Jul 28, 2010 11:57 AM by Melissa Canone
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - This summer, nearly 2,900 incoming
freshmen attended mandatory orientations at the University of
Louisiana at Lafayette and they weren't alone.
A record number of parents nearly 1,500 attended optional
sessions for parents, said Paul Eaton, ULL's orientation director.
Last year, 2,600 students attended the mandatory sessions while
1,300 parents attended the parent sessions, according to university
Just two years ago, fewer than 1,000 parents attended the
optional sessions, Eaton said.
The university attributes the increase in parent participation
to its new focused outreach to parents, but also to the parents
themselves, said DeWayne Bowie, ULL's vice president of enrollment
"More parents want to be involved," Bowie said. "We decided
we need to take advantage of that and make them a partner in
helping students succeed."
Part of the increased parental involvement may have to do with
the economy and the consequences if their children are not
successful in college, Bowie noted.
"Just graduating from high school is not enough," Bowie said.
"Parents want to make sure their sons and daughters are in the
right programs to be successful and want to know how to increase
the likelihood that their sons and daughters will be successful."
This year, a reception at ULL President Joe Savoie's house is
part of the parent orientation lineup. Savoie, other top
administrators and college deans and associate deans will meet
parents and answer any questions they may have, Eaton said.
Some of the sessions for parents cover basics like financial aid
and housing while other sessions address issues like what parents
can expect in their children's first year of college and how
parents can help their children make the transition.
New Orleans parents Susan and Ron Carazo attended the
orientation Tuesday to help their twin sons, Christian and Charles,
19, settle into their new environment.
Susan and Ron Carazo both said one discussion they hadn't
considered was encouraging their sons to get involved with campus
activities early on.
Eaton told parents that many students think it may be better to
focus solely on academics their first semester and wait to get
involved once they settle into college life.
"Students who get involved the first few weeks are going to do
better," Eaton said.