Parent Perspective | Eastern North Carolina Now | Parents and guests get vital information from ECU’s orientation sessions

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services. The author of this post is Hannah Eccleston.

Orientation assistants and alumni lead campus tours for incoming students and their family members. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

    Orientation is an exciting step for incoming students as they get ready to begin their college careers. Students learn about campus traditions, their majors and what life will be like on campus. East Carolina University's orientation sessions also offer parents and guests the opportunity to learn more about ECU.

    While students meet with their orientation groups made up of other incoming students, parents attend sessions tailored for them. A variety of sessions are offered, such as "Navigating Uncharted Waters," "Money Matters" and "Student Health Services: In Sickness and In Health."

    Navigating Uncharted Waters helps parents recognize and understand the variety of emotions their student may feel over the summer before entering college, and what techniques can be used to best support them.

    They are encouraged to start having conversations over the summer about what is expected regarding communication between parent and student.

    "Umbrella parent" is the concept presented to parents at the beginning of orientation. "Stand next to your student, not in front. Hold the umbrella, freeing your students' hands to do their own work," said Carter Fenwick of ECU Parent and Family Programs from program materials.

    Since much of the material in the parent sessions is geared toward how to best transition the family to having a student in college, parts of this concept can be related to many of the sessions. Parents can choose from more than 20 sessions on the first day.

    "Having the different sessions shows me that ECU is making a real effort toward getting everyone to all parts of the campus experience. I really appreciate that because in high schools there were specific academic accommodation plans and in college it's very different, so that is definitely a worry of mine," said parent Kristen Doty.

    For parents like Doty, the Disability Support Services and Building First-Year Success sessions have a great deal of good information.

    "It is good to learn the resources to help guide my child, especially for people who aren't as familiar with ECU and the Greenville area to understand it a little bit more," she said.

    Doty hopes to learn more about the services offered to students and how ECU is prepared to support her child through the transition to college.

    "It is OK to be nervous and overwhelmed and clueless, so while I am here at orientation, I am really looking to have my questions answered and concerns addressed," she said.

    Directors and leaders of orientation sessions say that orientation is all about learning, so attendees should be open to taking in new information, and for experienced parents, expanding what they thought they knew about the college experience.

    Consider attending "Out of State Students," "Welcome to the Pirate Family," and "Set Sail for Success" to learn even more about the role of the family in helping your student transition to ECU.

    Many of these are concurrent sessions, so parents can use the ECU Guides App to pick and choose which sessions are best suited for them. If multiple parents or guests are in attendance, they can split up and attend different sessions to get the most information possible.
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