At a recent DU Parents Council meeting, we started talking in one of the committee meetings about the “Move-In Process” for new DU students. As experienced parents of current students, we were once in your position…and trying to figure out the best plans to make the move in process go smoothly. We are lucky that DU has many resources already available, for both students and parents. Yet, many of us expressed that we still had learned a few things that might be helpful to others in that same position. So this post is a collection of advice from DU parents who have done it and “got the T-shirt” to parents of new DU students. Whether this is your youngest and you are an old hand at moving a child into college or you are sending your only or first-born off, we hope you will find something of value here!
Orientation. Yes, it’s for you, too!
Without feeling like you are overdoing it, we encourage you to attend as much of the orientation as possible – don’t worry, there are separate events for parents from the students and you won’t feel like you are hovering! As Jennifer writes, “I received such good information during that time, and I not only left campus feeling really good about the school, but also having watched my son make friends and get acclimated during those 3 days. It was a gradual drop-off process which I felt worked much better than those I heard about from friends who simply helped their kids move in and then it was time to go.” Susan chimed in, too “I agree hundred percent with this one. Orientation made a big difference to me and made us very comfortable with leaving our ‘ baby’ there.”
And Carole says, “be sensitive to differences from minute one. We were unloading all the boxes with desk organizers, matching sheets, etc., and one of our son’s roommates had a backpack and a pillow — period. Some kids have overcome significant challenges to get to DU.”
Jennifer encourages you to attend the class induction ceremony, “I wish I had known how really amazing the (Pioneer Passage) ceremony was that they had to welcome the students. It was early in the morning and we skipped it after a day of tiring move in. We saw it with our second DU student and it was really amazing. Don‘t miss it.”
And, Connie adds a note about Pioneer Passage, “We sat in the bleachers and spoke to other parents as we waited for the ceremony to begin. Amazingly, we met a mom of a girl who was also from New England and who had very similar sports interests as our daughter. We exchanged information and even though our daughters were in dorms far across campus from each other, they met up through a club sport and our contact exchange. 3 years later, they are still close friends and roommates!” Great connections can be anywhere.
Susan says, “my advice to a new parent/student is to not miss the session with the keynote speaker sponsored by the Parent and Family Council at the end of orientation.” This year our Keynote Speaker during Parent & Family Orientation will be DU Professor Lynn Schofield Clark. Professor Clark has a lot to offer in terms of reviewing research on parenting in the digital age, and she has recently published a book called The Parent App. You’ll appreciate her perspectives!
Yes there is no air conditioning (so your child will probably appreciate a fan!). As Dan said, “when we went to Target to buy a fan, we found them sold out. So, buy one in advance! Or head to a store farther from campus!”
“Those ‘Command Hooks’ made by 3M and others, which are ways of hanging things without leaving a mark on the brick walls, are pretty handy.“
Several national chain companies allow you to pre-order your needs at a store close to home and they will have it waiting for you to pick up in Denver, saving you the cost of shipping or extra baggage fees if you are flying in. As Barb says, “One thing we did that was helpful, coming from far away was that we made a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond and bought all that was needed. They transmitted the order to the store in Cherry Creek and date of pickup. All we had to do was go there and they wheeled out the order that had been pre-picked and was ready to go. They opened it up to make sure all was there, but in just a few minutes we were on our way to Bonnie Brae for ice cream!”
“I’m sure other places would do similarly. They told us that they had ~900 orders to process for Denver universities that fall at that store.”
There are hundreds of friendly and willing student-athletes and Greeks who are ready to help you move into the dorms. They will be roaming inside the corridors, in the lobby and in the parking lots near the dorms. Yes, really!
Carole advises, “those student-athletes are there to help on move in day. Don’t be afraid to grab a couple and ask for help!” And even more important to get their help is that “the move-in elevator will get backed up — be prepared for stairs!” Good leg work for those hockey and lacrosse players and you won’t believe how fast it will all go with a little assistance!
If you live within driving distance, “I wish I knew that although you can borrow a dolly for a short period, because of elevator lines that is usually just enough for one load. If you can bring a dolly, do.”
Do I Need….?
“Map your classes and see if a bike or scooter would be helpful. It’s a long way from Lamont to the gym, for example. And invest in a good lock. Campus is safe, but it just makes sense to have your bike be tougher to steal than the one next to it.”
June advises, “Leave the parkas and snow boots at home. You won’t need them until winter term. And if you do need them early, you’ll be in good company.”
Do they need a car at school? How about a bike? How will they get around? Between friends, the light rail system and the car rental by the hour on campus, it is easy to get to places away from campus for entertainment, errands, health needs or snacks. The orientation process will also help a lot with this…the freshman seminar program will involve their group learning the light rail system and how to get around the city. There are great bike rental programs on campus as well.
If you can, try to attend the Resource Fair during orientation WITH YOUR STUDENT where dozens and dozens of amazing services and offerings are highlighted.
Tom said, “We were surprised that there was a reasonably priced car rental service by the hour for students as young as 18, on campus, that allowed our daughter to get to some away from campus dental appointments efficiently.”
If you live far away…
If you are far from campus, what will the travel process be like? Connie says, “there’s a Super Shuttle from the airport with a discounted rate for DU students that will drop you off at the dorm door. And, hang in there because there is an extension to the Light Rail system that is being built to provide service right from the airport by 2016!”
Also, if you are planning airline travel, think about your preferred airlines and figure in the baggage fees. For instance, you can save baggage charges if you fly your students on Southwest Airlines — 2 bags fly free (and no change fees when they find out their finals are later than they thought)!
Money Money Money Money Money!
“Check to see if your student’s current bank has convenient branches or ATMs near campus. Our bank did not (Bank of America) and we ended up opening a new account at Wells Fargo.”
How do you pay for school and how much is it (actually) going to cost? June says, “The estimate sent out before hand is just that, an estimate. Attend the very valuable seminar during orientation that explains how the bills will work, how to understand what is what, etc. You will know real numbers after your student registers for classes.”
Keeping in touch without helicopter blades…
“My advice is to let your student do the outreach and just be available and encouraging. A friend told me a story. Her daughter called and was feeling lonesome and sad a couple of weeks after school started. The mom panicked and drove 2½ hours to help and be with her daughter. When she arrived her daughter was sitting in a room with a bunch of other girls, laughing and talking. So let them work it out first!”
Another parent offers, “times aren’t like they were when we went to school – when you had to wait to use the one phone on the floor in your dorm. With today’s technology, you will not have to worry about your student finding ways to stay in touch. Make sure you are in the habit of texting, emailing, snapchatting, etc. You’ll be surprised by the things your student shares with you.”
Our last piece of advice?
Join the Parents Association. Member benefits can be found on the Parents Program website. And even consider joining the Parents Council. We are a group of interested parents who wish to be in close touch with the school and serve as ambassadors for DU in our local communities. Parents Council information can be found on our website, go.du.edu/parents-council.
We wish all of you a wonderful, exciting and adventurous move in process for both you and your student and the best of luck for a smooth transition.
From the Parents Council and especially the Outreach Committee:
Dan, Connie, Jack, Susan, Tom, Curt, Amy, Carole, Erin, Vernon, Ken, and Paulette.