There’s nothing like the energy of a college town. You may not get to campus often, and then only for a weekend. How can you make the most of your time — with and without your student?
Get on your student’s calendar
Discuss in advance what meals you’ll share, and if you’ll go to any athletic events, performances, etc. When will you have down time together? When will you be on your own? Be prepared for your student to say, “But I’m so busy.” They will still need to study and may have meetings, rehearsals, etc.
Pack walking shoes
Invite your student to show you around campus and town (they’ll likely beeline for a restaurant or ice cream shop). Block out some time to wander, or sign up for a more formal walking tour to learn about the history and architecture of the college and nearby neighborhoods. Biking is another great way to explore — there is sure to be a bike-share program or rentals available.
Meet the friends
Be sure to meet your student’s roommate(s) and other new friends. Invite them to join you for coffee, brunch or a trip to the mall (students who don’t have cars love this kind of field trip). On that note…
Expect to shop
Seasons and styles change. Your student is probably ready to switch up their wardrobe — maybe it’s time to pick out a winter coat, or an outfit to wear for an upcoming formal. They may just need laundry detergent or a new phone charger.
Head to the hills
Does your student want to relax off campus for an hour or two? Find a nearby park and go for a picnic, hike, paddle or swim. Don’t forget to snap a family photo!
Experience at least one new facet of the school
If you’ve never been to a college sporting event now’s the time. Is there an a capella concert or student play to see? How about a lecture given by one of your student’s favorite professors or a visiting luminary? Most campuses have a museum or two (art or natural history).
Save something for next time
Any time you visit, don’t try to pack too much in. The quiet walks and talks are the moments you (and your student) will remember most.
Tip: Check for local events before your trip!
5 easy ways to stay in touch
- Fill a care package with treats from home plus practical items they forgot on move-in day.
- Share photos back and forth (text, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.).
- Virtual tailgate party: If you can’t join them for the big game, pull out all the stops while watching at home.
- Schedule a group video chat with your student plus neighborhood friends or relatives in other places.
- Sit down and handwrite an old-fashioned letter or postcard.