Office of Residential Life

Parents Page


Why Live on Campus?

According to national studies, students who live on campus… 

•  Make higher grades than those living off campus
•  Graduate earlier than off-campus students
•  Are more involved in outside activities than off-campus students
•  Are 43% more likely to finish college than those who never live on campus
•  Are more likely to do graduate work
•  Gain self-confidence
•  Are more satisfied with the college experience
•  Experience more interpersonal contacts with faculty and peers
•  Explore and grow in artistic interests
•  Increase their personal self-esteem
•  Experience greatest change in philosophy, values, political views, and career goals. 

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If your son or daughter needs some additional direction or assistance to remain on track in attaining their degree, please advise them to utilize the Student Success Center.

Transition from High School

While many students easily transition into their first semester at USM, it's likely that many of them at some time or another will also experience some of the transition issues mentioned below. This is a time for them to learn new ways of coping and how to seek out support and help when they need it. You can play a big role in this by listening to them as they describe their experiences, and by helping them recognize their options and enable them to solve their problems.

Familiar to Different 
They are moving from a place that is very familiar to them to a place that is very new and different.

Dependence to Independence 
Students are moving from a place where they are perhaps very dependent on family and friends to a new state of independence.

Family to Community 
They are moving from a small family setting to a larger community setting.

This can seem random in terms of who it hits, but can be consuming and difficult for students to manage.

Time Management 
The freedom at college can be an adjustment for some.  Learning how to manage these freedoms and balance time appropriately takes some work.

Feeling Unconnected 
Going from a place of comfort and connection to having to start over can feel strange in the beginning. It can be a considerable adjustment for some students.

Risk-taking Behavior 
Being in a new place and trying out new behaviors can be a great thing, but in some cases it can lead to poor decision-making that could have serious consequences.

Roommate Conflicts 
Living with one or more people in close quarters can be challenging for many students.

If your son or daughter is unable to sleep, unable to concentrate, not eating well, or sleeping too much, these may be reasons to be concerned. We strongly recommend you encourage them to talk with someone or let us know so we can try to gently intervene.

If your student is starting USM with a pre-existing medical or mental health concern, please be aware that the Disability Services Center and University Health and Counseling Services are available to help them. It is also very helpful for our staff to be made aware of your students' health concerns. The resident directors are professionals who will respect students' privacy; however, having this information can be very helpful to them as as they try to meet the needs of all the students in their community.

We hope you will remind your student that there are people to talk to at USM who care. Their resident director is the best place to start. You are welcome to call their resident director or the Residential Life office to discuss any concerns you have.

*Adapted from Colorado State University

There's Nothing to Do!

Many students who are new to the USM campus complain that there is nothing to do. This is common among this age group and we are sure that you heard the same thing when your student was living at home. There are, in fact, a great number of options and activities on campus to keep your son or daughter busy and entertained when taking a break from studies.  Being healthy is at the top of every parent's wish list for their child and we here at USM want the same. For that reason, every student has free access to the Recreational Sports Programs on campus. The Rec. Sports Department includes a full Fitness Center, numerous fitness classes, Intramural Sports programming, and access to the Field House.

The University of Southern Maine has 23 NCAA intercollegiate sports teams that compete throughout the school year at various venues around campus. Many of these events are free to attend or are very affordable for a student's budget. These events provide exciting entertainment, while creating a great social environment for anyone with USM Husky spirit. You can visit the Athletics page for all sports schedules. Go Huskies!

If sports are not of interest, the Gorham campus is home to an Arboretum which has a large variety of trees from all over the world; beautiful for photographers, botanists, or anyone interested in nature's offerings.

The University of Southern Maine houses art galleries on both the Gorham and Portland campuses which display work from students, faculty, and guest artists. Students can spend hours admiring the fine work on display at these galleries.

The USM School of Music proudly performs on a regular basis and students are welcome to attend and support their talented classmates. The Department of Theatre productions display great student talent and take place throughout the year.

If your son or daughter is the type of person who likes to really get involved, make decisions, and is looking for great résumé items, USM has a plethora of Student Groups that have something for everyone.

Still nothing to do on this planet? Students can visit our Planetarium to see sights from other worlds and beyond. The Planetarium offers a variety of programming that changes regularly.

Please encourage your son or daughter to "get involved" and make the most of their college experience.  We are here to help make these years some of their best and most memorable. 

Additional Resources:

There are numerous resources offered by USM to ensure that your student is having the best experience possible and is able to live safely and comfortably. University Health and Counseling Services provides counseling services for students to utilize when they feel like they could use a little extra support.  There is also a complete health services office which cares for any medical concerns that your child may have and it is conveniently located in the center of the Gorham campus in Upton Hall.

For the safety of all students, USM Public Safety is open round the clock, 365 days a year and can assist with a variety of student needs. They are located on campus and can be contacted in person, by phone, or through a campus call box.

Empower Your Student

If your student is having a problem on campus, empower them.  Encourage your student to seek help first. Their resident assistant (RA) or resident director can help guide them to the proper resources.  

If you are working in conjunction with your student to help solve an issue, try to find out the details of their situation so we can better help you.

If your student becomes frustrated, you can help them problem-solve.

Teach your student how to problem solve by using the questions below 

  • Ask them to outline the facts.  Facts are concrete and observable, not emotions.
  • Who have they spoken with? (Obtain names)
  • What strategies have been discussed?
  • What are the next steps?

We want your student and you to be happy with the USM experience, so please give us the opportunity to work out any situation that may arise.

*Adapted from University of Colorado, Boulder