For the Parent Programs office, most of the summer is a maelstrom of New Student Receptions. We host around 30-35 of them each summer, and most of them take place within an 8 week timeframe, so it is a mess of invitations, RSVPs, computer updates, communications to hosts and guests, and staff travel. I don’t go to all of them, but I go to enough in a compressed timeframe that I occasionally forget which city I am in 🙂
These receptions have been very well received in all the years we’ve done them, and new students and parents alike typically report feeling a lot more comfortable starting school/sending their students away (respectively) after having attended. The trend in past years has been to have somewhere between 30-45% of our new families attend a New Student Reception. Which is great…if you live in an area where one is held. Our office has always felt bad that there’s three new families in Spokane or St. Louis or New Orleans or wherever-we-aren’t-going, but the reality is we can’t be everywhere. And in areas where there are just a few new students, it doesn’t make sense to hold one (not everyone in the area will come, there are always last minute cancellations, and/or sometimes the students are coming from one or two high schools and presumably know each other).
So this year we finally carved out some time to try and do the next-best-alternative, which is a Virtual New Student Reception, which is now available online. This is a compilation of some advice we would normally share at NSRs, combined with some videos that have been created by the Office of Academic Advising about course registration and understanding requirements, and also a video from Residence Life and Housing about making the best start with your roommate. The Virtual NSR also has a section of Advice for New Parents from Current Parents – we surveyed the been-there-done-that cadre of families and asked them to share their best advice with the incoming parents and families, and it has a section of Advice for New Students from Current Students (same idea, we surveyed current students).
There’s a lot to wade through on the Virtual NSR page. Using my “Wake is a smorgasboard” analogy, take as many or as few bites as you wish. But know that information is out there if you or your students want or need it.