Your child has finally been accepted to college and its only a few months until your little bird flies the nest. Even so, the college planning isn't over yet. Going to college can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience for students and parents, especially if your child will be living on campus. College orientation, which is mandatory at some schools and optional at others, is intended to help your child make a smooth transition into college.
Whether orientation is required at your college or not, you should definitely register your child to attend.
So, what's the big deal about orientation?
Orientation will give your child their first glimpse of what real college life will be like. Going to college can be stressful for some students. They are put into a new environment, with new people, and a new set of rules, services, etc. Orientation can help both you and your child attain a new comfort level with the school and help students understand better how they will fit in.
At orientation, students get to meet their future classmates, attend information sessions about campus services and policies, stay in campus dorms, and pick out fall classes in some cases. As a parent, you will also have the opportunity to attend information sessions as well.
The college will provide instructions on how to register for orientation and give you some guidelines of what to expect while the student is there. If you didn't receive something the the mail, research college orientation on the school's website.
If your child is attending a college where class registration is done during orientation, he or she should prepare by researching mandatory classes for their major. If your child is starting college undecided, classes in the school's core curriculum might be a good place to start. Encourage your child to check out the school's on line course catalog so they have an idea of what is available before they head to orientation.
While at orientation, your child will likely also have the opportunity to meet their academic adviser, giving them a resource to turn to when they arrive on campus.
What to bring to orientation
At orientation, your child will be provided with a lot of information, from registration procedures, to general rules and policies. Bringing a notebook and writing utensil is a must, as well as a bag to carry around any handouts. There is also likely to be a lot of walking around as students move from session to session, so comfortable walking shoes and weather appropriate clothing are a good choice (remember an umbrella if it is supposed to rain!). Students should silence their cell phones during sessions to make sure they don't miss a vital piece of information during an important session.
After daytime informational sessions have included, your student may have the opportunity to attend more social sessions, such as dances, sports and other activities. These activities give students the chance to learn more about each other, interact, and make new friends.
Remember, orientation is meant to be fun and informational. Take advantage of this great opportunity and encourage your child to make some new connections.