talk with him or her about any additional maintenance or inspection that his or her vehicle may require.

• Most likely, your student will tell you about spring break plans. Ask your student to share his or her travel information, names of his or her travel companions, and your student's itinerary.

• Your student may need identification during his or her travel. Whether it is a passport (if traveling out of the country), driver’s license, photo identification, or other documentation, he or she should have it available when necessary and secure it appropriately at all times. Most hotels have an in-room safe to store these and other valuables.

• Advise your student to drink plenty of water while laying out or sitting in a hot tub.

• Sunburns are no fun! Encourage your student to wear sunglasses, a wide brim hat, and a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 to protect his or her skin and eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Sunscreen is beneficial for all skin types and should be reapplied often to the full body.

• Encourage your student not to get into a vehicle with a stranger or someone he or she has just met. Your student should excursion out as a group or with a buddy and always keep an eye out for each other.

• Social media is great for keeping us connected and sharing information quickly. However, it should not impede our safety. Advise your student to check the privacy settings on his or her account and to avoid posting his or her location.

As a parent or family member, you probably know your student best. If there are other concerns that you believe are important for your student to know, you should talk with them openly and honestly. Encourage your student to attend the Safe Spring Break: Party Safe event in the DIGS Lobby on March 8, 2015 (10:30 a.m.-noon) to learn some safety tips they can utilize during their break.

A Message from Dining Services 

You made it through another chilly month of the spring semester! We have had a lot of new things happening here with Winthrop University Dining Services. 

We have added a To Go option in Thomson Café! This option helps students with busy schedules get the most out of their meal plans by allowing them to use their meals whenever it is most convenient for them.Commuter students still have time to purchase a meal plan! We have six meal plans commuters may choose from – two being created specifically for commuters.

To purchase, your student can log onto their Wingspan account and choose the Meal Plan of their choice – this will be charged to their student account. If you would like to pay it immediately, you can go to the Cashiers Office and pay – otherwise it will be placed on your next bill from the university. For more information please check our website and click on “Meal Plans” – if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dining Services at 803/323-2119. Hope to see you dining on campus this spring!

Relay for Life

Our Mission: To eliminate cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.

The Event: Each year, the American Cancer Society hosts Relay For Life, the world’s largest fundraising event to end cancer, uniting communities across the globe to fight back against this disease. This past year, we raised more than $14,500 and are looking to raise much more this year.

Teams: Team Captains are responsible for their team's success and making sure every team member has a rewarding experience. It's a big job, but we are here to help support you every step of the way!

Sponsors: Local sponsorship opportunities enable companies to gain exposure to our passionate participant base and support the mission of the American Cancer Society. Please let us know if you are interested in reaching our constituents and joining in the fight to Cure Cancer!

Volunteers: We depend on volunteers to help recruit sponsors and teams, assist with day of event plans to make event day an amazing experience, market Relay For Life all over campus and help generate student involvement for a great cause.

Survivors and Caregivers: We come together every year to celebrate those who are winning the fight against cancer. Relay For Life is the world's largest support group for survivors and their caregivers. We define a cancer survivor as anyone who is living with cancer, from the date of diagnosis. Whether you're a survivor, caregiver, or have been affected, getting involved in Relay For Life can introduce you to others who are facing the same challenges, and provide opportunities for learning, sharing, and friendship.

Luminaria: Relay For Life participants and donors remember loved ones lost to cancer and honor those battling the disease by dedicating luminaria bags. Luminaria bags are transformed and illuminated after dark at every local Relay For Life event. Each luminaria is personalized with a name, photo, message or drawing in memory or honor of a friend or loved one who has been affected by cancer. Luminaria can also be dedicated in support of a Relay participant. Each luminaria candle represents a person. They are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, friends, coworkers, and so many others.

Date: Friday, April 1 at 4 p.m.
Location: West Center

Where does the money go?
1. Research for a Cure
2. Hope Lodge- our 32 locations that offer cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city.
3. Road to Recovery- our program that provides transportation to and from treatment for people with cancer who do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves.
4. Reach to Recovery- our program that matches new diagnosed cancer patients with survivors of like cancer for comfort, information and support
5. Look Good Feel Better- our program that is dedicated to helping cancer patients currently going through treatment improve their self-esteem and confidence

Sign Up

Contact: Shaquille Jenkins, Relay For Life – President 

Winthrop New Student and Family Programs is on Facebook!

The Office of New Student and Family Programs is now on Facebook! Check out our Family Programs page for updates and information about what is going on here at Winthrop!

Important Dates

Tuesday, March 1

2016-2017 FAFSA priority deadline

Wednesday, March 3

Course withdrawal deadline

Monday, March 14 - Friday, March 18 

Spring break (no classes) (offices closed on March 18)

Wednesday, March 23

Advising for fall course registration begins 

IN THE HEART OF THE CAROLINAS
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