Family Orientation

Welcome to our Summer Orientation for Families Website!

The information provided on this page is meant to help you aid your student as he or she begins their college career. We know that your role as a mentor and guide for your student is as important now as it has ever been.  Family support and involvement has been shown to increase the chances that a college student will be successful in achieving their academic goals and will graduate with a degree.

Each section below addresses information we believe will help you help your student as they move through their college experience.  If you have any questions about this material, do not hesitate to contact the Office of Student Success at

How Students Get Started at UCA – New Bear Central Online OrientationNew Bear Central Tile

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all summer activities normally held on UCA’s campus have moved online. New Bear Central is the online orientation experience UCA has developed for our entering first-year students in place of on-campus registration. Through New Bear Central, students complete various online modules featuring information about academic advising, paying for college and financial preparation, academic and student services resources, campus life, and Welcome Week. As a part of this online orientation experience, students will meet with an academic advisor in a virtual session, as well as upperclassmen leaders from the Student Orientation Staff (SOS).

Students who have not yet started their online orientation through NBC should go to the Freshman Advising website and begin.

What Courses and Activities will my Student Complete at UCA?

A UCA Degree prepares your student for a lifetime of learning and, yes, for their future careers.  For more information on all of the components of a UCA education, please watch this video.

Want more information on UCA Degree Programs?  See the Undergraduate Bulletin and UCA’s Eight-Semester Academic Maps for each degree program.

What Resources Does My Student Have at UCA and How Can I Help My Student?

UCA offers a number of academic, social, emotional, and personal resources for our students as they work through their college experience.  Every student has a “Success Team” of faculty, staff, and peers ready to assist them in being successful.  We hope you will join us and be part of your student’s Success Team.  For more information on resources and how to assist your student, please watch this video.

For more information on resources available to our students, please see the UCA Student Support Guide.

What will Classes be Like this Fall?

Your student may face unique challenges this Fall, but we are all working to make sure they succeed.  Some classes may meet both on campus and online (hybrid), while others are being offered fully online.  Should circumstances require it, all classes will convert to fully online for as long as needed.  Please see our “Fall 2020 Success” page for more information on instructional models and tips for your student’s success.

What Technology Does My Student Need for Fall?

UCA recommends that all students have a desktop or laptop in order to complete assignments and access courses in the UCA Learning Management System, Blackboard.  Internet access, computer labs, and printing are available on campus, but most students find it best to have a computer and printer of their own. Additionally, while our hope and plan is that all in-person classes remain in-person classes for the fall, another peak of the COVID-19 pandemic could change that expectation. If that does happen, personal technology and access to the internet will be needed. It is important that students are prepared for such an eventuality.  

A few things students should have access to on their computer:

  • Webcam
  • Microphone
  • Speakers (or headphone jack to hear audio)
  • Windows 10 or Mac OS Operating System (although older systems may work)
  • Wireless Internet Adapter that allows connection to the campus internet

Note: some classes require students to take exams online through a security software that does not work on a mobile device or a Chromebook. Students will need a PC or Mac for these courses.

A complete list of recommended computer specs can be found here: UCA Student Computer Hardware/Software Recommendations.

How Can I be Involved at UCA?

As part of our UCA family, please be sure to connect with our Family Network The UCA Family Network provides an online newsletter and a Facebook page to keep you in the know.  Check out their website for more information, helpful resources, and membership options.

Where Can I Find More Information on Supporting My Student?

We hope that you and your student will take full advantage of the services and resources the University of Central Arkansas provides.  Here are several resources for more information on how you can best help your student succeed in meeting their academic goals:UCA Family Guide 2020-2021

  • The UCA Family Guide is now online!  Spanish version now available: UCA Guia para familias.
  • Higher Ed Parent offers blogs, recommends books, and provides information through social media.
  • ParentLingo workshop videos provide you information on helping your student adjust to the demands of college.  Create your account now, and work through the videos at your convenience.

Other policies and resources you should know about include:

  • Attendance Policy and Academic Standards.  The University does not have one standard attendance policy.  Students are advised of individual class attendance policies and procedures in the syllabi provided by their faculty.
  • FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA®) is the form to apply for financial aid for college.  Students must submit this form each year to maintain financial aid eligibility.
  • FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) All rights to inspect or review a student’s educational record are transferred from the parent to the student on the first day of classes at UCA.  UCA staff members are not permitted to share any information with anyone outside of the university system without authorization from the student.  Release forms can be found online at:
  • Financial Aid Status: Your student can verify the status of his or her aid award by doing the following:
    • Log on to myUCA
    • Click the Self-Service tab
    • Click the Financial Aid tab
    • Click on Financial Aid Status
    • Click on Student Requirements
    • Choose the 2020/2021 aid year from the dropdown box
    • Needed requirements to complete the award application will be displayed
  • If your student is uncertain about their major or interests, the MyMajors assessment can help.
  • The Office of the Dean of Students assists students with individual concerns and medical issues in navigating campus policies and withdrawal from the University, if necessary.
  • Safe@UCA app provides weather and emergency alerts for the campus, and many other safety features.
Thank you for being part of your student’s Success Team!