It’s June, and that means we are All About College Orientations at Totally Tailgates! We have 5 top tips to help guide you AND your son or daughter. Welcome to Part 1…
For seniors who just graduated or are about to graduate, you are REALLY looking forward to your official orientation at your college or university. It will most likely occur this month – yay, June!
We parents are still reeling from the fact that…..
A) You made it through 12 years of formal schooling and
B) You are leaving the nest. Without us. Like, you are now an adult.
C) Your college orientation inspires feelings of elation (we are proud of you!) and also terror.
(See B for further explanation on that last point.)
Parents: Copa and I can get you through this transition of parental angst. We successfully navigated the nuances of a university orientation to the point that we were actually comfortable dropping our baby girl off a few months later. It can be done.
I always thought this picture was funny until the day came when we had to drop off our baby girl.
I am sure I gave menacing glances to every frat member who walked by and
leered smiled at my 18-year-old as we unloaded plastic bins into her dorm! Need I mention the fact that the FOOTBALL TEAM was assigned to unload freshman on move in day?!?!
Thankfully, we did our homework before college orientation weekend, so we went in armed with questions and gained valuable insight. The information we garnered that weekend was specific, precise and very, very helpful. Move in day (a.k.a. drop off day otherwise known as the hardest day of my life) was much easier and anxiety was alleviated…for us and for our new freshman….because of all we learned during orientation weekend.
There are a few items you need to have on your punch list of your questions going into orientation weekend. To help you out, I am breaking down All About College Orientations into five parts.
Let’s start here…..Part 1: PARKING
What Your Freshman Needs to Know About University Parking
1. When does the freshman lottery open for space reservation?
Large universities use a tiered lottery system as parking is usually very limited. The closer to campus, the harder the spots are to secure. Also check the price points; some lots may be more budget friendly than others. Make sure you know when the dates open for freshman! It’s a little like waiting for concert tickets to go on sale….be early, be first.
2. Where is the commuter lot? How/when do I apply for parking?
If your son or daughter is going to live at home (or off campus) your freshman year, get the details on commuter parking! The college typically has a parking lot just for commuter parkers and they are identified with a special decal. This is fabulous because commuters can get on and off campus fairly quickly without worrying about spaces dominated by overnight parkers. Also, some universities partner with apartment complexes/townhouses to provide bus service to and from campus. More on that in a sec………….
3. How and when will your student receive their parking decal?
Your student may be able to register for parking during orientation, but at large universities this may not be the case. If they register on site, they should receive decals on the spot. If not, just make sure yours is on the windshield on move in day! AND…..walk the lots. That’s right. Take your son or daughter to the lot that they will be assigned to their freshman year. If you do not know your assignment during orientation, take them to all of the parking lots that COULD be assigned to them. Having a visual in relation to their dorm, dining hall, library, etc. is important. Towing is $$$ and it is easily avoided by knowing the rules in advance.
4. My student will not be taking a car freshman year. What should I be aware of
in terms of transportation?
Many students choose not to take a vehicle their freshman year….like ours! It was her choice, and it worked out fine. Unlike when Copa and I were in college, universities are in tune with the mass transit needs of their students who do not have vehicles. If your student is going to a small college, transportation from the library to the dorm is probably a moot issue. That said, large universities have custom buses to take you all around campus. Get a route map during orientation AND take a ride. I can’t stress this last point enough! If your student is familiar with the process they will use the system. It will save them lots and lots of time/stress once classes begin! And, some universities team up with local apartment complexes to provide transportation to and from campus! How great is that? Here’s the Crimson Ride at the University of Alabama:
Taking it one step further, the University of Kentucky helps out-of-state students by offering seasonal shuttles from the main campus to the Lexington Bluegrass airport. The university also has campus buses to take their Wildcats from one side of campus to the other.
Campus concierge transportation service? You’ve got it at High Point University!
And, The Wake Line at Wake Forest provides quick transportation alternative to non-driving students:
5. Are there any blackout dates when my student will not be able to access the parking spot we/he/she has paid for and reserved?
Hellllooooo football game-days! Yep, that’s right.
Or maybe it’s Alumni Reunion Weekend.
Here is what you need to know: big, campus-wide events may rededicate normal parking infrastructure. Bottom line: find out during orientation!
If your son or daughter is assigned Lot AAA , and Lot AAA requires the student to have their vehicles moved by 8am on Saturdays when there is a home game, this is something you need to know ahead of move-in day! Why???? Good luck finding an alternative (free, safe) space on game days. So, ask during orientation and find out what the college recommends as alternatives. This one little caveat could help you and your student make a decision as to lot selection or even whether or not to bring their vehicle first semester.
And guess what? Bikes rule. So does Uber.
Some colleges require bike registration. This is another point to bring up with your orientation guide/counselor. Bike decals are most often a separate registration from vehicles.
I need to mention transportation away from campus….
If your student does not take a car freshman year, getting around town or to and from the airport takes planning. The time to map this out with your student is during….ORIENTATION. 🙂 Universities in large cities (NYU, BU, BC, etc) have public transportation at their disposal. Again, check this out and map out routes while you are on campus with your student. The Sun Rail station in Winter Park, FL is located within easy walking distance of Rollins College and provides limited transportation to Orlando points of transportation access. You can ask all about local transportation during college orientation weekend!
Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions or insights……..let’s ride!
P.S. – I am not affiliated with Rollins College at all; this is not a sponsored post in any manner. Rather, I visited a friend in Winter Park, FL whose child attends the college. We stopped by campus and I snapped lots of pics along the way! It is a gorgeous campus tucked away in a pocket of Orlando known as Winter Park, FL.