Colleges across the U.S. have put a new spin on "take your child to work day," or in this case, "take your parent to school day."
By flipping the tradition so parents are the ones tagging along with their college-aged kids, more than 90 percent of schools have expanded their freshman orientations to include programming for parents, according to a 2011 National Orientation Directors Association survey of 200-plus schools, reported in the Boston Globe this week.
Schools have different approaches to their parent orientations. Some, such as Boston College, urge parents "not to judge," according to the Globe. Motivational speaker Norm Bossio told parents at BC, "Don't wreck this by being a nervous wreck."
Michigan State University's parent orientation program emphasizes the importance of parents, students, and the university working together to ensure that students have the best possible college experience.
Several parents have responded favorably to their own taste of the college experience. A parent of the University of Colorado-Boulder said, "The parental portion of the orientation was phenomenal. This is my first child going off to college and we are out of state. I have to say that this visit has alleviated a tremendous amount of anxiety and stress."
Apparently, all it takes for parents to be reminded that their child will be okay in college is an orientation complete with speakers telling them to stay off their kid's Facebook page, a conscious pledge not to call every hour on the hour, and a reception with wine and cheese.