Parents guide

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Sending your child to live in residence may be very exciting for you and your child, but it may also worry you. Although this is a normal feeling for any parent, we want you to help you feel comfortable sending your child to live in a safe, happy and healthy residence like Renison. 

We have gathered some information for you to understand how to help your child smoothly and safely transition into residence and university life. 

The Student Success Office at the University of Waterloo has even more resources for parents and students, such as specific programs, workshops and events. Find out more on the parents page of the Student Success Office website.

Transition Tips

Tip 1

Your child is entering a whole new world of independence and responsibility and the best way to help them transition is by letting them make these decisions on their own.

Be aware of all the steps that need to be taken – but allow your child to follow them themselves. You should be there to guide them, and make sure they are on the right track, but allow them to do the work themselves.

Tip 2

At some point you and your son/daughter will have residence questions or concerns. Have your child contact us.

Often parents call or email us on their child's behalf, this poses a few problems:

  • If your child is over the age of 16 we will not be able to tell you any specific details due to privacy policies
  • Students whose parents ask all the questions tend to not really know all that is going on. Since they are the ones who will be living here it is so important for them to be collecting all this information themselves
  • Many students have become very used to their parents sorting everything out for them. Many of them are not comfortable calling and enquiring on their own. They really need to become comfortable doing things for themselves. The time is coming very quickly where they are going to need to talk to professors, university staff, and potential employers, and this will be hard for them if they have never had to do this on their own before

Tip 3

Be sure to talk openly and honestly to your child about money. For many of them this is the first time they have been fully responsible for their spending.

Make sure they understand what you will be paying for, and what you expect them to pay for. Make sure they understand how much money is available to them, and what happens once that money runs out. Be prepared for that call asking for money! Financial planning will be a new thing for your child – they may not get it right that first time.

Tip 4

Keep encouraging your child. Remember this can be such a scary time for them too.

Remind them that they are smart enough to be successful in university and responsible enough to get along just fine in residence.  They may worry that they are not performing academically at the same level as highschool, but this is to be expected.

Tip 5

Once your child is here, be sure to allow them some space to get comfortable living on their own.

They are settling into residence, getting oriented, making new friends and starting classes. If you do not hear from them in a few days, don’t panic!

Tip 6

Encourage your child to stay in residence for the first few weeks of classes.

There are so many events and programs taking place, and opportunities to make new friends. The best way for them to adjust to their new and exciting life is to become involved in the experience.

Tip 7

If issues arise, avoid intervening and trying to solve problems for your child.

This might be an easier short-term solution, but the best way for your child to mature in the long-run is by attempting to sort the issues out for themselves first. 

Campus Safety

Life at UWaterloo, around campus and off campus, is a pretty safe place!

Waterloo Region has one of the lowest crime severity indexes in Canada. However, should something occur, here are resources that you may need.


  • UW Police (UW Police Officers are on duty 24 hours-a-day)
  • Campus Phones (all calls will immediately "lock-in" to UW Police)
  • Safety Alarms can be borrowed from the Student Life Centre Turnkey Desk and the Dana Porter, Davis Centre, and UMD Libraries in exchange for your Student I.D. card
  • As always your don is a great place to speak with should you feel unsafe

Some on-campus partners we may work with to ensure your housing experience is the best fit for you:

AccessAbility Services

  • Formerly the Office for Persons with Disabilities, AccessAbility Services provides services and support for University of Waterloo students who have a permanent disability as well as those with a temporary disability

Glow Centre for Sexual & Gender Diversity

  • Run entirely by dedicated student volunteers, Glow offers a wide variety of discussion groups, social events, advocacy opportunities, awareness campaigns, resources, and information

The Women's Centre

  • The Women's Centre aims to provide a female-positive and supportive environment on campus for women and trans folks

Conflict Management & Human Rights Office

  • The Conflict Management & Human Rights Office (CMAHRO) acts as a focal point and resource to all members of the university community regarding matters of harassment, discrimination, and other general forms of conflict
  • CMAHRO offers sexual harassment counselling & support