The Parent Experience Part II: Move-in

Colorado State recruiters are fortunate to meet all kinds of parents and families throughout the year, and many teach us as much as we teach them. Recently, we heard back from a parent who wanted to share some advice for other families going through the admissions process.

These are her words and her experiences. This post is the second in a two-part series. Read Part I: The decision.

After my daughter confirmed to CSU, she spent the summer finding a roommate (we recommend using RoomSync), planning her move, and attending Ram Orientation. As a parent, I spent my time attending Parent and Family Orientation and learning about details like dining options, campus safety, tuition payments, 529 plans, and health insurance coverage. I also spent time making travel arrangements.

Move-in week in August approached quickly, and although we prepared well we still learned much from the experience.

What should you expect from move-in?

CSU has specific move-in days for freshman and transfer students with flexible scheduling based on when you’re able to arrive on campus. During move-in, streets are blocked off and volunteers swarmed to help unload our car. I only carried in a pillow. I was prepared for long lines and a stressful day and was blown away by how smooth it was for our student to check in. CSU has this down to a science!

Dining halls (which are very good) begin serving meals on move-in day and both family and students are welcome to eat there.  This was so helpful given the hectic pace.

The hardest part about move-in as an out-of-state family is the limited window of time you have to coordinate drop-off and get back to the store for other needs. We checked with the RA and checked our student’s schedule for additional time on Friday which it was helpful.

Should you fly or drive to drop-off?

That decision is completely up to you. It depends on family time and resources; however, flying was a big time-saver for us. My daughter packed several duffle bags so they could easily be stored during the school year. She planned out what she needed to buy locally and all worked out well. We used the pick-up service through our local Bed, Bath and Beyond, and scheduled a pick-up date at the Fort Collins store which coincided with our trip.

How will your student know what they need for their room?

They can figure it out by talking with their roommate and also checking out dorm-approved lists online.  My daughter chose to loft her bed for extra room and she rented a micro-refrigerator through CSU.  This was a huge help because we didn’t have to buy either a refrigerator or a microwave, it was already in the room upon arrival, it won’t blow a fuse in the room, and the price was reasonable.  The refrigerator also has a mini freezer, which is an added bonus.

Is a car or bike needed on campus?

A car is a nice luxury, but not needed. Public transportation is adequate, except buses do not run on Sundays. Check out the website for more details about parking permits and locations.

Bikes are highly recommended. You will learn all about bikes at Parent and Family Orientation. New or used bikes are available on campus and at several used bike stores in town. Prices average $200-300. Keep in mind these are town bikes to get your student across campus and they stay outside year-round. The bike stores offer specials for lights, locks, and racks, which are necessary. The bike shop on campus is a great resource for maintenance and flats.

Should parents watch Convocation?

Yes, you do not want to miss Dr. Tony Frank and the rest of the faculty give inspiring speeches.  Think of it like the Olympic Opening Ceremony; you will not have another chance to see it. Resist the urge to skip out!

Does everyone go to the RAM Welcome picnic?

All students are expected to go to Ram Welcome right outside Moby Arena, but families can choose to eat dinner together at local restaurants rather than buy tickets for the picnic portion.  This means students can go when free admission starts.

How do you say good-bye?

Parents, this is a life-changing event for you and your student.  Do not underestimate the need to grieve (a.k.a. shed tears) amidst the excitement and pace of getting ready.  This happened for me after high school graduation more so than at drop-off. It hits everyone differently.

To avoid a rushed good-bye, I chose to write my daughter a letter telling her all the things I wanted to her to know, how much she meant to me, and how much I believed in her. It gave me peace of mind so I could feel complete as a parent and it gave my daughter something to read after we left.

The next few weeks were a bit quieter. Plan something to look forward to when you get home. Let your student reach out to you as they are ready.  They are testing their wings and need to tell you they can fly even though they are scared, too.  This is all new for them no matter how well prepared they are. When you hear their voice, it is awesome!  If your student is challenged, reach out to the many resources you will learn about at Parent and Family Orientation.

In conclusion

Those are the big takeaways for me, but I could go further. I wanted to share my major insights because the experience can feel overwhelming and you may worry that you are out of the loop at times. I hope that my experience will allow you to feel more prepared for what’s coming in the year ahead.

I love that my daughter is a RAM. I hope you have the same experience.

Best wishes. GO RAMS!

– Sue F.
Sue is a parent from the Lake Zurich, Illinois area