Do’s and Don’ts of Orientation: Parent Edition

If you're attending a parent orientation, here are some do's and don'ts.

Flickr user CSU Monterey Bay

Although it depends on the particular college, many schools actually have a parent orientation at the same time as the freshman orientation. This may be completely optional for parents, but it truly is worth it to attend. Here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” of attending college orientation as a parent.

Do Stick To The Schedule

The college will have a particular schedule set up for the parents. It may include any number of things, including in-depth tours of the dorm room, the cafeteria, the library, the classrooms, or the entire campus. You may also be asked to attend sessions on campus safety, financial aid, and communication with your child’s school.

Don’t skip these. They will provide valuable information for you and your kid, so make sure you’re sticking to the provided parents’ schedule.

Don’t Follow Your Child Everywhere

 Your child and you will most likely have separate programs and schedules that may sometimes intersect for particular sessions or meal times. However, you’ll want to stick to your own schedule and not follow your child. They’re attending their own courses, gathering their own experiences, taking placement tests, and making friends.

After all, they will be at college by themselves. There’s no better way for them to start getting comfortable at their new school.

Do Take Notes

 Your child’s college will provide you with plenty of information from campus safety to finances to how the meal plan works. It’s always a good idea to take notes! These details may come in handy, both while your kid is in school and after they graduate. This is the time to learn about the resources available to parents.

You’ll also want to take note of the size of the dorm rooms. You can help your child know how much is too much when it comes time to pack.

Do Ask Questions

 This is your introduction to the school just as much as it is your child’s! Feel free to ask questions. If there’s something you don’t understand or want more information on, this is the time to talk to your guides.

Before you attend, make a list of questions to ask. If they’re not answered during your sessions, make sure to ask them before you head to the next item on your schedule.

Don’t Bombard Your Kid After Orientation

 Your child will most likely have quite a bit going on during orientation! They may be excited and ready to share when it’s time to head back home. Let them tell you about all that they did and learned beforehand. It’s their life-changing experience. After they’ve told you all about the events, feel free to share what you did and learned about.

College is, understandably, a life-changing experience for your child, you, your spouse, and your entire family. Even if you’ve had older children head to college before, their experience may be vastly different and the provided programs the school has for parents during orientation may have other information you never knew of before. Don’t waste this time to learn about your child’s future. It will, after all, affect both of you!

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