Category Archives: Uncategorized

Care Packages for Final Exams

During final exam season, New Student and Family Programs offers final exam care packages for any current students at VCU. Families can order these care packages through our partner’s, OCM (Our Campus Market) Care Package Final Exam websiteThese care packages can be just the treat your student needs to help relieve some stress before finals!

When ordered, final exam care packages will be delivered to the New Student and Family Programs office located in Hibbs Hall, Suite 201. We will notify students via email and text when the packages arrive and all care packages must be picked up by the last day of finals on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

For more information, visit the New Student and Family Programs Care Package page.

Free Flu Vaccines and Student Health Services

FREE Flu Vaccines for Students

University Student Health Services is offering FREE flu vaccines for all VCU students. They can receive their vaccine during any walk-in immunization hours or directly following a scheduled medical visit. The Student Health website provides a list for Walk In Immunization Hours for each campus.

If those times don’t work with your student’s schedule, University Student Health Services is also hosting immunization events across both campuses. These events will take place:

  • Nov. 17; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. @ Larrick Student Center
  • Dec. 5; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. @ Student Commons

Student Health encourages ALL students to get the flu vaccine, especially those at high risk for flu complications, such as students with asthma, diabetes, and other chronic health issues. For more information on the flu vaccine and who should get vaccinated, visit the CDC’s website with key facts on flu prevention.

What to do when your student is sick

Often family members are the first person a student will call when they aren’t feeling well. As cold and flu season approaches, here are some resources and tips for you to share with your student if and when they call you.

  • All students who have paid the student health fee are eligible to use Student Health;
  • Students can make appointments at Student Health either online, through the Student Health portal, or over the phone:
    • (804) 828-8828 for the Monroe Park Campus Clinic;
    • (804) 828-9220 for the VCU Medical Center Campus Clinic;
  • Same-day appointments are reserved for students who are ill, it is recommended that your student call if they’d like to be seen on the same day.
  • The Monroe Park Student Health Clinic is located at 1300 W. Broad St., Suite 2200 and the MCV Campus Clinic is at 1000 E. Marshall St., Room 305. Clinic locations and hours are listed on the Student Health Clinic website.
  • If your student needs assistance after hours, there is a medical provider on call  during evenings and weekends for phone consultations or students may visit one of the many local urgent care facilities. Check the After Hours page on the Student Health website for the after hours number and urgent care contacts.

For more information on preventing the flu, read the CDC’s Tips for Flu Prevention and share them with your student.


Intersession Course Registration

Intersession offers more than 40 courses in various disciplines. Courses are available both in person and online. All three-credit courses for Intersession are taught from Dec. 27, 2017 through Jan. 9, 2018, during the winter break closing schedule. Classes are not held on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 but will be held Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. New and continuing students who wish to stay on track to graduate on time or early are encouraged to consider taking a class during this time. Visiting students also are welcome. Please visit the Intersession page or contact the Summer Studies and Intersession Office with any questions at (804) 827-4586 or

On-Campus Housing Application

If your student is expecting to live in on-campus housing for the 2018-2019 school year, they will need to apply for housing through the housing portal early in the spring semester. To access this portal, visit the VCU Housing website and click on application. This will lead you to the application that students may update and submit for the upcoming school year. Students are then entered into a lottery system where they are given a number that indicates the order in which they will be able to select a room for housing next year.

For more information, visit the Housing Application webpage, Then  scroll all the way to the bottom to review FAQs for returning students and the application process.

Preparing for Final Exams

Final exams for students are quickly approaching as we near December. Finals can be a stressful time for students. You can find the final exam schedule on the  Exam times are determined by the student’s class time.

Here are some tips to share with your student to prepare for next month:

Take advantage of VCU’s academic resources.

If your student is facing some challenges with certain class topics, now is a great time to stop by the Campus Learning Center (CLC), located on the first floor of Hibbs Hall. The CLC offers drop-in tutoring, Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions for certain classes and academic coaching. It’s best to visit now, the CLC gets very busy as finals approach.

If your student has a paper to write, they can also stop by the Writing Center on the fourth floor of the Academic Learning Commons (MCALC) for assistance at any stage of the writing process. Students can make appointments or drop in. 

Mark your calendar.

Visual reminders can be a great way to stay on task and manage time. Have your student pick up or print out a calendar and mark all due dates of big projects and finals. This can help them plan times to set aside for studying and working on projects.

Meet with professors during office hours.

Each professor will have office hours set aside to meet with students about concerns they might have with class. Now is a great time for students to set up a meeting to get clarifying questions on the material that has already been covered. This way, moving forward, your student will feel confident with the material already learned.

L.E.A.R.N. to manage stress.

The end of the semester and final exams can be one of the most stressful times for your students, especially if this is their first semester. VCU’s The Well offers many resources to assist students in better managing stress. One of these resources promotes an emotionally-focused strategy to manage your own response to stresses that are beyond our control. This method emphasizes:

L- Laughter

E- Exercise

A- Attitude

R- Rest/Relaxation

N- Nutrition

Check in with your students and make sure that they are making time to sleep, exercise or move around, and scheduling time for relaxation amid the busy finals season. To find out more, check out this fact sheet from University Student Health Services.

Highlights from Family Weekend 2017

We would like to extend a big THANK YOU to all the family members who joined us for this year’s Family Weekend on Nov. 3-5. We had a blast and we hope you did too! Here are a few highlights from this year’s event.

  • More than 700 families and 2200 people attended;
  • The Family Weekend 5K Fun Run/Walk raised over $940 for RamPantry,  which exists to address food insecurity by providing in-need VCU students with healthy, culturally appropriate, emergency food;
  • Families and students cheered on the VCU Men’s Basketball team, who brought home a win from this year’s annual exhibition game versus Virginia Union University;
  • Congratulations to the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., for winning this year’s Fall Block Step Show, which took place during Family Weekend!

Take the Family Weekend survey

Whether or not you attended Family Weekend, we ask that  you complete the Family Weekend survey to let us know how the event went or why you chose not to attend this year. Your feedback is critical for us to make improvements to Family Weekend in the future. Click here to complete the survey.

A snapshot of what you all had to say about your time here:

“Event was very well organized. You can tell a lot of time and effort went into this event.”
“Faculty and staff were welcoming and offered great suggestions for activities through the weekend.”
“My favorite part of the weekend was seeing my husband who graduated from VCU and my son show each other the sites.”
“We loved being able to see the building where our daughter has classes. We also went to the bookstore for our discount on VCU gear and to the Cary Street Gym, which was wonderful.”
“We loved all of the free activities and public art at InLight Richmond!”
We’re excited to begin planning for next year’s Family Weekend, we hope you’ll join us again!


Important Fall Dates

Reading days will take place Oct. 19-20, 2017. No classes will be held.

The last day to withdraw from classes with a mark of “W” is Friday, Nov. 3, 2017.

Registration is now open for Family Weekend on Nov. 3-5, 2017. We hope you will make plans to join us!

The university will be closed beginning at noon on Nov. 22 through Nov. 26, 2017 for the Thanksgiving holiday .

The last day of classes is Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017.

Final exams will be held Dec. 11-19, 2017.

The university will be closed for Winter Break from Dec. 21, 2017-Jan. 1, 2018.

Other important fall semester dates can be found here.

The Common Book Author to Speak at VCU

This fall, the VCU and Richmond communities participated in the annual Common Book program by reading and discussing the powerful and inspiring book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, by Sam Quinones. The university has held book discussions and panels across campus to guide the VCU community through examining, analyzing and exploring the themes of Quinones’ novel and to take a closer look at the opioid crisis in America.

On Monday, Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. Quinones will be on campus to discuss his book in the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts. This event is free and open to the public. For more information and a list of additional Common Book events happening on campus, visit

Living Learning Programs

Students who participate in Living Learning Programs (LLPs) are more engaged than students living in traditional residential environments and preliminary data shows that students living and learning together in our established LLPs have a higher retention rate at VCU than those who do not. These LLPs are shared communities that consist of a residential two-year program with an academic component. VCU has four Living Learning Programs — GLOBE, ASPiRE, LEAD, and INNOVATE. Read on for more information about these programs and encourage your student to apply!


VCU Globe is a global education living‐learning community that opens windows to the complexity of globalization and fosters intercultural learning through sustained and structured interactions between program participants, international students, and community members in Richmond. Housed in West Grace North, this unique program features opportunities to meet people from all over the world, to participate in special events and celebrations, to work together in teams, and to be instrumental in making VCU and Richmond more global. Above all, VCU Globe provides students majoring in any discipline the chance to be part of something important that will be invaluable on their resumes. The program features:

  • 12 hours of coursework which lead to a certificate of global education
  • Co‐curricular activities in the residence hall and beyond
  • Opportunity for special education abroad programs and scholarships
  • Experiential learning through engagement in global communities on campus, in the city of Richmond, and abroad

Application Information:



VCU ASPiRE is a living-learning program promoting community engagement through academic coursework and co-curricular experiences. The mission of VCU ASPiRE is to enrich and deepen students’ understanding of their capacity to create positive change in communities and address critical societal needs through long-term sustainable partnerships. Housed in West Grace South, the program has an interdisciplinary focus with emphasis on addressing the areas of accessible and affordable housing, community building, education and workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. The program features:

  • Nine hours of coursework which lead to a certificate in community engagement
  • 100 hours of co-curricular involvement that includes service in the local Richmond community
  • Integrated learning experiences that provide students with opportunities to address pressing societal issues
  • Ongoing relationship development with established community partners

Application Information: Online applications are accepted on a rolling basis and can be found at


VCU LEAD is a distinguished leadership-focused Living-Learning Program for undergraduate students of sophomore status or above. Our vision is to cultivate world-class innovative leaders who transform lives and impact communities.  VCU LEAD participants will integrate their learning through participating in leadership pathways that complement their major. Pathway experiences can include service, internships, study abroad, undergraduate research, and peer leadership opportunities. Graduates of this program will be equipped to successfully lead professional and civic organizations at the local, national, and global level. The program features:

  • Ten hours of coursework that lead to a Certificate in Leadership Studies;
  • Housing in the Grace & Broad Residence Center for the two years of the program;
  • 20 hours of university service & 20 hours of community service each year;
  • Opportunities for students learn about leadership through a variety of dynamic programs, relationships, and experiences;
  • Evidence of learning documented through the development of an electronic portfolio themed around leadership.

Application Information: Online applications are accepted on a rolling basis and can be found at


VCU Innovate is the da Vinci Center’s Living-Learning Program. The da Vinci Center is a unique educational program that brings students from across the university together to collaborate, problem solve and transform their ideas into new products and business ventures. Students learn to apply creativity in innovation and entrepreneurship through real life projects that prepare them for the 21st century workforce. In addition, students accepted to Innovate get the opportunity to take part in high-impact extracurricular activities such as networking trips to startups and companies in other cities across the country. Students also engage with local entrepreneurs on how to successfully launch business ventures. The program features:

  • Nine credit hours of coursework that lead to an undergraduate Certificate of Completion in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • A da Vinci Certificate in Product Innovation or Venture Creation (which is a requirement for living in Innovate)
  • Housing in the Grace & Broad Residence Center for two years
  • 60 hours of VCU Innovate LLP co-curricular activities

For more information on the program, please visit

Advice on Midterms from Lynanne Yndestad, Director of New Student and Family Programs

Your student may be preparing for one of the most stressful times of the semester –midterms! Many professors give exams or have students complete group projects or writing assignments during the month of October since it’s the midpoint of the semester. Below are some tips to that should help you support your student during this crazy time.

Encourage your student to seek out academic resources.

Your student probably has an idea by now of how he or she is performing in each class. If your student is struggling, encourage him or her to utilize additional time with professors during scheduled office hours. Remind your student that there are resources like the Campus Learning Center and Writing Center to help, not only during midterms, but at any point throughout the semester. This also might be a great time to reassure your student that asking for help does not indicate weakness, but rather shows that they are mature enough to know when they need a little assistance to achieve success.

Remind your student that self-care is really important during stressful times.

This means eating regularly and trying to select healthy options, exercising to relieve tension, getting adequate sleep, and being mindful about how stress is being handled. Did you know that Dining Services has a dietitian on staff to help students figure out things like how to snack healthy, maintain solid nutrition on a budget, and incorporate more produce into their diet?  Cary Street Gym offers a variety of group exercise classes that are creative and fun like Aqua Zumba, Sunrise Yoga, and Hip Hop-We Don’t Stop, in addition to the individual cardio and weight training options available. The Wellness Resource Center provides individual consultations about stress and sleep management. University Counseling Services also provides individual and group therapy to help students. Challenge your student not to be afraid or ashamed to utilize the resources available.

Ask them to think about where they study best.

Some students are able to focus really well in the space where they live. Others find that this can be distracting because they are too comfortable there. Perhaps your student is able to focus only in complete silence or needs background noise. Did you know that the floors in Cabell Library are designed to accommodate all noise preferences? Encourage your student to check out “Club Cabell” (the second floor) if he or she prefers a more collaborative study environment with noise, or to check out one of the higher floors for whisper-only or complete-silence study environments. Consider making a deposit on your student’s RamBucks account so he or she can grab coffee or a snack at Starbucks to get through late night or early morning study sessions. There also are wonderful study spaces in the University Student Commons and Academic Learning Commons, in addition to many other locations on campus.

Stress the importance of starting early.

If we are all truly honest with ourselves, we can probably all admit to waiting until the last minute to begin working on a project. College students are no exception! While some students perform very well under pressure, it’s important to remind them to start studying and working on projects early to avoid all of the negative behaviors associated with procrastination like missing sleep, skipping meals, and being irritable toward friends and family. As I mentioned in my last post, time management is one of the hardest lessons to learn in college. Professors give out exam and assignment dates early (usually in their syllabus at the beginning of the semester) because they want students to have plenty of time to study and complete these assignments. If your student is struggling to remember information for an upcoming test, encourage him or her to spread the material out over a couple of days or weeks instead of cramming the night before the test. They can even utilize a planner or their Google calendar to plan study times or set goals for what they will accomplish each day leading up to exams.

Provide a little encouragement.

Sometimes receiving a little pick-me-up around this time is important. This may come in the form of a phone call or text just saying that you are proud of them and wish them the best on midterms. You might also consider sending your student a care package from home with a handwritten note or utilizing the VCU Care Package Program to order a special package to be sent to your student. You can be assured that your student will appreciate your support in whatever way you feel inclined to offer it.