What Parents Should Expect at Summer Orientation and How To Prepare

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By: Norm Bishara

Early last summer on this blog, we shared what students should expect during Summer Orientation to offer advice on how to prepare for the experience of coming to campus to start your college journey.

If you’ve been admitted to Michigan Ross and are planning to join us for orientation this summer, I encourage you to revisit that post and take the lessons and learnings to heart.

But, we’ve noticed that a lot of parents of students read this blog as well, and it’s understandable that they feel the need to help their student prepare for college as well. So this year, I wanted to take a moment to share what parents should expect at Summer Orientation and how they can prepare students for the experience at orientation and beyond.

We recommend offering your student assistance in these ways:

Give Pep Talks and Appropriate Support

Share in the excitement your student is experiencing and help them channel it into taking orientation seriously. The biggest, most impactful role you can play is to continue to convey the importance of committing to getting the most out of the experience.

This is a crucial time for new students, and Orientation often sets the tone for a successful first year — let your student know that summer orientation is an opportunity to set themselves up for success and get answers to their questions. Getting oriented at Orientation is a good way to reduce and uneasiness of headinging into the big life transition that is entering college.  

Think of -- and Write Down -- Any Questions

We encourage students coming to Summer Orientation to be curious about the themselves and their future and to think deeply about what they want to get out of their time at Michigan. You can help in this area as well by working with your student to discuss write down questions they want to get answers to when they are on campus.

Having a list is helpful to making sure you don’t leave orientation with forgotten questions or unanswered concerns.

Make Sure Your Student Packs Sheets

This is an important one. You don’t want to forget sheets.

You may feel a strong urge to be more involved than this, to help design your student’s schedule or attend every session. But, establishing independence is a critical part of starting the college experience.

So, we recommend parents avoid being involved in the following ways

Avoid having too heavy a hand in scheduling or course selection

It’s important students learn how to navigate these decisions with the help of their advisors, who will be here to help your student make academic decisions throughout their time at Michigan.

When your student is scheduling classes that third day of orientation, try to distract yourself so that you are not tempted to text them! The Office of New Student Programs provides a handout of activities to do in A2, check them out!

Avoid ‘checking in’ on your student too often

Let them make good on your earlier advice to take orientation seriously and get the most out of it they can. They are in good hands, and frequent check-ins from worried parents can serve as an unnecessary distraction.

Avoid thinking this orientation is for both of you

Summer Orientation is designed for incoming students to help them get their first year at Michigan started on the right foot. There is a session on day two of Summer Orientation where parents or family members meet with a senior program administrator at Ross, but all of the other programming is specifically designed for incoming students.

This is a time to let your little baby birdy fly. It’s hard, but it is the best thing you can do for their future success.

There is a completely separate and optional parent-specific orientation offered if you’d like to have an orientation experience of your own. There is a lot of information about the Parent and Family Member Orientation on this page from ONSP, so read it thoroughly if you’re interested.

Here are the highlights:

  • Parent and Family Member Orientation is $75 for one person (plus lodging you must arrange for yourself and $35 for each additional person you want to bring with you);
  • Programming at this event focuses on living on campus, money management, academic requirements, health services, personal and property safety, student life, and family transition or learning how to let go.

How Students Should Prepare for Summer Orientation