THE MOTTLEY CREW REVIEW
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THOUGHTS FROM MY SON’S COLLEGE ORIENTATION
sources, will leave questions unanswered, and will sometimes conflict with other information you’ve received. My advice is to read everything, start working on this stuff as soon as you get it, and call the school in advance if you have questions.
I don’t remember much about my college orientation. The year was 1989. The season was summer. The place was Virginia Tech. That’s about all I recall. I vaguely remember sitting in a big auditorium and hearing people speak. I’m sure information was “handed out” on paper. No “e-,” “web,” or “app” for anything existed back then, and nothing was “scanned” by anyone, either. My strained attempts to recall my own orientation began last June as I sat in the 18,000-seat Colonial Life Arena on the campus of the University of South Carolina. My son was soon to be a Gamecock, and very soon, that Gamecock would be flying the coop. As some of you prepare for your children’s college orientations this summer, I thought I’d share with you my top orientation takeaways. Know that things have changed. If you’re in my generation, you will not be surprised to learn that college orientation — like everything else, it seems — has evolved into a much larger, parent- involved production over the last 30 years. So, just understand that. A lot more is going to be asked of you at your child’s college orientation than was asked of your parents at your orientation 30 years ago. Prepare in advance. Weeks before orientation, you will get instructions from the school telling you various things you need to do ahead of time. These instructions will come from multiple
Be a compulsive note taker for two days. The sheer volume of
exist, and they’re helpful. Not long after we dropped off Andrew, Hurricane Florence went through Columbia. The school’s Twitter alerts and the parents’ Facebook page were great resources during that time, and they’re great all around for getting your questions answered. Go and have fun. Orientation is optional for parents. One of the biggest questions I hear parents asking is “Should I go to orientation?” In hindsight, I cannot think of anything I learned at orientation that I couldn’t have learned in advance over the internet by doing a little digging or by making phone calls. But, it’s worth it. Orientation organizes it all in one place and at one time. Plus, it’s a good idea to be there with your student to serve as a sounding board as they talk about their thoughts from orientation. So, go if you can and have fun.
information thrown at you is going to be overwhelming. Orientation is like drinking from a fire hydrant. You may not be a compulsive note taker like me, but trust me, these notes are going to come in handy later. I personally use Microsoft OneNote on my iPhone for heavy-duty note taking because it syncs over my devices. Be organized. As you prepare, organize by topic the forms and various communications you receive into folders or tabs in a notebook. “Student health forms,” for example, would be in one folder/tab. Break it down. One great thing about orientation is that all the opportunities, like clubs and other activities, are unfurled for your student to see. Particularly for a kid going to a big school, I believe the best thing for them to do is to find some way to “break down” the school into something smaller. Start learning about all these opportunities at orientation. Learn about parent groups. Be on the lookout for parent apps, social media groups, and more at orientation. They
-Kevin W. Mottley
www.MottleyLawFirm.com | 1
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