Parent, Guardian, and Support Team Information for First Year & Incoming Students

McBurney Center Director Welcome Video

(Note that the spoken English and American Sign Language versions cover the same content)

Spoken English with closed captions (CC)

American Sign Language (ASL) version, NO audio or captions

Supporting Your Student

As students head off to college, this is a time of great transition – both for them and for you. How can you best support your student, and their transition?

  • Form a partnership and keep open lines of communication with your student. Learn about the policies, procedures and options presented by the University and serve as an advisor and consultant to your student.
  • Check in with your student as they settle in to college life.
  • Ask your student guiding questions. If they are planning to use accommodations, ask if they have:
    • completed the student virtual MOST training through Canvas
    • generated their Faculty Notification Letters (FNL) through McBurney Connect,
    • met with their instructors to discuss implementation of those accommodations.
  • Note that students will request accommodations for each of their classes every semester.
  • Understand that McBurney Center staff, like others on campus, cannot discuss your student with you without a release of information. The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) applies to UW-Madison and protects student privacy.
  • Reinforce the importance of timely communication – encourage your student to ask questions of McBurney Center staff, and of their instructors. Students are now holding the reins, which may be new for them. They need to form a schedule that works for them, establish healthy routines, request their accommodations, talk with their instructors – and ask for help when they need it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Does my student need to re-apply for accommodations each year?

Once students complete our eligibility process, they typically remain eligible for those same accommodations throughout their academic career at UW. Your student’s Access Consultant may request updated documentation if your student starts to experience new barriers during their time on campus and subsequently request new accommodations. Feel free to get to know our McBurney Center Team.

Your student may find that the university setting is different enough from high school that they want to adjust the types of accommodations they have. Students can revisit accommodations at any time with their Access Consultant.

How does my student request accommodations in their courses? Is there anything else they need to do to make sure their professors accommodate them appropriately?

Once students are approved for accommodations, they gain access to our database called McBurney Connect. Each semester, your student will login to McBurney Connect to submit their accommodation requests. They will have full control over which classes they request accommodations in and which of their specifically approved accommodations they want to use in those classes. Once they make their requests, McBurney Connect will automatically generate emails that get sent to the instructors with a copy of their Faculty Notification Letter (accommodation plan). We generally recommend that students login to McBurney Connect to generate their Faculty Notification Letters prior to the start of the semester or within the first week of classes.

After students generate their Faculty Notification Letters, we expect them to setup face-to-face meetings with each of their instructors by the third week of class. During these meetings, they will discuss each of the accommodations they requested and how those will be implemented in this specific course.

Can I have free and open communication with my student’s Access Consultant?

No. Students who work with the McBurney Center are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Students must voluntarily complete and sign a release of information form if they wish to allow their Access Consultant open communication with a parent or other member in their life.

Will campus contact me if my student is not doing well?

No. FERPA applies to all areas of campus life. It will be up to your student to alert you if they are not doing well personally or academically.

What other campus resources should I know about?

UW-Madison offers a wide breadth of important resources that your students may want to use during their time on campus. You can explore some of these below:

  • Academic Advising: All students at UW-Madison are assigned an academic advisor who can assist with scheduling classes, exploring interests, and finding ways to expand involvement on campus.
  • Career Exploration Center (CEC): The CEC is part of the Cross-College Advising Service (CCAS) and is designed to assist students in exploring their options for majors and careers.
  • Center for First Year Experience (CFYE): CFYE helps student adjust to life at UW-Madison. The provide a variety of opportunities through orientation and programming to ease the first-year transition.
  • Dean of Students Office: The Dean of Students Office provides assistance, intervention, prevention, and referral services to the university community.
  • Greater University Tutoring Service (GUTS): GUTS is a student organization dedicated to connecting UW students with volunteer tutors for assistance with academic courses, study skills, conversational English, and intercultural exchange.
  • Parent and Family Program: This program helps engage parents, stepparents, extended family members, foster parents, legal guardians, and other chosen family members in campus life to assist their student during their time on campus. The program includes an e-newsletter, campus events, web chats, and more.
  • Student Affairs: The McBurney Center falls under the branch of Student Affairs, which are dedicated to serving students and to helping them succeed in and out of the classroom in areas including health and well-being, identity and inclusion, leadership and engagement, and student advocacy.
  • University Health Services (UHS): UHS is the UW-Madison student health center, with a mission to enhance learning and student success by promoting, protecting, and restoring health and well-being.
  • UHS – Mental Health Services: MHS’ mental health providers understand the complexities of student life and offer an open, safe and confidential environment to help students through issues that may interfere with their development, well-being, and academic productivity.

Where should my student go for support if they are struggling academically, personally, or otherwise?

Students are always free to meet with their Access Consultant if they are struggling, and their Consultant can provide resources specific to their individualized needs. They can also turn to a variety of Academic Services, Mental Health Services, Health and Wellness, and Student Assistance through the Dean of Students Office.

Who will help my student create a class schedule each semester?

Each student on campus has an Academic Advisor who can assist them with class scheduling, major declaration, and other academic-related needs throughout their career at UW. Your student may also work with their Access Consultant if they wish to receive feedback on the balance of their class schedule.

Who should my student contact if they are struggling in one or more courses? What are their options if they are not on track to pass a course?

We recommend that students first contact their professors or TA’s if they are struggling in their classes. They can meet with them during office hours or schedule another time to check in to talk about their progress and receive tips for how to improve their grades. They may also want to check in with their Academic Advisor  and explore the academic supports that are available to students on campus.  Note that tutoring is available from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats and locations across campus.

It is important for students to remain cognizant of the semester dates and deadlines set forth by the Registrar’s Office. There are a variety of drop deadlines each semester. They can always work with their Academic Advisor or Access Consultant if they want to discuss dropping classes or withdrawing from UW.

Where can my student go to get involved around campus?

There are a variety of ways for students to get involved in and around campus. They can explore the Wisconsin Involvement Network to see all the student organizations available on campus. They may want to consider applying for a student job during their time here. Many students choose to study abroad while on campus, and it is important to note students may use their disability-related accommodations during their time abroad as well. The University consistently updates their calendar of campus events, which provides a vast number of opportunities going on each day.