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Dear Parents and Families of St. Bonaventure Students:

Happy New Year! I hope you and your Bona student enjoyed spending time together over our break. But now it’s back to school and I wanted to share with you a few tips about “Spring Semester Success” for first-year students so that you can be ready to share these ideas with your student as needed. You can be an active part of your student’s academic life, even while helping him take responsibility for managing it all. Make academic success a part of every conversation you have. Ask probing questions, and then give suggestions.

If there’s mention of a difficult class, encourage your son or daughter to get a tutor right away! Waiting till midterm may be too late. The Teaching and Learning Center, located in the basement of Doyle Hall, offers individual and group tutoring.

There are so many other resources to help with academic challenges:

  • The Writing Lab is also located in the Teaching and Learning Center.
  • The Math department offers help through “Math Lab” every day of the week.
  • The English department offers a Writing Center in the basement of Plassmann Hall; students can sign up two weeks in advance for a session to review a paper.
  • Every professor has office hours!

A new semester calls for re-establishing habits – and for some, it means taking a good hard look at study habits. When and where is your student studying? Research tells us that studying during daylight hours produces the best results. Finding a place conducive to concentration is essential. The residence halls may not be the best place, but there are lots of great “study spots” on campus:

  • University Ministries is quiet and comfy – and open 24/7.
  • The upper floor of the library is a quiet floor.
  • There are lots of nooks and comfortable chairs throughout the library.
  • The Quick Center for the Arts is a quiet, beautiful spot with tables and chairs in the atrium and comfy chairs and beautiful light in the upper level open areas.

Don’t forget to remind your students that academic success really does depend on success in other aspects of life. Getting back into a workout routine can be a challenge (but the Richter Center makes it easy). Maintaining healthy sleep patterns can be hard when back in the residence hall lifestyle, but getting up for that 8:30 class is a must.

Finally, it’s wise to be aware that many students will suffer some of the same pangs of homesickness that they felt last September. Don’t be alarmed. In some ways, it’s a positive message to you: they loved being home and there will be a period of adjustment once again. If you can, send a care package during the next few weeks. It will certainly help!

Of course we always love to hear from you. Please visit our Parents’ Web Site at and voice concerns or ask questions by sending us an email at  

Best wishes for a peaceful 2009.

Best regards,

Nancy Casey
Director, First-Year Experience


Financial Aid for College: Keep it going
Tips from St. Bonaventure’s Office of Financial Aid

Many families need assistance to pay for a college education. The first thing to do is file the FAFSA as soon as possible. Sound familiar? You are probably flashing back to your previous experience with the FAFSA. That experience will pay off when you complete it this year. Remember, you need to file the FAFSA every year.

File the FAFSA
To get started, find both the parents’ and student’s PIN. If you forgot your PIN, you can get it again at File the FAFSA electronically at Make sure to include St. Bonaventure’s school code: 002817. If applying for aid for the fall 2009, use 2009-10 as the academic year for the FAFSA and submit 2008 income information on the FAFSA. The deadline for St. Bonaventure University returning students to file the FAFSA is April 1, 2009. After you successfully file the FAFSA, watch for a Student Aid Report (SAR). Review the SAR and make corrections if necessary. If you are selected for verification, the SBU Office of Financial Aid will notify you regarding specific documentation you must submit (usually income verification, tax returns, W2s, verification of family size). Reply to this verification request as quickly as possible. The student’s financial aid is considered tentative pending the completion of verification. New York state residents attending a New York State school will be directed to the New York State Higher Ed Web site (www. to complete the application for the New York State TAP Grant through TAP-on-the-web using a PIN. If you want to file the FAFSA by paper you can download one at or call 1-800-433-3243 to have one mailed to you.

Investigate other sources of financial aid
Private scholarships can be a source of additional funding for some families. Many families find they need to borrow to supplement the student’s financial aid package. If you decide to borrow, we recommend you exhaust all federal loan options ( Stafford, Perkins, and PLUS loans) before seeking private or alternative loans in the student’s name. Federal loans have the best terms and rates available. The SBU Business Office offers plans which enable you to pay your balance in monthly installments. You will receive specific information about payment plans in a separate mailing from the Business Office. Questions can be directed to the Business Office at (716) 375-2100.

Financial aid from SBU
Finally, your student should watch for a financial aid package by late June. Academic awards are renewed at the same amount each year provided the student maintains the minimum cumulative GPA required for the award. Need-based aid will stay relatively the same as in prior years provided the family financial situation is relatively the same and federal funding levels remain constant. In all cases, the student must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress toward his/her degree in order to renew financial aid. Returning students receive notification of the financial aid award via their SBU e-mail account. They should review the financial aid award on our secure intranet at, where they must accept or decline their awards. Please remind your student to watch his/her SBU e-mail account for financial aid and other SBU notices over the summer.

For further information about financial aid at St. Bonaventure, please see our Web site at

Application Tips:

1. File the FAFSA as early as possible. Estimate information if necessary. Watch for the Student Aid Report.
2. NYS residents attending a NYS school , complete the TAP-on-the web as early as possible.
3. Keep copies of all application materials.
4. Follow up to make sure everything is received.
5. Pay attention to application and billing deadlines.
6. Respond as soon as possible to requests for additional information.
7. Seek out additional “free” sources of aid through private, state, and federal organizations.
8. If you need to borrow, exhaust federal loan sources first.

So What is a Freshman Career Plan?

That’s a good question. A Freshman Career Plan is an opportunity for a first-year student to explore the things that they need to get involved in during their undergraduate experience that will help them be better prepared to find entry into, and success within, the world of work. The following actions are the recommended steps in a successful Freshman Career Plan:

  • Begin the process of self-assessment and discovery. Identify your interests, skills, abilities, personality preferences, and values. The Career Center provides free assessment inventories and self-awareness exercises, as well as individualized career counseling to assist you in your self-assessment journey. Schedule an appointment to meet with a member of the Career Center staff to discuss your career and education options and to begin establishing your career goals.
  • Establish relationships with faculty members, administrators, alumni career volunteers (The BonaConnection), employers, Career Center staff members, and others who can assist you in the career planning process. Visit the Career Center is Room 216 of the Reilly Center to become familiar with the services and resources available.
  • Obtain educational and occupational information to help you build the appropriate academic experience. The Career Center has extensive resources to help students understand how various majors relate to career possibilities. These resources are especially beneficial for undecided students or students who may change their major in their freshman or sophomore years.
  • Attend Career Center workshops and programs to learn about your career options and the career-decision making process
  • Participate in extracurricular activities. Join at least one student organization or club in an area of interest and attend meetings regularly. These opportunities enable you to develop leadership, teamwork, and other career-related skills that employers value.
  • Begin to develop and improve your communication skills. Strong writing and speaking skills are very important to employers. Take courses and participate in activities to strengthen these skills.
  • Develop good work habits and sills via part-time work, student employment, internships and summer jobs
  • Explore academic interests through a variety of courses. Talk to your adviser on a regular basis regarding your goals and interests.
  • Focus on improving your time management and study skills. Your grades are important for both graduate school and future employment

The Career Center provides services for students of all majors and class years. Through individual appointments, programs, events and interactive technology, students have access to resources that facilitate all aspects of the career planning process. For detailed information on these services, as well as information specifically for parents who want to know how they can contribute to their college-age children’s career development, visit the Center’s Web site at


Upcoming events on campus include:
Daily Monday-Friday - Math Lab
Daily Monday-Friday -
Group Exercise Classes in the Richter Center
Tuesday, 1/20 -
NCAA X-Box League sign-ups in the Skeller
Wednesday & Thursday, 1/21 & 22 -
SBU Theater will hold auditions for Chekhov's The Seagull

Wednesday, 1/21 -
Emergency Notification System Testing
Wednesday, 1/21 - Men's Basketball vs. Xavier
Wednesday, 1/21 - Dart, billiard and video game tournament in the Skeller
Thursday, 1/22 - Comedian Louis Ramey in the Skeller
Thursday, 1/22 - Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble
Friday, 1/23 - Karaoke Night
Saturday, 1/24 - Men's and Women's Swimming vs. Georgetown
Saturday, 1/24 - Women's Basketball vs. Temple
Saturday 1/24 - Hip-Hop Dance Party
Sunday, 1/25 - Men's and Women's Tennis vs. St. Francis
Monday, 1/26 - Last day for add/drop
Thursday, 1/29 - Chet Wild Comedy in the Skeller
Thursday, 1/29 - Dr. Joel Horowitz - Immigrants, soccer clubs and assimilation in early twentieth century Argentina
Saturday, 1/31 - Bona's Ice Skating Night in Olean
Wednesday, 2/4 - Women's Basketball vs. Dayton
Thursday, 2/5 - Decades Dance Party
Friday-Sunday, 2/6-8 - Homecoming Weekend
Wednesday, 2/11 - Drs. Carol Fischer and Joe Coate - Earnings Management and Corporate Social Responsibility
Friday, 2/13 - CAB Bus Trip to "Mama Mia!"
Sunday, 2/15 -
CAB Bus Trip to see Buffalo Sabres vs. Carolina Hurricanes

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