Students and parents attend first mandatory orientation at UALR

    8:00 PM, Jul 16, 2010   |    comments
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    Some parents who tagged along also have college jitters and find it hard to let go.

    "One thing I'm worried about is classes, getting grades, making friends," says incoming freshman Mara Fulcher.

    Fulcher could have brought her parents to orientation, but she left them at home. She says they hover over her every move.

    "What I'm doing, where I'm going and everything just about," says Fulcher.

    Hundreds of other students brought theirs. Debbie Osborn is used to checking her kid's grades and activities outside of school.

    "I'm a parent that stays on top of all that and double checks. I do realize this point of life that will transfer over to her," says Osborn.

    For many students, this orientation is the first step toward independence. For parents, it's the first step toward letting go.

    To help in the transformation, parents and students are separated into special sessions.

    Tracy Guilbeau is a graduate assistant with the Office of Campus Life.

    "It also forces them to interact with other students. And when they get here on the first day, they will have friends and recognize familiar faces," says Guilbeau.

    They learn for the first time, parents won't have access to their private information like grades, schedule and financial aid.

    The rules are probably easier for parents with older kids who've been through the routine before.

    "My second child was responsible. I learned to let go. And I think she [third child] will be the responsible type," says Osborn.

    More than 400 people attended Friday's orientation. The director of Campus Life feels parental involvement has gone up over the years.

    UALR classes start August 19.


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