Parents and Families

Woman bundled up against the cold

Is your student intimidated by the coming winter weather? You can share these tips to help them conquer the cold.

Some key concepts:

  • A positive attitude helps – winter truly is do-able!
  • The actual number of days of extreme cold or significant snowfall is typically small
  • Use fall to prepare for winter, by getting good clothes and planning transportation
  • Celebrate the sun and warmer temperatures when they appear

How’s the weather?

To know what to expect, you and your student can look at average temperatures, or daily temperatures for any particular month e.g. January 2017 (source: US Climate Data).

If you have a smart phone and want to see day-to-day weather in real time, you could set a weather app for Ann Arbor.

Get good gear

Students who are new to Ann Arbor might want to take note of what other students wear and then shop for winter gear, including:

  • Get a coat specifically for colder temperatures, in the range of 35° to -10° F (2° to -23° C)
  • Wear layers of clothes, which insulate and simplify removing layers inside buildings
  • Cover exposed skin, especially with a hat, scarf and gloves
  • Wear waterproof boots because slush happens

Take precautions for extreme cold

Temperatures that are very low, especially when accompanied by wind, can cause frostbite and hyperthermia. See Tips for Low Temps.  

When does campus close?

The answer is rarely. To learn about severe weather alerts and any campus closures, students can sign up for Emergency Alerts.

Getting around

Getting around often takes longer in winter weather, and busses are often delayed, despite the best efforts of the University and City of Ann Arbor. It’s a good idea for students to anticipate delays and allow enough time. U-M provides Night Rides that Keep Students Safe and Warm. Many students also use Lyft and Uber.

Driving in winter weather can be tricky because roads can get slippery and visibility is often reduced. Students who drive may want to review these Winter Driving Tips from AAA.  Also, if a car parked along the street gets snowed in (called a “snowbird”), it may be tempting to just leave it until the snow melts, but students should be aware that during snow emergencies, special parking restrictions go into effect, and vehicles left on certain streets may be ticketed and towed.

Students with mobility impairments have a bigger challenge in winter. U-M Paratransit offers free door-to-door transportation near campus for students who have either temporary or permanent mobility impairments. To request this service, students can call Services for Students with Disabilities at 734-763-3000.

Keeping active, positive and safe

It’s easy to want to hibernate in winter, but staying physically active helps students feel better and be more productive. See Staying Active in Ann Arborrrrr for tips.

Students can enjoy the spirit of collegiate athletics by attending indoor matches for winter sports including hockey, volleyball and basketball. See MGoBlue for game schedules and note that admission is free for some sports.

Or students can escape to the tropics at the U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens Conservatory, or the Michigan Medicine Cardiovascular Center's indoor healing garden, where waterfalls burble among lush plants year-round. Or just cuddle up next to a fireplace in one of the local cafes.

It's not unusual for students to experience lower mood, perhaps as a result of seasonal affective disorder, which can be addressed with some relatively simple measures.

Illness such as flu and weather-related injury is more common at this time of year, so students may want to know about Tips for Academic Success when You are Sick or Injured.

If your student lives off-campus and will leave town over winter break, you might want to point them to Securing Off-Campus Homes during Breaks.

When spring comes

Students may feel pride (and relief!) at surviving a Michigan winter, either for the first time or once again, and you can help them celebrate that accomplishment too. 


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November 2017 Newsletter

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