Off to College
A Guide for Parents
With Off to College, Roger H. Martin helps parents understand this important period of transition by providing the perfect tour of the first year on today’s campus. Martin, a twenty-year college president and former Harvard dean, spent a year visiting five very different colleges and universities across the United States—public and private, large and small, elite and non-elite—to get an insider’s view of modern college life. He observes an advising session as a student sorts out her schedule, unravels the mysteries of roommate assignments with a residence life director, and patrols campus with a safety officer on a rowdy Saturday night. He gets pointers in freshman English and tips on athletics and physical fitness from coaches. He talks with financial aid officers and health service providers. And he listens to the voices of the first–year students themselves. Martin packs Off to College with the insights and advice he gained and bolsters them with data from a wide variety of sources to deliver a unique and personal view of the current student experience.
The first year is not just the beginning of a student’s college education but also the first big step in becoming an adult. Off to College will help parents understand what to expect whether they’re new to the college experience or reconciling modern campus life with memories of their own college days.
Making the Transition
What Happens When Your Child Arrives for Orientation?
What Happens after You Have Driven Off into the Sunset, Leaving Your Child Behind?
Some Orientation Safety Concerns Parents Probably Don’t Want to Know About
What Are Your Kids Talking about After You Have Gone?
Orientation, Day 1: The Curriculum (including the Use of Advanced Placement Credits), Time Management, and Eating Well
Orientation, Day 2: Plagiarism, Campus Jobs, and Date Rape
Teaching and Advising
Why Is Advising So Important?
First-Year Class, Part One: Classroom Policy, Grades and Grade Inflation, Strategies around Teaching First-Year Students, More on Plagiarism, and Time Management
What’s a Typical Advising Session Like?
What’s the Rationale behind the First-Year Curriculum and What Are Its Challenges?
First-Year Class, Part Two: Active Learning, Writing Strategies, and Being Overwhelmed
Why Should You Encourage Your Child to Use the Writing Center?
First-Year Class, Part Three: More Writing Strategies, Texting in Class, and the Consequences of Disruptive Behavior
What Are Some of the Financial Challenges Parents and Students Will Deal with First Year?
What Does a First-Year Student Say about the Financial Challenges He Is Facing?
Should a First-Year Student Take on a Campus Job?
So, Where Does All Your Hard-Earned Tuition Money Go? A President Talks Candidly about College Cost
Living on Campus
How to Deal with Separation Anxiety and Why Parents Need to Chill
Everything You Wanted to Know about Residence Hall Life but Were Afraid to Ask: Roommates, Noise, and Coeducational Dorms
To What Degree Should Your Child Become Involved in Social and Extracurricular Activities?
What about Your Child’s Spiritual Life?
What Is Your Child Really Up To?
What Happens If Your Child Gets into Trouble?
What Does Your Child Do on the Weekend?
Health and Safety
What Should Your Child Do When He or She Gets Sick?
What Do First-Year Students Say about Health, including Eating, Smoking, Sex, and Depression?
What Should Your Child Do When She or He Becomes Homesick or Depressed?
Is Your Child Safe? The Inside Story on Drinking, Date Rape, and Campus Shooters
What Do First-Year Students Say about Campus Safety?
A Walk around Campus Late on a Busy Weekend Evening with a Campus Safety Officer
Athletics and Physical Fitness
What Happens Before and During the First Game?
What Is the Philosophy of College Athletics and What Is Your Role as a Parent?
What If Your Child Isn’t an Athlete?
When Your Kid Isn’t a Starter
What Do First-Year Student-Athletes Say about Sports and Academics?
A Coach’s Perspective on First-Year Student-Athletes
Reflections of a First-Year Bench Sitter
First Gens Talk about Going to College: Parental Support, Challenges, and Fitting In
What Do You Need to Know If Your Child Is the First in Your Family to Go to College?
What Is It Like to Come from a Proscribed Ethnic Community but Attend a Very Diverse College?
What Are the Challenges for First Gens Who Are African American or Latino?
A First Gen Talks about Surprises First Year and Challenges of Being a Minority Student on a Largely White Campus
Some Straight Talk from an Old Hand in First Gen Education
First-Year Students with Disabilities
What First-Year Students with a Learning Disability Say about Going to College: The Importance of Accommodation
What Do You Need to Know If Your Child Has a Learning Disability?
What Do You Need to Know If Your Child Has a Physical Disability?
A College President Comments on the First-Year Growing-Up Process
A Personal Story of the First Year
"Parents should be knowledgeable about their youngsters' challenges starting higher education. But just as important, [Martin] said, is letting young adults deal with their own problems on campus. It's all part of 'the growing up experience.' . . . That philosophy infuses his new book Off to College: A Guide for Parents . . . aimed at preparing parents for the empty nest, advising them on how to handle possible major crises such as students' mental health problems and substance abuse while urging them to avoid micromanaging choices of academic majors or squabbles with messy roommates."
Off to College is comprehensive and thoughtful of the anxieties parents who are sending their students off to a four-year residential college experience away from home. The book doesn't sugarcoat any of the legitimate parental concerns but it can reduce those concerns by providing realistic perspectives and information. Compared to the investment you are about to make in your child's residential college education, the investment of time your reading this book is minuscule to the value you could derive.”