American University Alumni Relations Events and Resources for New Eagle Families
Orientation 2023

Greetings Eagle Families!

Let's be real, it's a bit weird to do the weekly grocery shopping these days, isn't it?

There are many transitions for students and families alike in the first weeks of the fall semester. Your student is adjusting to new rooms, new roommates, meals that weren't prepared by you, and a schedule that can feel VERY different from their high school routines. At home, things will certainly feel different for you, too!

Expect that calls or texts with your student will change as well. They may be happily busy, or they may hint that they're missing you. It is entirely normal for them to experience a full range of swinging emotions!

Keep in mind that your student started the year with many supports already in place. Orientation Leaders (and their group chats) are still great resources. Your student is seeing their First Year Advisor every week in their AUx class. Resident Assistants are just down the hall and desk receptionists are on duty around the clock. Even if your student is reticent to walk into a club meeting, each class offers new opportunities to find a study buddy. Last weekend, our Orientation Leaders kicked off a series of group outings with new Eagles to explore some their favorite spots in DC - your student can sign up for these excursions and many other activities in Engage.

And for you, Eagle families, we have Family Weekend and our upcoming family webinars. In the meantime, you are always welcome to reach out to us any time at [email protected].

Here's a question you asked, and how we answered it:

Q: How is Canvas organized to do coursework?
A:Your student’s professors may be using Canvas for their courses. Canvas is an online platform where students can submit their assignments, complete readings, take quizzes, and engage with each other through discussion boards. The platform may also be used to post grades. Whether your student uses Canvas or not, all Eagles are expected to stay abreast of their grade progress in a class, so they should be speaking with their teaching assistant/professor if they have any questions about their grade! As a reminder, families do not have access to student grades due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Students can also utilize Canvas support if they need help navigating the site.

Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle!
The New Student and Family Programs Team

Family Resources

Did you know we have a website with curated content just for our AU parents and families? You'll find quick links to campus services and offices, a planning calendar with key dates and deadlines, travel tips and a listing of our favorite hotels, a collection of our recorded webinars and so much more! Visit us at


Dates and Deadlines

AU gate

You can help your student keep track of deadlines and tasks like these:

  • Save the date: Family Weekend is October 13-15.
  • Schedule change on November 21: on this day, Friday classes meet instead of Tuesday classes. We always advise that you consult with your student about their class, co-curricular, and employment commitments before making nonrefundable travel plans.
  • Thanksgiving Holiday November 22 - 26: no classes, halls remain open. 
  • Fall Final Examinations are December 11 - 16. Consult with your student before arranging travel.
  • January 16, 2024 is the first day of spring classes.

Flock Talk: Advice from Current Eagle Familes to New Eagle Families

Flock Talk is a section where our current Eagle Families share advice just for you! Check out this week's advice:

"Encourage your new Eagle to be adventurous and brave" - Nanette Dietrich, P ‘26

Now is a great time to encourage your Eagle to try new things and meet new people. This may prompt them to step a little outside of their comfort zone, but outside of that zone lies new experiences, hobbies, academic interests, or friends that they really enjoy!

Family Weekend Registration Now Open

Family Weekend October 13-15, 2023
We look forward to welcoming you to campus for Family Weekend 2023! We will host a range of in-person events this fall for you and your student between October 13-15. We’ll also have exciting opportunities to connect online throughout the week. Wherever you are this fall, we welcome you to join us!

Academic Support & Access

Two people writing math equations on a clear plexiglass board.
In the coming weeks, your student will be getting feedback about their first assignments and assessments. For many students, this is a truly challenging experience. Each instructor will have different expectations and that, in itself, is a big adjustment! Ask your student what kinds of strategies they are using this fall and encourage them to take advantage of our Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) resources. These include a writing center, supplemental instruction (for select classes that tend to be the most difficult for our undergrads), and peer tutoring. Academic coaching sessions help students identify strategies to tackle assignments, note-taking, and time management.

Importantly, if your student's K-12 success involved an accommodations plan, this is not the time for them to abandon those supports! Talk with your student about requesting accommodations.

How to Make Friends in College

Students walking together on campus
Let’s be honest. It takes time to develop true friendships. Your Eagle might be missing the familiarity and security of their friend groups from home and getting anxious about building new networks at AU. As they scan social media, they may get the impression that “everyone else” has found their new best friend at college already. But the reality is that for many, the first semester is a whirl of meeting new people as social circles shift – a lot. So what kind of advice can a parent offer (that won’t be met with eye-rolls)? We tend to think the folks at have solid suggestions worth sharing.



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