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Thursday, February 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Are We There Yet?

Getting parents ready for college

Freshman orientation used to be just that – a chance for incoming students to learn about campus life and what to expect when they enter their first semester of higher education. Now, more colleges are hosting orientation sessions specifically for parents and families.


According to this recent AP story, “Empty Nest 101,” these events invite moms and dads to come to campus during the summer for two to three days to take part in tours, listen to speeches and participate in workshops on a variety of topics that include financial aid, campus safety and “letting go.” Some parents have the option of spending the night in a dorm and sample campus cuisine to get a feel of their children’s college life.


Northern Michigan University takes it a step further by playing recordings for parents of upperclassmen re-enacting their phone calls home during freshman year. In one phone call, the student is sad and homesick. In another, a girl tells her parents she’ll be spending Thanksgiving with her boyfriend. The recordings also included a call from a boy who tells his mom and dad that things aren’t going well and he’s in trouble for alcohol violations.

“You might think parents facing massive tuition bills would balk at more demands on their budget and time,” wrote AP reporter Beth J. Harpaz. “But many colleges report that well over half their freshmen have family in attendance at these events, and lots of parents think the orientations are the greatest thing since ‘What To Expect When You're Expecting.’”

Many moms and dads are willing to take time off work and pay the airfare to attend parent orientation at their children’s colleges and universities. One university reported that these orientations have even been attended by grandparents and “as many as nine family members.” Knowing that their child is safe and getting the chance to see their new environment first-hand is worth the extra expense, according to some moms and dads.


Did you attend an orientation specifically for parents at your child’s college or university? What was the experience like and what did you learn?

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This blog is intended to provide a forum for parents to share knowledge and resources. It's a place for parents young and old to combine their experiences raising families into a collective whole to help others.