Make the Most of a Campus Visit
By Priscilla Childress
Colleges and universities understand that families want to visit their students as soon as possible, so they provide the perfect opportunity: Fall Family Weekend. Two months into freshman year, your student has had time to acclimate to school, explore a new environment and get used to living away from home. He or she is ready for you to visit and excited to show you around campus.
Take full advantage of this opportunity to reconnect with your student and to meet his or her new friends and their families. The activities are planned for you – all you have to do is have fun and start making memories that will last a lifetime.
For any visit you plan throughout the year, here are a few tips to remember:
- Never surprise him/her: Students aren’t known for cleaning their rooms and being ready for drop-in guests. Many freshmen live in one-room doubles, so you need to be considerate of the roommate too. Whether you live in the next town or across the country, give your student plenty of notice to prepare for a visit. Then be prepared for him or her to tell you that it’s not the best weekend because of an away athletics event, a looming academic deadline, or even a social event that he or she would prefer to go to over dinner with you (sorry!).
- Allow your student to choreograph the visit: Give him/her the opportunity to decide what you will do while in town and to introduce you to his/her favorite sports. Don’t expect too much – make sure he/she knows you don’t assume the two of you will hang out every minute. You can entertain yourself on campus or in town when your student is busy.
- Invite your student’s friends to join you: For dinner (students rarely turn down free food) or an activity such as bowling. Some freshmen don’t have cars – they’ll be happy to hitch a ride almost anyplace!
- Before you travel: Don’t forget to ask what your student wants you to bring from “back home.” As long as it’s not the family pet, you’ll probably be happy to indulge him or her.
Priscilla Childress is one of the contributors to UniversityParent Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year.