Parent Toolkit

Your one-stop guide to supporting your student while in college

Beginning college is a major transition under any circumstances and USC and Viterbi staff and faculty are committed to supporting your student. But you may be wondering how you can respond when you see your student encounter obstacles to their academic success and personal wellbeing.  With the Parent Toolkit, you can equip yourself with knowledge of the resources and opportunities available to your student that may be helpful to them as as they navigate their college experience.

Academic Skills

Is your student experiencing challenges with:

  • Adapting to the rigor of college
  • Feeling stressed
  • Focusing or staying motivated
  • “Zoom fatigue”
  • Time management or other study strategies

USC Kortschak Center

The USC Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity and its staff of academic coaches can assist students in developing academic skills, such as memory, test-taking, motivation, procrastination, organization, time-management, and addressing obstacles to academic success.

Check their Tools and Resources and On-Demand Workshops to learn their strategies any day at any time.

They also have drop-in hours to tailor their strategies to students' specific needs. A full calendar of Kortschak Center workshops and drop-in hours can be found here:

Viterbi Learning Program

The Viterbi Learning Program offers free tutoring for the majority of student's math, science, engineering, and writing classes. It also offers monthly workshops on important academic skills, like learning strategies, stress management and Zoom fatigue, and tools for enhancing online study sessions.  Upcoming workshop dates and recorded workshops can be found here:


Time Management Strategies

Test-Taking Tips

Reading Strategies

Stress Management

Drop-in Hours


Viterbi Learning Program Workshops

Learning Strategies

Combat Zoom Fatigue

Use GoBoard for Study Sessions

Is your student feeling confused about different online platforms and tools used in their courses?
Students can learn more about and find answers to questions about many of the most common online platforms and tools used in USC classes in the USC Student Toolkit. For specific questions about how a particular platform or tool is used within a particular course, students can always contact their instructors with questions or to address any technical issues. If technical issues ever prevent students from attending a class or completing or turning in an assignment, quiz, or exam, students should contact their instructor as soon as possible.

Help With Courses

Frequently Asked Questions

For additional academic support resources, please visit this website:

Connecting with Peers

Does your student feel disconnected from peers?  Are they having a difficult time making friends?

We know that it can be challenging to feel connected to each other in a new environment. To overcome this challenge, we encourage students to connect with peers through student organizations and by attending USC and Viterbi events.

The Experience Viterbi App is available for all Viterbi students, and is a way for students to keep up with all of the events that are happening in Viterbi. Students can earn points and badges as they participate in events and complete pathways.

Check out more at

Students can find a list of Viterbi student organizations on our website along with contact information for each organization. We recommend that students reach out to a few organizations and find 1-2 to commit to for the semester. 

Check out more at

The Center for Engineering Diversity (CED) exists to build a community of authentic engineers from historically-underrepresented backgrounds. CED’s programs and services promote professional development, support academic excellence, and develop leadership skills. 

Encourage your student to get involved in the CED peer mentoring program, or get involved in a diversity student organization, such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Queers in Science, Engineering and Technology (QuEST). Students can find the link to join each organization at

All first-year students in Viterbi are invited to enroll in Freshman Academy (ENGR 102) in the fall, a class that allows new Viterbi students to learn about the field of engineering, understand how engineers think and approach problem-solving, and examine the ethical, societal, and political impact of engineering.  The class also brings together students from all engineering majors, giving students the opportunity to meet other first-year students and build their Viterbi community.  Each Academy section is led by an experienced faculty member and two upper-division engineering students called Academy Coaches who serve as mentors and resources for questions about student life in Viterbi.

Learn more at


Is your student feeling emotionally overwhelmed or experiencing mental health challenges?

USC Student Health

USC Student Health offers free Counseling and Mental Health Services for all undergraduate students. There are a variety of ways students can utilize USC’s services.

“Let’s Talk” Drop In sessions are an opportunity to talk one-on-one with a counselor. Students can find the drop in schedule via MySHR. Each “Let’s Talk” is structured as a 30-minute drop-in for individual conversation.

The USC Student Health Office also offers weekly single session workshops. These sessions focus on a variety of topics and work towards building a skill and adding to students personal toolkits for positive mental health and interpersonal and intrapersonal well-being. Students can check the current schedule, and make a reservation for a workshop at under “workshops.”

There is a diverse selection of workshops for students to choose from. Below are three examples of the types of workshops that could be offered. (sessions vary per semester)
Calm: Techniques for Managing Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Participants will better understand the physical anxiety response and benefits of anxiety. The workshop delves into understanding the biological process and the role of thoughts in panic attacks. Coping strategies, a mindfulness exercise, and a deep breathing exercise are incorporated.
Sleep Skills: Rest and Renewal
The goal of this workshop is to learn strategies to improve your sleep. This workshop will provide general information about sleep, review sleep hygiene tips, and provide strategies to address problematic thoughts about sleep.
Setting Healthy Boundaries
This workshop will provide skills and strategies about how to maintain healthy relationships with your family, friends, significant others, and yourself. Participants discuss the importance of boundaries, assertive communication, and staying connected during this time of social distancing and self-isolation.

Mindful USC

Another option for students is to attend virtual Mindful USC Classes. Mindful USC’s mission is to empower the USC community to make positive change in the world by building a culture of mindfulness and compassion. Mindfulness practices increase attentiveness in the classroom, deepen the quality of teaching and learning, improve mental health, and encourage creativity and innovation. Mindful USC offers ongoing training, practice groups and special events throughout USC. 

If students would like to attend a Mindful USC class or practice group they can visit to sign up. All classes are free to USC students.

Additional Support

Students residing in California can also utilize individual and group counseling through TeleHealth. Students in CA, CO, DE, PA, NJ, NY, VA, MO are able to utilize virtual Long-term Counseling with Inpathy.

For more information on Wellness programs:

Academic Advising

Does your student have questions about their major or their courses for this semester or future semesters?

Your student has an assigned academic advisor who can help them with everything from making and refining academic goals and plans to clarifying academic policies and procedures to identifying resources that can help them be successful both inside and outside of the classroom. Your student can find the name and contact information of their advisor in the myUSC section labelled “Undergraduate Advisement.”

Your student will meet with their advisor at least once a semester for a mandatory advising appointment.  During their mandatory advising appointment, your student and their advisor will create a four-year course plan, discuss short- and long-term academic goals, and prepare for registration for next semester’s classes. Your student and their advisor can also talk about any questions they have about the current semester or any challenges that they are experiencing. Your student’s advisor will email them with instructions on how to sign up for a mandatory advising appointment.

Your student’s advisor is also available to them outside of the once-a-semester mandatory advising appointment. If your student has any questions or concerns, encourage them to email their academic advisor. If your student has any questions about who their advisor is, or has any issues contacting their advisor, they can reach out to Viterbi Academic Services at

Advising Appointment

Create a four-year course plan

Discuss short and long-term goals

Prepare for next semester registration

Published on October 6th, 2020

Last updated on August 16th, 2023