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10 tips for parents and supporters at college orientation

What is college orientation?

College orientation is all about making the transition to a new school as smooth as possible. New students schedule their classes, meet classmates, get familiar with campus and visit support offices like advising and counseling.

College orientations can be a single-day event or multi-day visits. Most schools will host their college orientations the summer before students start classes. You can expect a day full of introductions, tours and scheduling.

Is your student accepted to CMU? It's time to take the next steps; submitting their deposit, signing up for orientation and registering for housing. 

Your students next steps

Do parents attend college orientation?

Some universities require students to attend college orientation. You might be wondering, do parents go to college orientation too?

Over 80% of colleges or universities have some sort of parent, family or guest orientation programs according to Inside Higher Ed (August, 2019). Attending parental orientation sessions can help ease the transition of sending your student to college, even if it's not required. 

Most colleges and universities hold separate activities for parents and supporters. Parent orientation sessions include; financial aid, campus safety and how to best support your student during college.

After the day is over, you'll meet back up with your student. This is a great time to discuss about what you experienced and to make sure they got all their questions answered.

10 tips for supporters at parent orientation

Here are ten tips to help college orientation go smoothly for you and your student.

  1. Register early
    Most colleges and universities will host their orientations over the summer. If you have a transfer student, college orientation will take place the semester before they start classes. Registration opens up a few months in advance.

    Make sure to keep an eye on the dates available and register as soon as possible. Registering early for college orientation means you'll get your first-choice date. Your student will also get the first pick at classes for the next year.

  2. Manage logistics
    Help your student get ready for orientation by managing logistics for the day. How will you be getting there? Is lunch included? Do you need to book overnight accommodations?

    Taking care of the logistics means your student can focus on what's really important - getting ready for college.

  3. Help your student prepare
    Your student may feel a bit nervous leading up to college orientation. Help them prepare so they feel comfortable and confident on college orientation day. You can do this by helping your student brainstorm questions and researching potential classes.

  4. Pack light
    Since you'll be traveling around campus visiting different buildings and dorms, it's a good idea to pack light. Bring a pen and paper for notes, your phone and charger and plenty of water. Most colleges and universities include lunch in the schedule, but it's a good idea to bring light snacks.

  5. Be their cheerleader
    You are your student's biggest supporter, so cheer them on! Remind your student how proud you are of them for taking this leap into adulthood and continuing their education. Encourage them to be their best, authentic self on orientation day.

  6. On the day, give them space
    You and your student will have different events to attend throughout orientation day. This is their chance to bond with new classmates and start making decisions on their own. While you can text and check-in on your student, try to give them space to adjust on their own. 

  7. Ask the right questions
    College orientation is for you too! While you're in parent orientation sessions, make sure to get all your questions answered. If you're not sure where to start, consider these questions:

    • What financial resources are available?
    • What are tips for moving in?
    • What can my student expect out of their major or minor?
    • How can I best support my student during college?
    • Where can I find campus safety information?
    • When are academic breaks where my student might come home?
  8. Check in on resources for your student
    College orientation is a great time to check in on the resources available to your student. Is there a health clinic on campus? What mental health resources are available? Is there tutoring or academic advising?

    Parent orientation is also a great time to ask about any accommodations your student may need. While your student will likely get this same information, it's a great reminder!

  9. Leave with contact information
    College orientation can be overwhelming, for both you and your student. Ask for the contact information of an orientation leader or staff member before you leave campus. That way, if you have more questions, you have someone to reach out to.

  10. Debrief on the way home
    Once you're reunited with your student, share what you learned. This is a a great way to connect with your student as they enter this new phase of life.

Central Michigan University's orientation

All new Central Michigan University students are required to attend an orientation session. Orientation dates are held throughout the summer, starting in June. Once your student has been accepted, they can log in to the student portal to see their next steps and register for orientation. The earlier students register, the more date options will be available and the sooner they can choose their class schedule.

Blog: All Things Higher Ed posted | Last Modified: | Author: by University Communications | Categories: New Student Orientation
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