Parents’ FAQs

page updated August 2012.

1. Does my student need a computer? Mac or PC?

Most students do not have to have a computer. Computer-based courses are taught in campus computer labs, and there is a large Tech Center on campus, which is open 24 hours a day during the week while classes are in session. Students even get a free black & white print allotment so they can print papers or reading assignments at the Tech Center or Library. This lab includes adaptive technology for students with special needs, breakout rooms for collaborative projects and specialized workstations for tech-heavy tasks such as video editing.

All classroom computers in the Tyler building and most in the Tech Center include the specialized software that most art students use for class. Adobe Creative Suite is available for purchase by students at a special student price, but is still quite expensive, with the cost depending on which combinations of programs your student uses. Using the software in class and in the labs during the first years of their education is a cost-effective way to learn what exact combination students need. Remember that both computers and software programs are updated frequently, and it may be best to use the campus resources until a student is far enough along with their education to really have a sense of what, exactly, they need before you expend a large amount of money for a computer that may or may not be what he or she needs.

The Mac or PC question is difficult to answer. Most, if not all, of the student-use computers in the Tyler building are Macs. You’ll find the Architecture program primarily uses PCs.  Macs are traditionally the platform of choice for artists and designers. Adobe Creative Suite is available for both platforms. PCs can be less expensive and more familiar for some students, and Macs have a reputation of being less prone to viruses and malware. Both platforms are available in the Tech Center. It usually comes down to personal preference.

Information about discounts for students on software and hardware can be found here.

2. I’ve heard North Philadelphia is a scary place. Is my student safe?

You’ll be reassured if you read this message from Carl S. Bittenbender, Executive Director of Campus Safety Services.

3. I’m paying the bill! What do you mean you can’t tell me what classes my student is taking?

As a school that receives funds through programs of the US Department of Education, Temple is obliged to follow the rules of FERPA. FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their minor children’s education records. Once a student turns 18 and/or attends a school beyond the high school level, these rights transfer to the student. Generally, we must have written permission from the student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. More information about FERPA is here.

Students can quickly and easily confer permission for Temple employees to discuss student records with parents or guardians by filling out an online form (“FERPA waiver”) in the Student section of Self Service Banner, the computer system Temple students use to register for courses. You should discuss with your student whether or not he or she should fill out a FERPA waiver. More information on Temple’s FERPA policy is here.

4. My student has too much work! How is he supposed to finish it all?

Students should expect to work 1-3 hours outside of class for each credit hour they are registered for. Since the average course load is 15-17 credits, that means students will be working anywhere from 15-50 hours outside of class, with the average being about 32 hours in addition to class time. Students who have the best study habits will find that they work towards the lower end of that range; therefore, it behooves students to develop good study habits (see the next question for resources to help students develop good study habits). Mostly that means focusing on the task at hand, and not trying to study/work while simultaneously monitoring their Facebook feed, watching TV, texting friends, and listening to their iPod (although listening to the iPod is something that helps some students while doing their creative homework).

The best way to succeed is for the student to

  • stay organized by using a day planner;
  • budget time to each class;
  • stay focused and limit outside distractions while working on homework;
  • work ahead if the instructor gives you a light week (ie, do some research for that paper due next month);
  • maintain a social life and take advantage of the extracurricular activities Temple offers;
  • eat regular meals and get plenty of sleep and exercise—remember it is much more effective to study a few hours and then get enough sleep rather than pulling an “all-nighter.”

An excellent article expanding these ideas is here.

Students, especially in studio classes, should set realistic goals and develop projects they can realistically finish by the due date. They need to remember there is a difference between what they can do and what they can do by Tuesday. Instructors want to see that they have thoughtfully and reasonably solved and finished their assigned problem by the due date, not that they have spent every minute of every day since the assignment was given working on a project. Part of the lesson is to develop the skill of knowing what you can do and how long it will take you to do it.

Most importantly, student should not put so much time into their projects that they are too exhausted to participate in the critique (crit). The crit is not the time at which grades are decided (thumbs up or thumbs down), it’s a unique part of how we teach in art schools. It’s really important that students be ready to present their work, ready to listen to feedback from faculty and peers, and ready to demonstrate their understanding of the principles of the project by talking about others’ work. What might seem to a student like a ‘bad crit’—one in which the project is less than enthusiastically acclaimed brilliant—may actually be the best thing for learning. Parents might expect to get calls about crits and they should be calm and understand the teaching function of the crit. A ‘bad crit’ is only bad if the student did not contribute to anyone else’s critique and did not listen to and understand what could have made their own and others’ projects better.

Students should remember that they have already been accepted to Tyler. The foundational programs are not designed to, nor do they strive to, weed out students who “can’t cut it.” The projects and critiques are carefully designed to help students understand the skills and design principals involved in making art so they have a foundational understanding of these design principals and are prepared to build upon those skills in their major studio classes.  We expect students to occasionally “fail.”  It is often when the best learning takes place. This is not Project Runway—someone doesn’t go home at the end of each project.

5. I think my student is struggling in his/her _______ class. Where can she turn for help?

Temple offers lots of help for students who need it. They only have to ask! If a student is struggling, the first place she or he should turn is the class instructor. Most are quite willing to help students if they would only ask. No instructor wants to see a student fail, and students who won’t ask for or accept help when they need it are the most frustrating students we teach!

Temple also has several resources to help students with specific classes. They include…

  • The Math and Science Resource Center offers drop-in and online tutoring, as well as review sessions, for most Gen Ed math classes and some science courses.
  • The Writing Center will help students with all aspects of their writing assignments. They have drop-in tutoring, as well as online/email tutoring and longer, one-hour one-on-one sessions with a writing tutor. The best way to get help at the Writing Center is to drop in and ask for help as soon as you think you may need it, not the day before the paper is due.
  • Temple Library has a host of resources to help students with research assignments, including Ask a Librarian services to help students find their sources and RefWorks software to help them properly cite their sources. Tyler has our own Resource Librarian, Jill Luedke, who is available to help students with their art, architecture, and art history research (she has also put together online research guides by subject, available at her library website). She holds office hours in Tyler’s lobby each week to assist students.

For non-class specific help, the Russell Conwell Center’s Educational Services Component provides Temple University undergraduate students with comprehensive academic support to enrich their undergraduate experience and enhance academic success. All Temple students can utilize the services, which include academic assessment, group and individual tutoring, supplemental instruction, academic workshops and information, and referral services. They offer weekly lunchtime mini-workshops on skills such as test-taking strategies, note-taking skills, classroom etiquette, and time-management skills.

Temple’s HEART Team strives to provide comprehensive wellness education, resources and prevention services that empower and support Temple University students in making informed, healthier choices in order to achieve emotional and academic success. HEART is an on-campus office staffed by health professionals and peer health educators who are committed to providing comprehensive wellness education, resources and prevention services to empower and support Temple University students in making informed healthier choices and achieving academic success.

6. My student is deaf/has a learning disability. What resources are available so he can succeed?

Temple has an Office of Disability Resources and Services (DRS) to help all students with disabilities, but they can only help students who register. Students have a disability should first contact the DRS office to submit documentation, schedule a meeting and register for accommodations. They will help students explain their disability to their instructors. Students often are embarrassed or don’t want special accommodations and will struggle in silence, but they will find that there is plenty of help if they use the resources offered to them. If an instructor does not know there is a solvable problem, they cannot help.

7. My student called and has the flu. Where can she go for help?

Temple’s Student Health Services has both drop-in hours and same day appointments for students who need to be seen for basic (non-emergency) services. They are located on the fourth floor of the 1800 Liacouras Walk building on Main Campus. Student Health Services is staffed with Board Certified Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, RNs and Medical Assistants to meet your Healthcare needs. The University Services fee that all full-time students pay fee covers most acute care visits, and some, but not all, routine care visits (students will need insurance to cover costs not covered).

Students experiencing an emergency should call campus security at 215-204-1234 for emergency services. These services are not typically covered as part of the University Services Fee, but if a student is on either the family’s medical insurance, or you have purchased an insurance policy for them (the school offers some discounted plans), that will usually cover emergency services.

8. Where do I pay my student’s tuition?

Tuition payments are accepted online or by mail. All the information about tuition, including rates, payment schedules, payment plans, and how to pay, is available at the Bursar’s website.

9. My student hasn’t told me when he’s coming home for semester break. When will that be?

You should bookmark Temple’s Academic Calendar. That will give you an idea of when stuff will be happening at Temple.

10. How does my student find out when to register for classes?

We email information to students each week in a weekly newsletter. This newsletter includes information such as deadlines for course withdrawal, when to register, deadlines to apply for academic scholarships, weekly activities, job opportunities, and non-departmental specific internships. Students should be encouraged to read the weekly email newsletter! If you would like to receive it as well, simply email Kari Scott and ask to subscribe to the newsletter.

11. Can you help me get Financial Aid/Housing/Dining Services?

Temple has an extensive website with information about all of their services. At the top of the website is a link for Current Students, which has a host of academic information, including Student Financial Services (financial aid). At the bottom of that page is a link for other Student Services, including Housing, Dining Services and Diamond Dollars.

As a part of the large Temple community, Tyler relies on, and is required by the University to utilize these offices to provide these services to our students. We do not have any special contact with any of the centralized offices, nor do we have access to their information systems so we can find out if your application has been received or if a problem is being handled. You will find that dealing directly with these offices is the most efficient use of your precious time in getting these services for your student.

12. How can my student find a job or internship?

Temple has an online student jobs database that covers on-campus jobs. Most (but not all) of the on-campus jobs do require a work-study award, which is part of the financial aid package for students who qualify. There is also a list of nearby off-campus jobs for students with a work-study award here.

For non-work-study, summer or post-baccalaureate jobs, Temple University has a professional Career Center that serves both current students and alumni. They provide career assessment, exploration programs/resources and industry information to help students explore their career options. They will also help with strategies and expert advice on resume and cover letter writing, interviewing and job search skills. They provide on-line job and internship postings and on-campus recruiting through the OwlNetwork, Career Fairs and web resources to help connect students with employers for internships, part-time and full-time positions.

Tyler has a specific contact person/career coach at the Career Center:  Ashley Jones.  She can be contacted at 215-204-4938 or

Some major-specific internships are coordinated within the major department, and students will be offered these internships through their department when it is appropriate during their educational program.

13. My student has no friends. How can I help her connect to others?

Meeting new people is often scary, and students sometimes take a while to warm up to new people. If your student has only been here for a couple of weeks or so, give her some time to get comfortable with her new surroundings and become familiar with her classmates. She may have gotten used to being around people she’s known since she was in kindergarten. This is a new, and much larger environment than many students are used to. Some people just take a little longer to warm up to new friends.

If she has a special interest or activity that she’s loved, or something that she’s always wanted to try, encourage her to find other students who share that interest. It’s actually pretty easy to find students that share those interests at the Student Organization web site. Temple has over 250 registered student organization covering interests as diverse as religion and juggling. Students who are used to attending weekly religious services at home may also find that they can connect with others from their spiritual tradition. Locally, there is the Newman Center for Catholic students, and a Campus Hillel for Jewish students. The Hillel center serves kosher meals under the student meal plan, and, because kosher is very similar to Halal, welcome their Muslim brothers and sister who wish to maintain their dietary laws to join them. Students from other faiths who need help connecting with a house of worship are welcome to contact the Coordinator of Student Life, Kari Scott for help.

If your student is still struggling finding friends after being at Tyler for several months, there may be an underlying psychological issue that should be addresses. Temple has an excellent resource for that—the Tuttleman Counseling Center—that offers students support for emotional, educational or vocational concerns. Assistance is confidential and free of charge. They provide an atmosphere that is informal and professional, where students can feel safe and comfortable seeking help. They offer a wide range of assistance including counseling, support groups, literature, and educational programs and outreach events. There are drop-in hours so students don’t even have to make an appointment if they visit Monday-Friday between 10:00 am and 1:30 pm.

14.  How does my student know what classes to take?

Temple has a Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS), which allows undergraduate students to plan and track their academic career at Temple. DARS works in concert with the Banner Student information system to show how a student’s course work to date, including transferred courses, will fulfill the academic requirements necessary to complete a degree in the major field of study. A “What-if” DARS allows students to see how their completed course work would apply and what requirements would still need to be fulfilled, if they change their selection of major(s). More information about DARS is here.

If a student has questions or needs to talk to someone about their classes, Tyler has a professional Academic Advisor, Laurie Duffy, to help them navigate their classes, and discuss course options with them.  Most incoming students met their advisor at either their freshman orientation or transfer advising session when they initially registered for classes at Tyler.  If a student wants to make an appointment to meet with the Academic Advisor, they just need to email and include times they’re available to meet, as well as their name, major and TUID (the 9-digit ID number that starts with 9).  She will email back with an appointment time.  Many questions can be handled via email, and students are encouraged to include an outline of the information or guidance they need when requesting an appointment.

BFA students who have declared their major (usually at the beginning of their Junior year), as well as Architecture, Art Education and Art History majors are usually best advised by their department’s designated advisor.  If a student does not know who that person is, a list is posted in the Tyler Advising Suite, which is Room 212, overlooking the “Green Hallway” in the Tyler building.

15. My student wants to study abroad. What do I need to know about that?

Students who study abroad open up to a world of new perspectives and opportunities. Studying abroad is much more than a being tourist–students take classes, shop in local markets, speak a new language, taste new foods, and visit culturally significant sites they learned about in class. They experience daily life in a way never imagined before. Studying abroad may well be the most memorable and rewarding college experience.

Studying abroad also helps to prepare students for today’s competitive job market and graduate school. Characteristics that employers look for are often gained through studying abroad: international experience, initiative, cultural sensitivity, flexibility, responsibility, and the ability to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. In today’s interconnected society, the need for cross-cultural understanding is greater than ever.

Temple has a plethora of study-abroad choices available on the Education Abroad website. Financial Aid awards can be use to pay for approved study-abroad programs, and there are specific study-abroad scholarship programs to help make the possibility of study-abroad a reality for most students. Temple study-abroad programs charge the same tuition rates as the local programs, with a small program fee to cover the additional program costs in the host country. Students accepted into a study-abroad program can have their financial aid needs reevaluated to take into account the additional program costs associated with travel and living in a foreign country. Additionally, Temple University president Ann Hart and her husband Randy have established a scholarship intended to support the cost of passport fees for Temple undergraduate students who plan to study abroad. This scholarship is available to freshman and first-year transfer students to encourage them to begin planning their study-abroad adventure early. For more information, please visit

Tyler students will find that the programs at Temple Rome and Temple Japan are the most art and architecture-student friendly programs—the Temple Rome program actually started as at Tyler-specific program in the mid-1960s. Additionally, there are often Tyler-specific programs offered in the summer to places such as Scotland. Students thinking about study abroad programs should consult with their Academic Advisor to plan the best time in their academic schedule to study abroad—for most students the Junior year is appropriate, but some majors find the spring semester of their Sophomore year to be the best choice.

16. How can I get involved to help my student succeed?

Some Tyler parents have banded together to form the Tyler Parents Council. Their goal is to provide a community of parents to act as a resource in support of recruiting, fundraising and networking outside the organization. The Parents Council will actively collaborate with Tyler’s Administration and Faculty to help foster the broader school’s mission. If you would like more information or are ready to get involved, email or visit their Facebook page.

17. Are there other resources I should know about?

Parents of new BFA students will find information on the Parents page of the Tyler Foundations website.

There are also lots of resources for students and their parents on other pages of this Student Life Blog. Student Life also maintains a Facebook page and a Twitter Feed at @TylerStudents.

Temple’s Office of University Studies is primarily for students who have not declared a major, but they have a couple of interesting links for parents of new students on their website.

Temple’s News Service posted an interesting article with tips for parents to deal with their first semester of seperation. You can find that here: “Technology, closer relationships are changing how young people transition to college.”

The Washington Post did a series this summer about adjusting to freshman year.  Read them here:
Surviving Freshman Year
Tips for Surviving Your First Year
Online chat about surviving the first year
(George Washington specific, but still helpful tips)

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