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Panther Parents Association
July 2016 Issue

Getting Students to Make Good Choices | Handshake | Family Weekend Photos | Survey | New and Transfer Student Orientation | Panther Connect | OCC Curriculum Challenge | 529 and College Savings Plan Payments | Scholarships from Outside Organizations | Authorized Payers | More Scholarship Opportunities | Save the Dates

Getting Students to Make Good Choices

College is a time of new-found freedom for college students. They are exposed to a multitude of opportunities where they will have to make a choice to engage or not to engage. Reinforce years of guidance to help your student make good choices this fall.  

A “good choice” conversation doesn’t necessarily have to be a “family meeting.” Anytime you get the chance to talk – over lunch or during a short trip in the car – may be the right time to chat. You can talk to them about joining student organizations, planning activities that do not involve alcohol or drug use, and re-establish that you’re a phone call away if they need moral support.

In her book,You’re On Your Own But I’m Here If You Need Me, Marjorie Savage (2003) agrees that student behavior is impacted by peer pressure, but parent messages can reduce that impact. Don’t believe that students forget your messages because they aren’t living at home or they are commuting to school in a new environment; they will remember.

Even with innocent intentions, sometimes students find themselves at a party or a situation where they begin to feel uncomfortable. Help them develop a contingency plan now so that they can remove themselves from the situation. And, encourage them to call you (unconditionally) if they need to – day or night.

Having an advance plan to fill free time is key. Everyone needs R&R! Encourage your student to check out activities through the Outside the Class Curriculum, Pitt Serves, Pitt Program CouncilPitt Arts, Intramurals and Recreation or one of more than 400 student organizations. All of these options help students to find positive, fun, activities throughout the week and weekends so their choices are easy and productive.

We are here to support you as you support your student. If you have questions about the above or have a concern, please feel free to contact us at or 412-624-8548.


Sandy Talbott
Parent and Family Liaison

Pitt is Switching to Handshake

People are absorbing content faster than ever before and the way universities and employers are partnering together is changing at a rapid rate. Handshake is a new career-services system that has adopted the shift in the industry and the way students are engaging with career services and employers. Handshake addresses career services concerns, and provides solutions for universities, recruiters, and students alike. From a user friendly platform similar to LinkedIn or Facebook, to click recognition software similar to Netflix, Handshake is designed to transform the recruiting experience for students and career centers. 

Pitt is among a number of prestigious universities making the transition to this new system. Handshake will allow The Office of Career Development and Placement Assistance at Pitt to better serve our students and better partner with employers.
Students can log into Handshake to apply for jobs, make appointments with career consultant and RSVP for the latest networking events and programming.  Handshake will launch this Fall 2016 and will be available to students starting July 1st, 2016! Encourage your student to log in, check out the system and take the career-interest survey to tailor their profile to one or more industries of interest. 

For more information, please contact:

Megan Zimmerman

Employment Development Specialist
Office of Career Development and Placement Assistance
Phone: 412-624-8197

Family Weekend Photos!

Family Weekend is September 30 – October 1, 2016, starring YOU! Please send us photos of your family (four legged family, too!) in your best PITT swag! Selected photos will be shown on the large screen as families arrive for the Family Weekend Welcome Reception. 
NOTE:  Your photo may also be used in other Pitt print and electronic media. If your photo includes minors (age 16 or younger) please complete this waiver and submit at the same time that you submit the photo to
Please monitor in the coming weeks for details on an on-campus tailgate, museum discounts, movie night and more! Hope to see you there! H2P!

New and Transfer Student Orientation!

Welcome, families of our newest Pitt Panthers! You may receive a New and Transfer Student Orientation postcard in the US mail this month. This is a visual reminder that you are invited to attend orientation sessions from August 22 – 24.  As you read it you may ask yourself, “To attend or not to attend. That is the question!”  

We welcome parents and families to campus any time.  Whether to attend Orientation sessions is a decision for you to make with your student. Many parents stay, while others help with move-in, make that final shopping trip, and return home. Whichever you decide is fine with us.  

To make an informed decision you may want to register for our upcoming July 25 Webinar, Arrival Survival/Orientation: What You Need to Know. Parents, families, and students may find it helpful to view it together.

Your Input is Valued

Please complete this brief survey so that we may better serve Pitt Parents with more webinars, programs, and resources. 
Panther Connect

Attention Parents and Families of Incoming First Year Students!

Read more to see how your incoming first year student can get connected early!  

PantherConnect Orientation Retreat registration is now live! These retreats are designed to provide an opportunity for incoming first year students to connect with campus, connect with one another and connect to their passion prior to the University of Pittsburgh’s orientation week.  Students will build meaningful relationships with fellow classmates and upper-class students, learn about campus life, get a jump start on orientation, and move-in to the residence halls early. Participants can choose to attend one of the five retreat themes offered:
  • Arts and Culture
  • Leadership
  • Service
  • Sports and Recreation
  • Sustainability
Registration is now available. Retreat cost is $125 and financial assistance is available for eligible students. Limited space available! For more information, click here.

Outside the Classroom Curriculum Challenge

From July 2016 through April 2017, the Office of Parent and Family Resources will feature Pitt’s Outside the Classroom Curriculum program and discuss how your students can achieve each goal. 
What is the Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC)?
  • The OCC is a University-wide initiative and co-curricular program designed to educate the whole student through the completion of programs, events, and experiences
  • Provides a pathway for students to have the best possible collegiate experience
  • Helps students gain the needed skills for employment or graduate school
Students who participate fully in the OCC report that they are more engaged in campus life, feel more connected to the University and their peers, and are more knowledgeable about resources and services at Pitt. And, perhaps most importantly, students who complete the OCC feel well prepared in interviews for internships, admission to graduate school, and full-time employment. Employers and graduate school admissions counselors have assured us that the outcomes within the 10 goal areas of the OCC are the specific traits they are looking for in applicants.

The Goal of the Month: Appreciation of the Arts

Learning Outcome: Students will develop a personal definition of art derived from knowledge about and experience with a variety of art forms.

Total requirements for completion: 7

Requirements:  Attend 7 arts events.

Tips: During the summer, whether your students are home or traveling, they can visit any museums/art events that are near you and receive credit!

529 and College Savings Plan Payments

If you have a Pennsylvania 529 Plan, the state will send your payment to the University electronically. If you have a 529 or College Savings Plan from another state or financial institution, ask them to include your student’s full name and seven-digit ID on the check and mail it to:  University of Pittsburgh, P.O Box 643092, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3092.  Each plan has its own requirements, so visit your plan's website to see what they need to support your request for payment.  Most accept a printout of the Current Account Details screen in PittPAY. Charges for fall term will appear there after your student registers for classes and after the Board of Trustees approves tuition and fee rates, typically in mid-July.

Scholarships from Outside Organizations

Many students receive scholarships from organizations outside the University, like employers, social groups, and community service organizations.  Ask the awarding entity to include your student’s full name and seven-digit student ID on the scholarship check and mail it to: University of Pittsburgh, Student Payment Center, 139 University Place, G-7 Thackeray Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.  If the scholarship is $100 or more, half will be applied to fall term and half to spring term, unless other instructions are included with the check.  If the check is made co-payable to the student and the University, make sure the student endorses the check before it is delivered to the Student Payment Center

Authorized Payers

The Student Payment Center can only discuss billing, payment, and account information with students and the individuals the student designates as Authorized Payers in PittPAY. If you will assist your student in understanding and managing their student finances or you plan to make payments on your student’s behalf, ask your student to sign you up today.  Students and Authorized Payers each receive a courtesy email when an eBill is posted to PittPAY. Students can have as many Authorized Payers as they wish.  

Scholarship Opportunities

Summer is a great time to research scholarship opportunities. Work with your student to check out these scholarship opportunities!

Save the Dates

The University of Pittsburgh
Division of Student Affairs 
Office of Parent and Family Resources
130 William Pitt Union
Pittsburgh, PA 15260 | 412-624-8548

Copyright © 2015 University of Pittsburgh, All rights reserved.

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