Helpful tips for a Wildcat Parent


Sending your child away to college can be scary, even if they are considered adults now. Let us help ease your worries by answering some of your most frequently asked questions regarding jobs, vehicles, weather, living on campus, keeping in contact, and more.

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→ Jobs

"What kinds of jobs are available to my students on campus?" 

There are many employment opportunities for all students at NMU, from Campus Visit Assistants and Orientation Leaders, to Baristas and Resident Advisors, and much more. Students have access to an online platform called Handshake. This is a website and mobile app that allows students to log in with their NMU credentials and search for jobs both on- and off-campus. There are part-time, work-study, internships, and full-time jobs listed. Students can click here to join and learn more about Handshake. Students can schedule an appointment with an NMU Career Services advisor to get assistance with resumes and cover letters, career coaching and mock interviews, as well as social media and LinkedIn assistance.

→ Vehicles

"Where can my students park their car?"

In order for students to park a vehicle on campus, they need to register it with the NMU Police Department and get a parking pass. These parking passes have fees associated with them. The parking lots are all marked and color coded with specific colors that correlate to the parking passes to ensure students, staff, and faculty are all parking in their designated lots. There are no specific spots assigned for individual vehicles. A parking map is available online here. Click here for more frequently asked questions regarding vehicle/bicycle registration and parking lots. 

"What should my student be aware of in regards to snow plowing in the winter semester?" 

NMU Facilities have a priority schedule for snow removal. Specific lots are scheduled to be cleared on specific days so students are expected to check their NMU email for updates regarding parking lot plowing dates and times throughout the winter. 

"Can you provide a reputable repair shop in town?"

A staff and student favorite is Hoovers Auto Body, which is actually owned by an NMU Alumnus! 

→ Keep in contact with your Wildcat 

"What are some things to do and places to see while I'm visiting my Wildcat?"

Whether you come to visit your Wildcat on Family Weekend or any day of the week, there is so much to do in the Marquette area. 

  1. A visit to the iconic Superior Dome is a must for all first-timers to NMU. The Dome is the largest wooden dome structure in the world, according to records. Inside the Dome, you can find turf for sports like football and soccer and when the turf is rolled up, there is a synthetic playing surface for basketball and volleyball, all encompassed with a 200-meter track. The Douglas Fir beams can be seen inside the structure as well. 
  2. Another iconic Marquette sight is the view from the top of Mount Marquette. From the top of this mountain, you can see the entire city of Marquette including the Superior Dome, Presque Isle and NMU’s campus. Although some avid adventurers hike up the mountain, it is possible to drive to the summit with almost any vehicle. The road is closed in the winter months however. 
  3. Presque Isle Park is also a must-see. Although the trail is closed to motorized vehicles in the winter, the peninsula offers unrivaled views of Lake Superior all year long. Catch the sunset at Sunset Point or explore the wildlife and foliage. 
  4. Along the drive to Presque Isle, you can stop to see one of the last functioning iron ore docks
  5. If you’re not the outdoorsy type, there are plenty of things to do inside as well. There are many shops downtown where you can get a little bit of everything. There are boutiques, souvenir shops, jewelry stores, chocolate shops, and more. 
  6. If you’re in the mood for food, there are plenty of restaurant options available as well. There are breakfast cafes and bakeries, bar restaurants, and other eateries, within walking distance from the downtown area.  
  7. Finally, if you’re lucky, you could see the Northern Lights

"Where can I find delivery places for cakes, care packages, etc. for birthdays and such?"

If you want to send your Wildcat some treats, check with local shops’ websites to see if they deliver. Babycakes Muffin Co. is a bakery in downtown Marquette that offers delivery through DoorDash. NMU Dining also offers care packages and delivery services for purchase. Whether your Wildcat is living on- or off-campus, they will have an address to ship items to. On-campus residents will receive an address with their housing information. They can receive almost any package and if it does not fit in their mailbox, they will be notified of the delivery and it will be held for them. Amazon has a variety of different college care packages available if you need some ideas for what to send. And yes, mail is still delivered in the snow so your Wildcat will receive their package, even in the winter! 

→ Residents halls

"What is needed in the residence halls? Humidifier, fridge, etc."

Students will need to provide their own bedding, laundry supplies, bathroom necessities, and school supplies as well as some furniture for their dorm room. NMU Housing and Residence Life curated a list here of items that are needed, allowed, and prohibited. 

Two XL twin beds, two mattress pads, two desks and desk chairs, four 2-drawer dressers, blinds, a trash can, a recycling can, and a shower liner included in the dorm. There are vacuum cleaners, cleaning supplies (i.e. mops, brooms, buckets), toilet paper, copy machine, movies, and board games available at the front desk in the residence halls for students to use as well so there is no need to purchase those items unless the student wants their own personal supplies. 

Items that students often have in their dorm rooms include a comfy chair, rugs, a small whiteboard, a full length mirror, extension cords & power strips (UL approved), a fan, a refrigerator (must be less than 4 cubic feet), a microwave, a TV (must have a QAM tuner), and co-ax cable (cable is included with room & board). 

Items that are prohibited in residence halls include clip-on lamps, animals (10 gallon fish tanks or smaller are allowed), open element cooking appliances, such as a Foreman grill, flammable or explosive materials, electric heaters, candles, air conditioners, wireless router, hoverboards, air fryers, Instant pots. For more residence hall policies, visit

"Can you briefly explain the dining and meal plan options?" 

There are five meal plan options for residents living on campus. There is the Platinum, Gold, Basic 14, Block 10, and Spooner. Each meal plan comes with either an unlimited or specific number of meal swipes and Dining Dollars. Some plans also come with a specific number of X-changes that can be used at various eateries around campus. To use an x-change at the Wildcat Den for example, your student would provide their ID card at time of payment and ask for it to be swiped for an X-change meal. The chosen plan will determine how many x-changes they are allowed per week. Some plans also include guest passes and discounts at retail locations. 

For students not living in the residence halls, there are also meal plan options. These include the Superior, and Smart plans that come with a specified number of meal swipes and CatCash. Another is the Standard plan, which comes with a specified number of meal swipers and finally, the Simple Plan is a specified amount of CatCash. 

→ Winter weather

"What is Marquette like in the winter?"

Winters in Marquette are beautiful, fun and you guessed it, snowy! Watch this video for an idea of just a few of the winter activities available to students. Not a big fan of the outdoors? Don't worry! Check out this video for some things to do in Marquette that are not outside. No matter what activity you choose, remember it is important to dress appropriately and to use caution when driving, hiking, and walking through campus during the winter.

"What kind of winter gear should my student bring?" 

To best be prepared for the winter, your Wildcat should bring their winter gear and supplies when they first move-in. Even though it will be fall when they get here, winter comes quickly and you don’t want them stuck without a winter coat or boots! 

Your student should bring a pair of good-quality snow boots and a warm coat. Most students have long coats with an omni-heat thermal reflective lining inside. Other necessary winter gear include gloves, hats, scarves and snow pants. 

The Outdoor Recreation Center has winter supplies like snowshoes, ice cleats, skis, and more available for students to rent. 

"What tips can you recommend to my students about having a car there in the winter?"

It's helpful to have a long-reach ice scraper/brush and a short-range scraper in their car as well as an extra sweater, gloves, hat, socks, and a blanket in case of emergencies. A bottle of all-season windshield de-icer spray (in a plastic bottle because the aluminum bottles freeze) is helpful too in case the window washer fluid nozzle is frozen or clogged with ice. It is also suggested to carry jumper cables as well. 

Other helpful items like a shovel can help keep your car clear of snow during the winter months. Believe it or not- kitty litter can actually be used to help with traction under tires if you get stuck!

Your Wildcat should always remember to clear the snow off of their entire vehicle before going anywhere. Snow from the roof can fall down onto the back windshield, blocking their rear view. Removing snow from the hood can prevent a blocked view out the front windshield. It is also important to clean off headlights and tail lights, regardless of the time of day. Lights that are not visible to others can cause accidents. They should also be sure to clear off their license plate as well. 

"How do I stay informed about weather alerts in the area?"

In the event of inclement weather, you can stay up to date by a variety of methods. The NMU Police Department has instructions on their website. Those travelling across the Mackinaw Bridge to get to campus can sign up for text alerts here.

→ Services

"Are mental, physical, and academic support services available to my student?"

There are resources for support services available for all students at NMU. 

  1. Mental support: For Wildcats that need or want mental health services, NMU has counseling and consultation services available. Counselors assist with matters related to online therapy, anxiety and stress, death and grief, depression, eating disorders, sexual assult, and more.
  2. Physical support: The on-campus Ada Vielmetti Health Center offers a wide variety of services, from acute care such as sore throat, UTI, pink eye and ear infections; annual physical and gynecological exams; to chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma. Referrals to specialists are also available. The center is staffed by a Board Certified medical director and staff physician, family nurse practitioner, registered nurses, med tech and lab tech, pharmacists and friendly and helpful office staff.
  3. Physical and academic support: Northern Michigan University's Disability Services office provides assistance for students who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to receive accommodations. Qualifying students will have access to a plethora of services to help them succeed at NMU. Assistance with academics, note taking, testing, animal assistance, and veteran’s assistance among many others are all available.
  4. Academic support: NMU offers tutoring services as well. Tutors are available for ‘all-campus’ tutoring with a walk-in schedule, Jacobetti Complex tutoring, and special tutoring lab for computer sciences, language labs, math lab, and the writing center. 
  5. More information regarding support for your student can be found here.

→ Other

"Are there options for storage units in the summer when students live far from home?" 

Although NMU does not offer summer storage, there are some storage units in the area.

Author Information

This article was written by University Marketing & Communications staff.