Parents & Families


Hello, Michigan Engineering Parents and Families!

We are so excited that your student chose Michigan Engineering and look forward to partnering with you to support their undergraduate journey.

On this page, you will find a slide deck that will provide an overview of the Michigan Engineering student experience with a focus on the first year. You will also find a list of Frequently Asked Questions and responses from the Engineering Advising Center (EAC) team.


Frequently Asked Questions
How does advising work in the College of Engineering?

Your student will have an assigned academic advisor on the EAC team until they declare a major in their second or third term. They are welcome to meet with us as often as they like, but we highly recommend that students meet with an advisor at least once per semester. They can meet with their assigned advisor or any one of us here in the EAC.  

In these appointments, we can check in on how they’re adjusting to college, how they’re doing overall, and how classes are going. We can talk about study strategies or time management, how to get involved on campus, and plan out their future course schedules together. They are also welcome to reach out to us via email if you ever have any questions or need support. Our goal is to be a friendly source of information and encouragement for them.

What are the roles of students, advisors, and parents/families in student success?

Your student should be in the driver’s seat of their college experience, but advisors and parents/families both have important roles to play in supporting students’ success. This table summarizes those roles. Notice that advisors and parents/families both take on a coaching role, providing information, advice, and support. Our shared goal is to empower students to take ownership of their education, learn to independently problem solve, and to ask for help when needed. You are always welcome to reach out to the EAC with questions or concerns. Federal privacy laws preclude us from sharing students’ educational records without their permission, but we can share general information about academic policies and resources.

Student’s RoleAdvisor’s RoleParent/Family Member’s Role
Take ownership of their college experienceFollow the student’s lead, serve as a coachFollow the student’s lead, serve as a coach
Attend classes, manage time, and keep up with academic workMonitor academic progress & intervene as neededListen and offer support for academic/personal concerns
Pursue opportunities to promote their growthSuggest relevant opportunities to enhance student’s experienceHelp student reflect on their college experience
Understand degree requirements/academic policiesHelp students set goals and create an action planPromote student’s resilience & problem-solving skills
Ask for help when neededHighlight options & connect students with resourcesEncourage student to connect with advisor

How many Engineering majors are there, how can my student explore majors, and when can they declare a major?

Your student has 18 engineering majors to choose from. Whether their interests are in computing, mechanics, natural sciences, operations, or something else, we’ll help them find a major that is a great fit for them! 

There are many ways for students to explore Engineering majors. We strongly recommend first-year students take Engineering 110: Design Your Engineering Experience this fall. This two-credit course introduces students to different engineering majors and career paths, helps them develop a plan for their Michigan Engineering experience, and provides mentoring in small discussion groups led by experienced engineering students. They can also attend the College’s Majors and Minors Fair in the fall, explore the CoE Majors website, talk with peer advisors, meet with the Engineering Career Resource Center, or schedule an advising appointment with their department of interest.

To become eligible to declare a major, they must complete one full semester on campus and have completed at least one math, science, and engineering course with at least a C or higher. Students typically declare sometime during their second or third semester. Once students declare a major, they are assigned an academic advisor within their major department who replaces their EAC Advisor.

How does course scheduling work?

Students use tools called Atlas and Wolverine Access to create their schedules and register for courses for each term. A typical first or second term schedule is 15-17 credits and includes math, science, engineering, and an intellectual breadth or general elective course. Time management is a critical skill for college students to master. In addition to courses, students need to budget time for things like meals, study time, activities, and travel time between courses. EAC Advisors help students with the course registration process on their Virtual Advising Day and check their schedules to make sure they have the appropriate courses and a manageable schedule.

What is the typical grade point average for an Engineering student?

The academic rigor of Michigan Engineering courses is usually an adjustment. Students may be asked to learn material differently than they did in high school. Michigan Engineering students tend to have very strong high school GPAs close to 4.0, an A average. At the end of their first term and at graduation, their GPAs are typically between 3.4-3.5, B+ and A- average. At minimum, students must earn a straight C or better in every required math, science, and engineering course, and maintain a 2.0 GPA every term. Ideally, students should aim to maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher to be prepared to apply for internships and graduate school.

What is the transition from high school to college like?

The transition from high school to college is a big one for many reasons. First-year students need to adjust to more hours spent on homework and studying, larger class sizes, less structure and more options for what to study and how to spend their time. In high school, they knew how to succeed as a student. Now they’re going to school in a completely different way than they have for the past 12 years. For the first time in 3 or 4 years, they have to learn how to be a student again – a Michigan Engineering student. EAC Advisors help students adapt to these changes and develop the skills necessary to get off to a good start in the College. The habits and strategies they develop in their first year will pay off term after term.

What are the most important college success strategies my student needs to learn?

Here is a short list of strategies that we emphasize to new students:

  • Ask for help
  • Use office hours, study groups, tutors
  • Manage time effectively
  • Find community
  • Prioritize wellness
  • Learn from setbacks
  • Create accountability

These are strategies that current Michigan Engineering students find to be critical to their success. Academic resources such as faculty office hours and peer tutoring are plentiful, but they don’t make house calls. Students need to take initiative and ask for what they need, when they need it. Learning how to manage their time and business is probably the most important skill that college students need to develop in their first term. Students have to be well in order to do well – making friends, staying healthy, and developing resilience are all necessary for their wellbeing and success.

Where can my student go for academic or personal help?

U-M has a wide array of resources to support your student. First, we encourage students to check in with their EAC Advisor who can connect them with resources. In addition to University-level resources, the College of Engineering has several types of resources specifically for Engineering students. For academic support, the Engineering Center for Academic Success offers free tutoring and supplemental instruction sessions for introductory math, science, and engineering courses. For help finding community, Engineering students can connect with peers through programs such as First Gen Engin and the CoE Peer Mentor Program, as well as a number of student organization communities. For wellness support, students can connect with the CARE Center as well as embedded CAPS counselors.

How can my student get involved on campus?

Michigan Engineering is full of opportunities! Immersed is a portfolio of programs that help students engage in learning experiences outside the classroom. They include student organizations, international experiences, entrepreneurship, research, and design projects. Academic advisors help new students explore these opportunities and decide which will be most meaningful to them. We encourage students to connect with organizations that are both engineering-related and just for fun. 

Questions or concerns? Email [email protected] to reach the Engineering Advising Center team.
For more Parent & Family Resources, visit In particular, we think this page on First-Year Expectations, including a month-by-month guide of what your student may be experiencing, is very helpful.