Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising

On July 2, 2004, Jodi Koslow Martin from Aurora University asked list members for their input on allowing parents to be involved in their child's first academic advising session during orientation. This topic garnered a huge response, the overwhelming majority of which was against allowing parents to be a part of the advising and scheduling process. Some individuals explained how their institutions incorporate parents into the advising/orientation process - either by explaining the importance of not allowing parent involvement (Britt Andreatta) or by providing a concurrent orientation program for parents, with “check-in” opportunities prior to and following advising (Jim Calliotte, Sara Leigh, Pat Folsum, Debra Sanborn, Sheldon Tawata). Rose Hanofee discussed the need for parental involvement in some situations, as did Ryan Smithson and Sheldon Tawata. Denise Cherry described a particular situation that illustrates the challenges associated with parental involvement in course selection.

Jodi Koslow Martin (read FYE post or send email)
Jim Calliotte (read FYE post or send email)
Sara Leigh (read FYE post or send email)
Jenny Bancroft (read FYE post or send email)
Rose Hanofee (read FYE post or send email) rhanofee@SULLIVAN.SUNY.EDU
Sylvia A. Jolet (read FYE post or send email) joles@LAKE.OLLUSA.EDU
David Jaffee (read FYE post or send email) djaffee@UNF.EDU
Denise Cherry (ready FYE post or send email) DeniseC@CSMD.EDU
Pat Folsum (read FYE post or send email) pat-folsom@UIOWA.EDU
Debra Sanborn (read FYE post or send email) dsanborn@IASTATE.EDU
Ryan Smithson (read FYE post or send email)
Britt Andreatta (read FYE post or send email) ANDREATTA-B@SA.UCSB.EDU
Sheldon Tawata (read FYE post or send email) sheldont@HAWAII.EDU


July 2, 2004 11:08am
Original Message: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising


Over the course of our summer orientations, we have found that parents want to be more involved with their students as the schedule progresses. Parents and guests have an interest in being present as the student selects classes for the first time with an academic advisor.
While we will offer an opportunity for parents and guests to connect with the academic advisors without the student present, I would like your input about having the parents involved in the first academic advising session. Have you done this on your campus? Has it been successful?

Thank you for your responses. Enjoy the holiday weekend.

Jodi Koslow Martin
Dean of First Year Students
Aurora University
347 S. Gladstone Ave.
Aurora, IL 60506
(630) 844-7510
Fax: (630) 844-4913

July 2, 2004 11:32am
Re: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising

While we always have received pressure from some parents to participate in advising at orientation (and it has been growing) we have always resisted.

We have sessions for parents at orientation on letting go and the need for students to begin making their own decisions, and we refer to that when parents persist. Parents have a separate general presentation from the appropriate college advisor, so they are well informed. We also have advance information on course selection on our orientation website so that students may prepare and discuss possible courses ahead of time with their parents. Finally, parents can check the students schedule after advising
and registration at the end of orientation and if there are questions we deal with them then.

But, we firmly believe that this is the appropriate time for students to begin doing things on their own; right from the start.

Dr. Jim Calliotte
Director, Counseling & Advising Services
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, Va. 23529
Phone: 757-683-4223 Fax: 757-683-3565

July 2, 2004 11:42am
Re: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising

No! for your sake and, more importantly, the sake of your students don't do it. I have worked with freshmen registration on four very diverse campuses, and parents have NEVER been allowed to sit in. If we want freshmen to act like adults then we need to treat them like adults. If mom and dad get to sit in and make decisions for the student from the very beginning I wish you luck in getting rid of the parents for the rest of that student's college career.

At my current university we do not allow parents to sit in -- they are invited to other information sessions at the same time as advising -- however, if mom and dad have questions or concerns AFTER the student has met with their advisor that is just fine. It is important that the student gets to do it on their own first.

And, frankly, as an advisor I have never found that parents need more incentive or ways to get involved.

Sara Leigh
Minnesota State University Moorhead

July 2, 2004 11:48am
Re: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising

Jim - I couldn't agree more. We do not involve parents in academic advising for the same reason of establishing importance of student responsibility, but also because we want to share our advisor/faculty knowledge, expertise, and start a relationship with the student. You do offer some good alternatives of ways to inform the parents.

Jenny Bancroft
Director, Teaching and Learning Center
Mount Olive College
1-800-653-0854, ext. 3252 / (919) 658-2502, ext. 3252
Fax: (919) 658-7768

July 2, 2004 11:48am
Re: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising

Hi Jodi,

That's a great question, I hope to hear what others practice at their schools! Here at Sullivan Co. Community College students register throughout the summer. Many parents are very adamant about participating. It can get really frustrating because they interrupt and make decisions for the students and it becomes difficult to determine what the STUDENT wants. We try our best to ask parents and other relatives, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. to wait in the lobby. On the other hand, however, sometimes it's beneficial because they help students feel comfortable talking about classes, career goals, when someone they know is there. We admit many underprepared students who have a difficult time just filling out a blank schedule form, so involving parents sometimes helps them feel at ease when a lot of information is given to them at once.

Rose Hanofee
Loch Sheldrake, NY

July 2, 2004 11:51am
Re: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising

We share the FERPA rules with the student and the parent at the first advising session. The student signs the FERPA permission before leaving the first session.

Sylvia A. Jolet, Chief Administrator
Enrollment Management
Our Lady of the Lake University
411 S. W. 24th Street
San Antonio, Texas 78207-4689
(210) 431-3984 (fax 210-431-4084)

July 2, 2004 12:12pm
Re: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising

I concur with all those who have weighed in against allowing parents to accompany students during the course selection/scheduling/registration process; and for the reasons indicated.

However, I wanted to share my experience yesterday with a group of freshmen who were working up their fall schedules -- one student was repeatedly dialing up her mother via cell phone to consult about her courses and her schedule.

Is this "in tele-loco parentis"??!!

David Jaffee
Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, Florida 32224
Ph: 904-620-2560
Fax: 904-620-2929

July 2, 2004 12:57pm
Re: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising

I direct and perform student orientation at our small community college campus. This is so fresh on my mind because of a bad experience I had in orientation just yesterday. The student was online (we require online registration following our short orientation presentation). she had decided what to take, when to take it, how it would fit into her program, etc. and was proceeding when her parents tried to take over and and change her mind - reminding her about her habits/idiosyncrasies, etc. They began arguing and I had to walk away at that point- and I said as I walked away: Just remember, she is the student and will be following the schedule. I realize you are paying - and you are concerned, but just keep in mind that she is the student.
Everyone seemed to calm down - but I am really considering a separate program for the parents. We've already established that other significants are not invited to the orientation/advising/registration session. We've already established that parents need not attend, but our student population is getting younger and younger (due to early high school graduates) and a lot of the students are first time college for their families. It's too distracting for everyone, too many cooks!
From my own experience,(I have four children in various stages of college), the best orientation session I have ever attended was for my son at UNC/Greensboro. It is a two day orientation - where parents and students are invited to stay in the dorms and participate in several all day activities. Except for ONE session on FERPA, parents and students were separated the entire time. The students chose their schedules - had one evening to share them with their parents and discuss - and then the morning of the last day was registration time. It was a wonderful experience for us and our son - mostly because his father and I had ample time without him to discuss and resolve our concerns.
I would like to ask everyone a question -
If you use peers and/or faculty for orientation, has it helped and how has it helped your orientation sessions? We would like to get more staff and students involved in orientation - but would like to be able to identify some benefits. Thanks.

Denise Cherry
Director, Student Services
Prince Frederick Campus
College of Southern Maryland

July 2, 2004 1:48pm
Re: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising

At the University of Iowa we have dual parent and student programs. At some points parents and students are in sessions together and at other times during the orientation they are engaged in separate activities.
Parents are not present when academic advisers finalize schedules with students, nor are they present when students are working on building their schedules. We do, however, give parents essential academic information and time to discuss academic issues with their students during the program. Peer student advisers and academic adviser lead an
hour-long presentation call "Introduction to Academics." Both parents and students attend this session. There are 9 different presentations geared to broad academic areas (health sciences, social sciences, open majors, etc.). Parents walk away from this with a good understanding of the make up of a degree, placement considerations, factors we consider in schedule building, etc. During the evening of the first day, parents and students can review the materials that students have been working with for schedule building.

Pat Folsom

July 2, 2004 2:09pm
Re: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising

The same or a similar procedure has been in place at Iowa State University for several years. The traits and circumstance are classic for Millennial students.

Debra Sanborn

July 2, 2004 2:27pm
Re: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising

We had involved them several years ago and moved away from it because it became so tedious, but I am now finding that we may want to re-explore this for the future as many
parents do want to be a part of this process. I would prefer not to do so, but we may need to based upon our population.

Ryan Smithson
Baker College

July 2, 2004 2:44pm
Re: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising

At the University of California at Santa Barbara, we have solved this problem by finding a happy medium. We include parents in the discussion of why it is so important that they NOT be part of the advising process. By the end, they are helping us encourage their student's independence.

Parents are excluded from the actual academic advising/selection sessions but they are simultaneously in an extensive orientation of their own. We present the academic requirements to parents, we talk about FERPA, we explain the registration process and also the need for students to be flexible. We directly talk to the parents about the importance of their student being independent and that orientation is a "first taste" of this process. We also include a wonderful letting go program called "Parents in Transition" and another program called "Your Student's First Year."

Throughout the program, the parent and student programs merge so students can "check in" with their parent and vice versa. But the actual advising and registration has them separated. This has worked very well for us and also helps us role model for the parents how to provide space for the student to learn and grow while being there for support.

I'd be happy to share copies of our parent and student programs if anyone wishes. Just write me directly.

Britt Andreatta, Ph.D.
Director of First Year Programs & Leadership Education
UCSB Office of Student Life (2201 SAASB)
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
PH: (805) 893-8290
FX: (805) 893-7005

July 2, 2004 2:55pm
Re: Parent Involvement in First-Year Advising


We recently revised our New Student Orientation to include parents/guardians. I completely understand the perspective of making our new college students more independent however, there are cultural aspects in our islands that we just can't ignore. So far the interactions between student and parent/guardian at our NSO has been extremely positive. I have seen parents/guardians as more of a supportive role than overbearing. But, when it comes to the individual advising session (where they are picking courses), we try our best to limit it to just student and advisor. I do feel that the parents feel more at ease after the NSO and tend to "let go" by the time they reach their advising session.

Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

Sheldon Tawata
Arts and Science Counselor
Kapi`olani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Road
Honolulu, HI. 96816
p. (808)734-9510 f. (808)734-9456