Monday, June 29, 2009

College Orientation for Parents: LETTING GO

At a long ago Conference on College Composition and Communication, a young professor told me that a student's mother had called in the middle of the semester to ask if she would give her son a "wake-up call." At first, I misunderstood. I thought, "Well, she wants it made clear to her son that he is failing because he is skipping classes." I was wrong: The mother wanted the professor to provide a hotel-style wake-up call so her son wouldn't miss the 8 a.m. composition class that he was, indeed, failing. My jaw dropped. However, the authors of Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years have heard and seen it all--and I imagine they would have nodded sympathetically and given this professor solid advice on handling this situation.

Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger, veterans of Washington University, speak at orientation programs throughout the country--giving parents compassionate and practical advice on the emotional and social changes of the college years. They let parents know:

  • When they should encourage independence
  • When they should intervene
  • What issues of identity and intimacy await students
  • What are normal feelings of disorientation and loneliness for students—and for parents
  • What is different about today’s college environment
  • What new concerns about safety, health and wellness, and stress will affect incoming classes

By addressing these and other important issues in their workshops, the authors of Letting Go give administrators and faculty the opportunity to set the ground rules for students and parents.

You can use their free workshop guide--or you can invite the authors to speak at your campus. Plus, you can send parents this free audio--which will get them ready to let go.

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