Lessons Learned from My Daughter's First-Year Experience

Denise L. Rode
2019 Journal of College Orientation, Transition, and Retention  
Those of us who are professionals in the fields of orientation, transition, and retention are accustomed to providing advice and counsel to prospective/new students and their families. We communicate the value of making wise decisions on everything from how to select a college to getting along with roommates to staying safe on campus. We tout the overwhelming body of research and literature on the importance of student engagement to students' identity development, academic success, and
more » ... . We take our professional responsibilities to our constituents seriously, but what happens when our own kids approach the point of college? Does the knowledge and advice we offer freely to others assist our own students-and us-when the time comes? This Perspectives article is a case study of one parent's transition with her daughter to the college world. Although this unscientific "study" is based on an N of 1, I hope it will provide some insight for those who will be navigating this crossing in the future, a moment of support for those who are living it right now, and some fond (or not-so-fond) memories for those who have been there. Visiting Campuses: Many of us in this field believe strongly that the best way to evaluate a college is to visit it. Viewbooks, Web sites, and blogs all have value, but there's nothing like setting foot on a campus to assess the match between student and institution. With this in mind, I tried to set up college visits during my daughter's junior year in high school and the following summer, to no avail. When my daughter's senior year began, pressing project deadlines, band and dance competitions, and college entrance exams left her with no time for college visits. In the midst of senior year craziness, she decided to apply to colleges and then visit the ones where she was admitted and which were among her top 2-3 choices. Her strategy worked, but it caused her mom some heartburn along the way. Lesson learned: Students have their own timetables for exploring college options, and they don't necessarily mesh with ours. The Admissions Process: A steadfast believer in letting students do things for themselves, I began to get nervous during my daughter's senior year as application deadlines grew near and the forms were not completed. Most of the
doi:10.24926/jcotr.v17i1.2714 fatcat:cctdzci2ejgazotiuc7apk5le4