College orientation is more than a cursory introduction to a university. These one to two day sessions give new freshmen and transfer students - and their families - an overview of what to expect as a new college student .
Why It's Important to Go
Orientation usually includes tours of the campus and residence halls; panel discussions on academic and student life; small group sessions on topics such asfinancial aid and study abroad programs; an information fair with representatives from various campus organizations; For many students, it’s a chance to meet new classmates-to-be and even find a roommate. For parents, it's also a golden opportunity to scout out textbook options, residence life extras and nearby coffeehouses, bakeries and restaurants - information they'll need down the road. And even if your child is going to a community college and living at home, going to orientation sends an important message to your child that his college education matters to you. Family Orientation
Up until a decade ago, most college orientation sessions were directed at students. Now it’s a rare school that doesn’t offer parent orientation and 10% do sibling programs for families, who don’t want to leave younger children at home. At Boston University and UCLA, for example, younger siblings sport campus T-shirts and do arts and crafts activities. Mt. Holyoke does a “how to apply to college” session for teen siblings too. Tip: If your child's college does not have a specific sibling program, leave your younger kids home. They'll find eight hours of lectures on "Academic Success in the University Environment" tedious, to say the least. And if they're distracted, you will be too. Timing
Some colleges hold multiple orientation sessions during the summer months. Others use it to launch move-in weekend and Welcome Week. There are pros and cons to the timing. Pick an early date, and your child may have a better shot at getting the classes he needs. An earlier session also gives...
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