parent orientation

Posted : May 2, 2006
Last Updated : May 9, 2019

parent orientation

For parents of an entering college freshman, it is beneficial to attend a parent orientation offered by the student's college or university. These orientations are often offered during the summer before your child's first semester and are usually concurrent with the student orientation. Here is an overview of what to expect at a parent orientation.

Registration and Fees

At most colleges, you will need to register prior to orientation. Due to limited space, walk-in registrations cannot usually be accommodated. Some colleges will require fees (can range from $25 to $100+) for parent orientation, while others will not. Check with the school for specific registration and fee requirements.


If parent orientation lasts for more than one day, many colleges allow parents to stay overnight in residence halls. However, some colleges are not large enough to accommodate both the students and parents, so these colleges may request that parents stay in a hotel located near the campus. If the latter is the case, shuttle services are usually provided. Be sure to check with the school for detailed lodging information, or check websites such as,, and to compare rates and get detailed user reviews.


At most schools, the parent orientation runs separately, but concurrently, with the student orientation. This allows for you to attend sessions that are most beneficial to you as a parent. You will get a chance to interact with faculty during these workshops, and you will get the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Topics of discussion may include:

  • Financial Aid
  • Housing
  • Dining Services/Meal Plans
  • Money Management
  • Academic Requirements
  • Health Services
  • Personal and Property Safety
  • Student Organizations
  • Disability Services
  • Family Transition
  • …and many more

Campus Tour

During parent orientation, you will be led on a tour of the campus. This is a good opportunity for you to become familiar with your child's learning and living environment for the next four or more years. The campus tour usually includes exploration of the campus libraries, residence halls, dining areas, classrooms, etc. Be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella in case of rain.


By attending parent orientation, you can expect to receive many benefits:

  • You can gain more knowledge of the school's academic and social aspects by meeting informally with administrators and faculty.
  • You can learn how to help your child adjust to college life by attending the appropriate workshops.
  • You will have the opportunity to confirm your child's financial aid, housing, meal plan, etc.
  • You can get a hands-on view of the residence hall in which your child will be living.
  • You can develop a network of friends by interacting with other parents attending the program.

While parent attendance at orientation is not usually required by colleges, it would still be to your advantage to attend. For more specific information on parent orientation at your student's college or university, contact the school's Student Services Department.

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