Welcome Families!

New Student Services/Family Outreach is pleased to support the transition process for new students and families to the Western experience through our orientation programs, family weekends, and our online and printed family resources. Through our offerings, we hope to inform you about the many campus resources and services available to your student here as well as some helpful strategies on how you can support your student to best access and utilize them.  

Tips for Navigating Family Orientation

Red Square on a sunny day with students sitting at outdoor tables

The New Student and Family Orientation website is open to explore with your student as you continue preparations for their first academic quarter. Here are a few tips on how you might approach navigating the site together as well as on your own.


Encourage your student to join you to:

  1. Review the “How do I…” section of the Orientation website to help answer common questions or complete essential tasks to get started at Western, learn more about placement tests, or take a virtual campus tour.
  2. Review the “Learn more about...” section to access campus websites and videos covering academic majors, campus services and resources, and topical conversations with current students.
  3. Checkout online resources or videos prior to attending Live Events to deepen your knowledge and round out your orientation experience.

On Your Own

Check out the information below for:

  1. Quick and easy access to Orientation website content that has been identified as higher priority by parents and families from previous programs.
  2. Important processes, resources and services available to support your student’s successful transition to Western.
  3. Important reminders like: Breathe! You got this!


Checklist for New Students

Learn about required and recommended actions for new students, including submitting proof of measles immunization, completing the Math Placement Assessment, submission of final transcripts, and more.

Prepare for WWU

New Viking Handbook

Don’t know what you don’t know? A great place to start is by checking out the New Viking Handbook! Here you'll find information curated by function instead of department name to help you support your student with navigating campus services, departments, resources, policies, and more.

Tuition & Billing

Students must complete the Release of Financial Information e–sign form to allow the Student Business Office (SBO) to speak with family about their Western Account. Watch the Send a Payer Invitation video on the SBO's How To page to learn more about how parents or other payers can view account balance and make payments.

Questions? You can watch the previously recorded SBO Tuition Tuesday information sessions on the orientation website.  

Student Transportation

We often hear the question, “Can students really get around Bellingham without a car?” The answer is YES! The lack of parking during a ‘typical’ academic year as well as the savings from not paying for parking and gas are persuasive reasons to find out more. Watch the Western on the Go! Video and checkout the available tools on the WWU Transportation website to assess your student’s transportation needs. 

Transportation Services

Academic Success

Wondering how to support your student with what to expect with academics at Western? Join the Academic Advising Center, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and New Student Services/Family Outreach offices as we offer an introduction to academic life at Western, tips and strategies for academic success, words of wisdom for students and families, and share resources for your academic journey. Check back for the recording that will be added to the orientation website soon.

New Viking Families On Board

Join New Student Services/Family Outreach for one of four sessions designed to help parents and family understand the resources available to support student success! Current students will be on hand for 'real talk,' answer questions and give pro tips on how they're navigating Western. Watch the recordings of the previous sessions from July 30, Aug. 4 & 11 from the Orientation website. You can find the links from the session chats in the video description.

Western Connections

Encourage your student to register for as many of the New Student Services/Family Outreach live orientation sessions as they like! Designed to help students make early connections, feel confident and ready to start their academic and social experience at Western, these fun, peer-led sessions in Zoom are sprinkled throughout the Orientation schedule.

Student Activities

Encourage your student to explore the Western Involvement Network (WIN) to connect with AS Clubs and Organizations. 

Learn More About WIN

Student Housing

Meal Plans & Dining Services

Residential meal plans are mandatory for students living in the residence halls on campus. Optional meal plans for students living off campus or in Birnam Wood are also available. Study up on your student's meal plan & dining options at WWU by visiting the Meal Plan 101 page. Explore the website to learn more about dining locations & menus, supporting special dietary needs, and more. 

Disability Access Center

Learn more about providing support as a family member for your new college student through the Disability Access Center (DAC). Checkout the overview of some of the differences between K-12 and Higher Ed and why it’s important that your student begins the dialogue with this office instead of parents and family members.

COVID Updates

For the latest updates on campus responses to COVID-19, please visit the WWU Coronavirus website for: Vax FAQs, requirements, on-campus student testing metrics, campus cancellations and closure notices, and more.

Be Well

Curious about Western’s approach to wellness? Make sure to watch the video featuring Dr. Sislena Ledbetter, Executive Director, WWU Counseling, Health and Wellness, as she describes the full spectrum of care available to students through the Student Health Center and Counseling Center/Prevention and Wellness services.

The following additional family resources are also available to help you support your student with their continued growth and social/emotional development:

Referring Your Student Transition Tips Resources for Families

Find out more about available health and wellness services and Western’s commitment to helping students with learning the importance of self-care and how to practice good mind/body health on the Counseling, Health, Wellness Services website.

Lisa Moeschler wearing a light blue shirt

Coffee, Tea and Family

Is your student new to Western this quarter? Do you have questions about how to navigate the New Student and Family Orientation website? Need a crash course in accessing resources and services available to students? Want to be “at the ready” with helpful information and advice to support your student’s success at Western? 

If your answer is yes to any one or maybe all of these questions, then grab a cup of coffee or tea and let’s chat during my office hours!  

Book a Meeting Now

Lisa Moeschler
Family Outreach Manager

Frequently Asked Questions

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to student educational records. 

What this means to parents and families is that WWU staff and faculty cannot discuss some aspects of your student's education with you without permission from your student. While FERPA is in place to protect your student, we understand that this is a big change and may take some time to get used to. Offices and departments on campus are happy to talk with you about policies and procedures, even if they cannot discuss your student's specific situation.

For information about how students can grant you access to their Western Account Online for tuition and billing purposes, please see "How can I gain access to my student’s account for tuition and billing purposes?" below.

Learn More About FERPA

Students must complete the Release of Financial Information e–sign form to allow the Student Business Office (SBO) to speak with family about their Western Account. 

Students must send a Payer Invitation through their Western Account Portal to allow parents or other payers to view their balance and make payments. Watch the Send a Payer Invitation video on the SBO's How To page to learn more.

Learn about required and recommended actions for new students by visiting our Preparing for WWU page, including submitting proof of measles immunization, completing the Math Placement Assessment, submission of final transcripts, and more.

Additional Resources