• 20 May 2018
Making the Most Out of College Orientation

Making the Most Out of College Orientation

May 17, 2018

College orientation is the first opportunity where students and parents can get to know the college experience intimately. We’ve highlighted 7 key ways to make attending orientation pay off for you.

As summer approaches, your budding scholar will soon dip their toes in the college waters – it’s time for freshman orientation.

Your student is anxious, and odds are, so are you. While it’s their time to shine and begin scoping out how to take advantage of all that college has to offer, parents have plenty of useful insights to take away from attending college orientation:

  • Follow the orientation schedule. Your college orientation is going to offer a lot of programming to adjust incoming freshmen to the experience, from integrating into campus life to figuring out how and when to register for classes. (Some orientations might even include sign-up for first semester classes.) Colleges may offer orientation sessions specifically for parents, too. After all, they know parents have plenty of their own questions about the college experience.

  • Ask Questions. Orientation is a great chance for parent and student alike to talk to college faculty and staff, and know who to talk to about financial aid, student wellbeing, and academics (and important things, like where to find the best coffee). Gather key contact information in case you need to follow up.

  • Get to Know the College. Attending orientation with is an opportunity to get familiar with the campus and surroundings. Walk about the student dorms and visit key places in student and academic life, such as the student center, academic halls, and library. Parents benefit from knowing how to get around campus for future visits.

  • Get to Know the Neighborhood, Too. Move beyond the college confines and check out the local culture and entertainment. Chances are that, outside of campus activities and meeting deadlines, students want to explore the area around the college. It’s a good idea for parents, too, when you visit in the future.

  • Make new connections. While your orientation schedule may be packed with programs, it’s an important time to start making connections. Students: try to talk to a number of your future classmates. They may not all become lifelong friends, but it’ll make orientation more fun and less stressful. Parents: take the social plunge yourselves and talk to other parents. Share your stories and common questions and concerns. In the end, parents and students need help settling into the new experience of college life.

This one’s for the students:

  • Explore what college has to offer. You’re going to have plenty of time over the next four years to consider all the activities and courses that college offers. Clubs will be recruiting at orientation, which allows incoming freshmen to get a feel for what might interest them. Joining a club is also a fantastic way to make friends and build networks.

And, parents, here’s a tip especially for you:

  • Encourage your student. The transition to college can be overwhelming for incoming freshman, and they’ll have time to adjust to the pressures of college life and learn to become independent as their first semester gets underway. For the time being, orientation is an opportunity for parents to reassure their students. Talk them through any of their anxieties they’re facing at orientation, and reflect on the transition process with them. Above all, remind them that they have love and support back home.

College is a great unknown for the most part. By being both present and active at orientation, students and parents can make the transition to college easier and jumpstart this exciting new chapter.