Presentation on theme: "University of Minnesota, Twin Cities"— Presentation transcript:
1 University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Parents as Partners: The What, Why, and How of Designing an Effective Parent Orientation ProgramPresented by:Katie Granholm, M.S.University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
2 Today’s Students Today’s students are Respectful of social conventions & institutions; authority orientedFinancially dependent on their parentsClose to their parentsInitiating communication with parents; parents are their “best advisers”Savvy in technology—and use it all the time
3 Today’s Parents Today’s parents are Accustomed to guiding their students’ activitiesIn close contact with their studentsFrequently college grads themselvesExperienced in changing institutionsTechnologically savvy
4 College Costs Rising college costs Families finance the cost of a college education.GenX parents are a consumer-drive generation- have options, used to shopping around for best “value”.Parents expect a high return on investment.
5 Parent and Student Relationship 70% of students say they communicate with their parents “very often”. (National Survey of Student Engagement, 2007)Most students perceive their parents’ involvement to be “just right”. (Higher Education Research Institute, 2008)Students who frequently communicate with their parents and follow their advice are more likely to participate in college activities and are more satisfied with the college experience. (National Survey of Student Engagement, 2007)“A healthy student-parent relationship is positively linked to overall college adjustment, including academic achievement and affective health, and these issues are all clearly demonstrated factors in student retention.” (Austin, 2003, p. 138)
6 Views on Parental Involvement Effectiveness of “letting go” messages“Helicopter” ParentsStereotypes and realitiesParents as partners
7 Parents’ Role in the Transition Process Changes over timeParents’ role during the “senior summer”Parents’ role in first-year student successParents’ role long-term
8 Who Works with Parents Admissions Orientation New Student Programs Financial aidHousing….
9 What is the Role of Parent Orientation? In the absence of meaningful connections on campus, students will turn to parents for advice and guidance.Familiarize parents with the resources available to new students and parentsEducate parents on issues related to student development and the adjustment processAcknowledge the adjustment process that exists for parents/family membersBuild an affinity with the University: need for parents to feel connected to the institution
10 Best Practices in Parent Orientation “Benchmark programs successfully achieve balance with the following goals:Educating parents on first year academic and social transition issues;Identifying that consistent, trustful, and respectful communication helps with separation issues and supports attitudes and motivations helping students meet expectations;Parental encouragement and interest with student experiences helps them optimize college opportunities;Providing information on programs and services helpful to learning.” (Hatch, p.44 )
11 What makes Parent Orientation Effective? Clear Goals and ObjectivesCollaborationInstitutional CommitmentBased on assessment of parent, student, and institutional needsAssessment and feedback are shared
12 Questions to ConsiderWhen developing a parent orientation schedule, ask:What do parents need to know about the college experience?What support do your students need from their parents during their transition?What information do parents need to know in order for their students to be successful here?What are parents most concerned about at the time of orientation?How do we want parents to be involved in the college transition process?
13 Needs of Parents at the Time of Transition Changing RelationshipsAcademicsSafety and WellbeingFinances
14 Needs Assessment Institutional Feedback Survey of Parents What are your partner departments telling you?Survey of ParentsPredict their student’s adjustment to college life issuesMain anxieties and concerns at this timeSurvey of StudentsWhat role does your parent play in your transition into college life?How can your parent better support you?Parent and Student surveys can be conducted before on-campus orientation, at admissions visits, by mail or , at or following on-campus orientation.
16 Key Players Who has a stake in Parent Orientation? What key departments provide services related to parent’s concerns, anxieties, questions, and also provide timely and relevant information?Who can be most helpful in getting your program off the ground?Your office, parents, college/academic constituents, departmental partners, sponsors, others?
17 Program Design & Logistics What are your desired outcomes?What is the ideal format for your program?Time-frame: program concurrent to student orientation or separateWeekday vs Weekend programBudgetSpace
18 Program Content Health, Safety and Wellbeing Residence Life or Commuting InformationCampus TourAcademic and Social Support ResourcesFinancial ResourcesAcademic Expectations, Requirements & PoliciesFaculty/Staff InteractionCampus InvolvementFreshmen Seminars or Extended Orientation ProgramsStudent Development & Transitional IssuesInteraction with other Parents
19 Implementation Staffing and oversight Presenters/Facilitators Consistency & ReliabilityDynamic presentation styleRelevancyProgram FormatMay depend on space & time considerationsPassive vs. active programsInteraction with other parents, students, staffPromotion & Marketing
20 Program Evaluation & Assessment How will you determine success?Accomplishment of learning objectives, active participation, attendance?Program EvaluationGo beyond demographic and satisfaction based questions.Eg: “After attending Parent Orientation, I have a better understanding of the student experience and resources available at the University.”Post-Orientation Follow-upWeb polls, online survey, focus groups
21 Overview of U of M Parent Orientation Program Program for the parents/guests of incoming freshmen and transfer studentsConcurrent with student programSaturday program optionCosts:Freshmen: $25 (advance registration); $35 (on-site); $25 evening programTransfer: No chargePromotion and Communication
22 Learning ObjectivesBy participating in Parent Orientation, parents will:Have a better understanding of the U of M student experience and the resources available to students and parents.Feel more connected to the University.Feel better able to support their student and empower him/her to take responsibility while enrolled at the University.Understand the academic expectations of their student.
23 Parent Orientation Schedule 8:30-10:30 Optional Morning Activities (with student)10:30-10:50 University Welcome (with student)10:50-11:05 Overview of Parent Orientation11:10-11:45 One Stop Student Services (financial aid, billing, registrar)11:50-12:20 Health & Safety12:20-1:15 Lunch1:30-2:20 College Meeting2:35-2:55 Break2:55-3:40 Housing/The Commuting Life3:50-4:05 Pieces of the Puzzle: Campus Life Issues Preview4:05-4:30 Coaching Your Student4:50-5:15 U Card/ Reconnect with StudentChanging RelationshipsAcademicsSafety and WellbeingFinances
24 Lessons Learned After participating in Parent Orientation, 98% report feeling better prepared to assist their student in his/her transition into the University.98% report having a better understanding of the student experience and the resources available.96% report feeling more connected to the University.78% of parents understand what is expected of their academically.
25 Lessons Learned Parents who did not attend Parent Orientation: Are less satisfied with university’s communications, services, and programsFeel less connected to the university communityVisit student in person more often53.8% of non-PO parents visit one or more times a month31% or PO parents visit one or more times a month
26 Filling in the Gaps Underserved Populations: Parents of commuters Parents of transfer studentsParents of first generation college studentsParents of students with disabilitiesNon-Traditional parents: single, guardians, fosterParents of students of colorParents of high-need students
27 Orientation: Groundwork for the College Years Consistency in message and policyClarified expectationsWhat comes next?
28 Tips for Success Consistency in tone and messaging Address “first-fears first”Listen to your audienceDraw on your resources
29 Next Steps Find out what parents need Find out what the institution needsPull together your campus partners to begin the discussionDecide what is realistic and take action!
30 Additional ResourcesUniversity of Minnesota- Orientation & First-Year Programs:U of M Parent Program:Colorado State University Parent Orientation Schedule:University of Michigan- Ann Arbor Parent Orientation:NODA & FYE Parent Guide: “Empowering Parents of First-Year College Students: A Guide for Success”Administrations Promoting Parent Involvement- Annual March Conference in Boston- contact:NODA Parent & Family Network:
31 ReferencesAustin, D. (2003). The role of family influence on student success. In Ward-Roof, J. & Hatch, C., Designing successful transitions: A guide for orienting students to college. Columbia, SC: The National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.Hatch, C. (2004) Parent and Family Orientation. In Fabich, M.J., Orientation Planning Manual: 2004 Edition. National Orientation Directors Association.Higher Education Research Institute. (2008). The American freshman: National norms for fall Retrieved February 9, 2009, fromNational Survey of Student Engagement. (2007). Experiences that matter: Enhancing student learning and success. Retrieved February 9, 2009, from