Parents and Families FAQs
Welcome to Simmons University! This page is a good starting point for many of the questions you will have about Simmons and your student's university life. If you have any questions that aren't answered here, feel free to email us!
Life at Simmons
What are the biggest adjustments during the first year?
Often the biggest change for students during their first year of university is adjusting to living away from home for the first time. Adjusting to life in a new place can be difficult, and living with a roommate can also be a big change for students. At the Office of Residence Life (ORL), we recognize that the first year of university can be difficult for many students and so we offer many opportunities for support. Our knowledgeable and compassionate staff of Resident Advisors (RAs) and Resident Directors (RDs) are on hand to assist all students on the Residence Campus. We make an extra effort to house incoming first-year students in a building with returning sophomores to ease the transition into university life. Read more about adjusting to university life.
When is the best time for a student to travel home for the first time?
This decision is one that you and your student will have to decide upon together. However, we suggest new students remain on campus during the weekends for the first month or so. This time spent on campus is often the best way for students to develop the friendships that really enrich the university experience.
My student called me anxious and upset, where can she find help?
There are many options available to students who are feeling anxious, upset, or in any sort of emotional distress. The Counseling Center on the main campus and the Health Center on the residence campus are available to all students free of charge. RAs and RDs are also available to assist students during and after their transition to university and residence life. There are always RAs and an RD on duty when the ORL is closed and they can be reached in an emergency. If the situation is not an emergency, students are encouraged to set up appointments with their RD or stop by during office hours to discuss any problems, concerns, or questions. The ORL Central Staff are also more than willing to assist students in any way that they can.
What do students do when they get sick?
The Health Center, located on the Residence Campus, offers health care to Simmons undergraduate and graduate students, and is a provider of health services to students at other area university's as well. Services are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day during the academic year either at the Center, or when the Center is closed, by telephone contact with the provider on call. Some services are also available in the summer.
In the event of a life-threatening emergency, if students are on campus, they should call campus security at 617-521-1111. To contact the provider on call for all other illness or injury when the health center is closed, students should contact the RA or RD on duty.
Where do students do laundry?
Laundry facilities are available in each residence hall. All laundry machines are coin and Fenway Card operated. Washers and dryers each cost $1.50 per load.
Can students have cars on campus?
Due to limited space, parking is not available to resident students. However, there is ample public transportation available surrounding the Simmons University campuses. Schedules are available at the Student Information Desk in the Main Campus Building or from the MBTA.
Are students able to work on campus?
Yes, many students are awarded Federal Work-Study as part of their financial aid package. Also, there are ample general employment opportunities for interested students. The Career Education Center can assist students in finding both on- and off-campus employment. To make an appointment with a career counselor, or for more information, please call 617-521-2488.
What is my student's mailing address?
Each student is assigned a Mail Stop Code (MSC) number that also serves as her mailbox number in the mailroom. This number must be used on all incoming mail. Incoming mail should be addressed to the student as follows:
Simmons University MSC ####
54 Pilgrim Road
Boston, MA 02215
Where do students hang out on the Residence Campus?
The hub of each hall is the living room. In addition, some halls also have smaller, less formal lounges and study areas. All halls have a television and a VCR and/or DVD player for use by residents. Quadside Café is also a popular student hang out, offering a large-screen TV, ample and comfortable seating, and a snack bar and convenience store.
Where do students study?
Several places are available for students to study. If students prefer to study outside of their rooms, many halls offer their own study areas for students. On the main campus, students are often seen studying in the library, Common Grounds Cafe or the Fens Cafeteria.
Are there computers available for students to use?
There are computers available for students to use both on the main campus and on the residence campus. Computer labs on the residence campus offer 24 hour internet access and are available to all residents. There are labs in Arnold, Mesick, North, Smith, and Simmons Halls.
What is Fenway Cash and how do students use them?
All students can use their ID card as a Fenway Card. Students can go to the Card Office to purchase Fenway Cash to be used in place of cash. Fenway Cash represents money linked to your ID card and can be used in place of cash. When a student's card is swiped, the amount of her purchase is deducted from her Fenway Cash total. There are two types of Fenway Cash: General and Bookstore. General Fenway Cash can be used to pay for items at the Bookstore, Dining Services, copiers, vending machines, laundry machines, and the Copy Center. Popular Neighborhood Businesses that accept Fenway Cash include City Hair, Cold Stone Creamery, CVS Pharmacy, Domino's Pizza, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Subway, Utrecht Art Supply, and more. Bookstore Cash may only be used to purchase items in the bookstore. For more information, contact the Campus Card office at 617-521-CARD (2273).
How safe is campus?
Simmons University employs its own Police as uniformed officers as well as a private company who provide the residence and academic campuses with security 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The Public Safety Office and dispatch for the Residence Campus are located on the first floor of Simmons Hall.
All residence halls are locked 24 hours a day. Each student is given a key to her room as well as a Simmons University ID card (which also doubles as the Fenway Card). The campus is equipped with a computerized card access system, which allows access to all residence halls by all residents from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and access to one's own hall of residence 24 hours a day. In addition to the card access system, the entire Residence Campus is enclosed by an iron fence, which is secured between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. During that time, students and visitors may gain access to the Residence Campus through the Public Safety control area located in Simmons Hall. Visitors must be escorted by a Simmons resident at all times, in accordance with the escort policy.
How safe is Boston?
Boston is an urban environment and as such caution should be exercised at all times. However, Simmons University is located in an area where there are many other colleges and there are many college students who have a wonderful, safe, and enjoyable experience in Boston. Here at Simmons, we are committed to supporting student safety and encourage students to participate in the free self-defense courses that are offered as well as communicate with their RAs and other students about common sense strategies for staying safe. Many students enjoy living in an urban area and feel quite safe in and around the Simmons community.
When are the deadlines for housing applications and deposits?
For Fall semester, all completed applications with housing deposits date stamped on or before May 1 will receive a housing assignment. Doubles rooms will be assigned in deposit date order. Housing deposits and applications received after May 1 will be assigned on a space available basis according to the date of receipt of deposit. Please note, July 1 is the last day that new students can withdraw from housing and be refunded their $250 housing deposit.
Which residence halls might a first year expect to be placed in?
All first year students will be living in Simmons, Mesick, Morse, and South Halls. While there are some double occupancy rooms, please know that many of our first year students will be assigned to larger triple and quadruple occupancy rooms. The prices are the same for all housing options, and each student will be given their own set of furniture (bed, desk, shelves).
What is a "theme community" and what are benefits of living on one of these floors?
We've created theme communities to connect students around a common interest. We believe that this commonality provides a foundation for getting to know one another better. Their creation and support by the college also allows us to allocate extra resources, both in staff time and funding to these communities to make sure that students feel engaged in the community. You can talk to your student about her interest in living in one of these fantastic theme communities:
- Sports Pride Floor
- Foodie Floor
- Arts and Crafts Floor
We also have a number of special interest communities that will help foster community and friendships through common interests. These special interest communities include:
- Wellness Community
- Women-Only Floor
- Substance-Free Floor
If any of these communities appeal to your daughter, she should indicate her interest by marking one of the special interest communities on her housing application. If she have already filled out the Housing Application, she can fill out a Housing Application Change form. Visit Campus Housing for more information about these options. Space is limited in all communities so all requests must be received by June 30.
How are the student rooms furnished?
Rooms are furnished with a standard twin size bed (NOT extra long twin size beds), desk, dresser, and bookcase for each student. Students may not bring their own beds or mattresses.
Does each room have internet/cable/phone access?
Yes, each room comes equipped with internet, phone access, and a cable hook up per room.
- Free Campus-wide Wifi and high-speed internet access is available in each room.
- Digital & HD Cable TV in every room.
- The Simmons phone system offers local service, voice mail, and reduced long-distance rates.
What should my student bring and what is prohibited in the halls?
Students are allowed to bring standing lamps (with the exception of halogen lamps), curtains, rugs, stereos, televisions, and computers. Posters, picture frames, easy care plants, and bicycles are also acceptable. Pets are strictly prohibited with the exception of service animals and small fish in properly maintained tanks of no more than a five gallon capacity. If any prohibited item is found in a student room, it will be confiscated and donated by a professional staff member. More information can be found at our What to Bring page.
What are students allowed to do to their rooms?
Students may not physically alter, remove, or in any way tamper with the room furnishings provided by Simmons. This includes construction of any kind (i.e. lofts or other alterations of the bed) or painting of the walls, ceilings, and floors.
Can we rent or purchase a microfridge unit?
You are welcome to bring a refrigerator or microfridge for your student as long as it is in compliance with our guidelines. Microfridges are only acceptable if they are energy star compliant and no larger than 3.6 cubic feet. Refrigerators can be no larger than 4.5 cubic feet. You can also rent a microfridge.
Can we bring our own furniture into the halls?
Massachusetts state law prohibits the use of upholstered furniture in student rooms unless it is treated with a fire-retardant chemical and is labeled as such. Upholstered furniture includes couches, futons, and overstuffed chairs. Waterbeds, lofts, and hanging chairs are prohibited in residence hall rooms. Furniture which contains polyurethane foam will not be permitted due to their increased risk of being flammable. All furniture brought into the residence halls should have a CAL 133 or 117 labels.
Residence Campus Staff
What is the role of the Resident Director?
Resident Directors (RDs) are part-time and full-time professionals who live in the residence halls. Each RD is responsible for supervising a staff of Resident Advisors, assisting with the coordination of activities within the halls, advising an active Hall Council, and serving as an important link between the central office and the resident students. An RD is also on duty whenever the Residence Life Office is closed.
What is the role of the Resident Advisor?
Resident Advisors (RAs) are carefully selected and trained undergraduate and graduate students who serve as peer advisors and educators to residents. RAs assist students in their transition to college and residence life. They strive to build supportive and fun communities based on civility and mutual respect. Each night, residence halls are staffed by an RA on duty. In addition to serving as a contact person in the event of an emergency, the RA on duty is available to assist students.
Who should I call if I have questions?
While the RA and RD are available for student support, the Central Staff members of the Office of Residence Life all are available for parent concerns and questions. All parents with questions will be directed to the Office of Residence Life at (617) 521-1096. Our office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.
What is commuter housing?
Commuter housing is "hostel-style" and designed for students that want to stay on campus one or two days a week because travel time would prohibit their academic ability. Commuters are assigned to a designated shared room (up to 4 people) in Dix Hall.
How can commuter students reserve a room for short term stay?
Commuter students fill out the commuter room online application to reserve a room. We encourage students to contact the Office of Residence Life either by phone (617) 521-1096 or via email to inquire about availability, especially during busy times such as move-in weekend.
What are the costs?
The cost for commuter housing is $25 per night.
How are the rooms furnished?
The rooms are arranged to be able to house three to four students at a time, but male and female commuter students are never housed in the same room at the same time. Rooms are furnished with a bed for each student, two dressers, and two desks. Students must provide their own bedding during their stay. A bathroom, vending machines, and laundry facilities are available in the same residence hall in which the rooms are located for the convenience of the commuter students.
What should students bring?
Students should bring everything that they require for an overnight stay including alarm clocks, toothbrush/toothpaste, pillows, towels, soap, shampoo and conditioner, and sheets for a standard twin bed.