A Parent’s Guide to College Orientations & What to Expect

Now that your child is no longer a “child” and is heading off to college, you are probably breathing a sigh of relief. Not so fast mom or dad! Before your child starts college, he/she should attend college orientation. It isn’t just important that your student participate; it is mandatory. What’s more, you also need to attend. If divorced parents are part of this equation, both mom and dad (if possible) need to be at orientation.

Colleges provide an extraordinary amount of information at orientation. Everything from meal plans to financial issues to dorm rooms to campus safety will be discussed. Parents will learn of college regulations, and have the opportunity to meet administrators, advisors and perhaps even faculty. Wondering how necessary it is to have a computer in your child’s dorm room? Pondering whether your student should have a car on campus? Thinking about getting a microwave and mini-fridge for the dorm room? During orientation, not only can you get answers to your many questions from the experts, you also can get a feel for the environment in which your child will be living.

College orientation can be somewhat overwhelming for incoming students. New faces, new places, new requirements, and a bewildering language of scantrons and syllabi…a parent’s support and encouragement are crucial at this time. Financial aid issues are frequently raised at orientation also. You will learn if forms need to be filed and which forms those are, when funds will arrive, and what to do if your student has a short-term cash shortfall.

So whatever it takes, try to accompany your student to college orientation. Take the day off from work, pack up the car with plenty of snacks for the other kids, and get going. You’ll be glad you did…and so will that future college student of yours.

 

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