Welcome to PALS.

A UH PAL (Personal Access Liaison) is a member of the UH community who is an e-mail contact for each new Freshman student.

This blog is designed to provide answers to as many UH questions as possible – PALs and students are welcome to read and to contribute.

As well as this blog, everyone needs a copy of the  Student Handbook:

Please tell me ( any mistakes/omissions/clarifications needed etc!


Academic Help – Tutoring

Academic Help – Workshops

Adding Classes

Colleges and Departments

Dropping Classes

Emergency Help

Financial Aid

Financial Aid- Refunds

Getting Involved

Jobs on Campus


Parking and Transportation

Paying Bills



Getting over being Lonely and Becoming Involved

UH is so intimidating.  If a student isn’t very outgoing, then it can be too intimidating.  We have had several inquiries from PALS about how students get involved.  Here are some tips:

a) Get to know your classmates.  They’re as scared as you are!  Swap phone numbers, e-mails, facebooks etc.

b) Get to know your (friendly) instructors.  For a small class, go and say hello after class.  For large classes, go and see them in their office hours.  Introduce yourself.  Ask about them, their subject, why they came to UH etc.

c) Join an Organization.   There is a good website with a link to a searchable list of organizations at Student Organizations

d) Go To Events. Attend concerts, plays, athletics, lectures, etc. To encourage you to do this, we have a program Cougar Trading Cards. Collect these by going to all kinds of things on campus and trade them in for prizes. Collect the whole set and get a $1000 scholarship!

Getting Your Refund

Helpful info on students looking for their refunds:

Money handled by the office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (which is pretty much everything!) is “disbursed” as follows:

Essentially, your UH bill gets paid and then anything that is left can go into an account.  The default account for this is the Higher One account:



Getting to and from Campus

For students who don’t live on campus – they have 3 choices – get dropped off, drive and park or take public transportation.


Parking is horrible at the best of times – and even worse right now as we lost essentially a large lot to construction.

There are updates about the situation that students can access from their phones (not while driving in a school zone of course!)

Good luck!


There are some van pools that are mostly faculty and staff.  However, students might find some spots.  The van pool information is at


I have ridden the Metro bus system for 12 years – and it really is fine, safe (at least between 6 am and 8 pm) and usually reliable.  So – don’t be afraid to recommend it to your students.

The main Metro website is at

The main buses that serve UH (either directly or to the Eastwood Transit Center) are 4, 9, 25, 29, 40, 41, 50, 54, 76, 80

Student who live outside Houston should be able to get to a Park and Ride bus. They can take these to:

The Downtown area (get as close to the Downtown Transit center as possible): from here, catch a 40 or 41 (to Eastwood Transit Center) or the Metro Rail

The Medical Center Transit Center: from here, catch the 4 to campus

Eastwood Transit Center: from here, you can take a UH shuttle or the 4, 9, 25 or 80 to campus.

Students who live in Houston – the same 3 target areas apply – although you might be able to take different buses to intercept the campus buses more easily.


There are a lot of jobs available on campus.  These can be broken into two categories:


As part of their financial aid packages, students can receive “College Work-Study” money.  This entitles them to apply for a lot of “work-study” positions on campus.

Two important links are:


All students are eligible for other positions on campus.   Again, see career services for help.


A lot of students have questions about textbooks.  Generally, the best answer to 90% of such questions is “Ask the instructor!”  However, there are some useful tips to pass on to students:

Required vs Recommended

Buy the required books immediately, wait to see what the instructor says about recommended.

Buying the Books

The university has a contract with Barnes and Noble to run the bookstore on campus.  So – all opportunities to buy textbooks when students register etc end up being with the campus bookstore.  So, if money is not an object, the easiest thing for the students to do is to sign up online in this way.

Always opt for used books where possible.

There is one other bookstore by campus that get the book lists.    Textbook Brokers are across from the rec center.  They have the smallest collection but usually the best prices.  At the end of the semester, they also buy back a lot of “books” that the other will not.

In addition, the thrifty student will often be able to find very good deals at or other online sources.  In addition, especially for literature classes, second-hand stores around town (especially Half-Price books) are good places to look.

A lot of courses have books on reserve at the library.  This is usually NOT a good permanent alternative to buying a textbook.  However, if a book is particularly heavy, students might want to use the library version while on campus, leaving their copy at home to study there.  Of course, if the book is more of a reference book, then the library copy is a great resource.


GENERAL HELP:  Dean of Students Office.  UC 252.  Can help or refer with most non-academic issues (and sometimes help with the academic ones too)


COUNSELING:  UH provides an excellent counselling service.

If you think a student needs immediate help: 

  1. MHMRA: (713)970-7000
  2. Crisis Intervention of Houston: (713)HOT-LINE or (713)468-5463
  3. Mobile Crisis Outreach Team: (713)970-7520
  4. University of Houston Department of Public Safety (713)743-3333
  5. National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: (800)273-8255

Otherwise send them to CAPS.  Walking them over to SSC 226 will speed up the process.  Call first if you can (713-743-5454):

MEDICAL: We have a superb  Health Center which also provides Dental services:

In addition, the Optometry School has an excellent clinic:

LOANS: Books: and apply at

Emergency:  The Dean of Students Office can make emergency loans not to do with books/tuition.

Tuition/Fees: and apply at

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