York U’s Division of Students launches new website for families of students

Students walking on campus

Moms and dads and interested relatives of York U students now have a new web resource that has been designed to answer their questions about the University and the application process. The new Parents and Families website, which was developed by the Division of Studentsoffers a wealth of information, including an admissions roadmap, a guide to campus resources, an events calendar and more. A link to the website is available from the York University homepage.

The collaborative effort to develop the site involved representatives from Student Community and Leadership Development, Vice-Provost Students Communications and Recruitment, with input from across the Division of Students.

“The Division is working hard to increase awareness among students and families about the services and resources that are available to them,” said Donna Cope, director of strategic communications in the Division of Students. “One of our main objectives is to develop a unified source for information, eliminating ‘silos’ and providing a shared delivery approach as much as possible.”

Increasing contact and fostering engagement with parents in order to better serve their needs is the key goal of the website.  Parents of current or prospective students have the option to sign up for e-mail alerts that will keep them up to date on University news and let them know about family-oriented campus events.

“One of the main goals is communicating effectively to parents, throughout their whole life cycle as a parent of a York student,” said Laura D’Amelio, senior content developer, communications, for the Division of Students. “So all the way from prospective through graduation, we want to give them one point of reference where they can find all the information that’s pertinent to them.”

When a student first thinks about attending York or enrolls at York, their parents’ input is usually a significant part of the decision. Family can be a major influence on the postsecondary experience, asserts Amber Holliday, manager of Canadian Recruitment and Events in the Division of students. “Parents want to know that, if they have questions about the process, they can get those questions answered,” she said, “and so I think the benefit of the site is acknowledging that they’re part of the experience. And we find more and more nowadays, they are part of the experience.”

By the same token, Ross McMillan, assistant director at Student Community and Leadership Development, notes, “Research overwhelmingly demonstrates that parent involvement in their student’s learning is positively related to achievement. We have a responsibility and opportunity to educate parents on the culture of the university. We acknowledge that our primary responsibility is with their student but see them as important partners in the educational process.”

Originally, there were two separate sites on the York University website catering to families, but these have been amalgamated into the one. According to D’Amelio, the work that went into the web project included a review of all the information on both sites and seeing where there was overlap, what was missing and putting it all together in a way that makes sense for parents.

“I think there’s a sense of excitement and fulfillment at having been able to do this,” adds Cope. “And because this is the first pan-divisional project that we’ve done, it’s a good model for us to use going forward.”

Parents and relatives of current, prospective and recently admitted students are encouraged to visit the website and make use of its many valuable resources.

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