The Parent Experience Part 1: The decision

CSU's Class of 2015.

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.

Dear Future Ram Parents,

A year ago, my daughter and I went through a life-changing event known as the college selection process. As an out-of-state parent, I’ve learned much about experiencing the CSU admissions process from a distance, and questions and concerns that naturally come up during it.

I’ve recently been reflecting on our journey and I wanted to pass on some things I’ve learned along the way. Hopefully what I learned can help you plan for a smooth transition for your freshman student.

Keeping in mind that travel is expensive, what events should you attend?

Getting to campus is important — go as often as you can.  If you have to pick and choose which event to attend, here are my recommendations:

  1.  Admitted Student Visit Day (Choose CSU). The student at a minimum should go. It’s more informative than a campus visit.
  2.  Overnight Orientation. If your student has committed to CSU then they are required to attend. Ideally a parent/guardian should go with them.
  3.  Move-in and RAM Welcome. Obviously, the student will attend this and at least a parent or the entire family should try to attend.
  4.  Homecoming & Family Weekend. A parent should attend, if not the entire family.

These events will complete the full transition for both the student and the family.  Travel lightens up after that. Book flights and hotels as early as possible for best deals.

How will you commit to CSU?

Once your son or daughter decides which college is right for them, THEY begin the enrollment process — not you.  Just like they handled their college applications, they should handle this step of the journey.

Your student will set up a RAMweb account and receive all kinds of instruction prior to Orientation and drop-off (A.K.A. move-in week). Your student can grant you parental access to the FAMweb website so you can keep up with their financial and academic records.

This shift of responsibility was a big change after all the K-12 school year registrations and health forms!

Should parents or guardians go to Orientation?

As a parent, I found that attending Ram Orientation is far more important than I realized. The parent programming is different; most of the time you should expect to be separated from your student. That being said, I gained SO much from the trip. You will learn how to navigate the college years and help support your student in all ways, which is especially crucial if you’ll be doing so from a distance as an out-of-state parent.

Also keep in mind that staying in the residence halls is a great option.  However, while you might be in the same dorm, students stay on student floors and parents stay on parent floors separated by gender. It made sense when I arrived but it was a surprise, especially when my daughter and I shared a suitcase and we were not in the same room. Keep this in mind when making arrangements.

What gave me peace of mind about my student choosing Colorado State University?

  • The university is research-based and offers phenomenal opportunities.
  • Your student can find the academic rigor they seek.
  • Tony Frank is a fantastic and visible leader. Be sure to sign up for RamFam e-mails.
  • It is a safe school. Sexual assault awareness is prevalent and students go through online training. Dr. Tony Frank takes this subject very seriously.
  • Advisors help guide students and even help plan for graduate programs while they’re working on their Bachelor’s.
  • I was pleasantly surprised to find out how many campus ministry programs were available (such as RAM Catholics and Cru) and how many students participate. My daughter loves this aspect of CSU.

One of the most important reasons for my peace of mind came from the realization that CSU was a fantastic opportunity for my daughter. CSU students are encouraged to “Find Their State,” or become the best version of themselves. There are many opportunities to get involved, find adventure, experience the outdoors, and develop as a person. Although she was moving far from home, I have the assurance that CSU is committed to helping her grow.

Continue to "Part 2: Move-In."

Read on to see what you can expect from move-in.