Parent & Family Weekends
Every school has some version of Family Weekend. This is a great time to see your student in their “natural habitat” on campus. You will see them in their new independent role and have the chance to meet some of their friends. There is some debate on whether Family Weekend is worth the travel and expenses vs. coming on another, less-crowded weekend. We’ve done both.
Our first experience with Family Weekend we booked a hotel a year in advance, booking every weekend in that specified month while we waited for the big announcement as to the actual dates. Then, go back and cancel all the unneeded weekends. Hotels have caught on and began requiring deposits and changing cancellation policies. (Check when booking.)
Perhaps this hasn’t given you a positive outlook as to what to expect for Parent’s Weekend. It is my goal to prepare, as well as caution. Don’t shoot the messenger, but restaurants are crazy crowded all weekend long. I have heard that the further from campus one goes, the better luck they have had in this regard. Of course, that also means daring to get into your car and navigate through the traffic and find parking again later. Try to eat at off times. We have even picked up subs and brought them back to our hotel.
If your students joined a sorority or fraternity, you may want to check to see if they have picked this same weekend. When my daughter pledged, we had already booked homecoming weekend. Her sorority family weekend was two weeks prior so we ended up going up to both events. And while I love seeing my daughter, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have gone to both events especially twice in one month.
Speaking of expenses, some parents choose not to attend Family Weekend and simply come on a non-football weekend. Once, we flew our son home for the weekend instead. Although flights are costly, it was much cheaper than driving up, paying for gas, tolls, meals, and a hotel. Of course, there isn’t as much going on and the football is a good part of the fun, but the cost of the weekend can get exorbitant.
Each school posts the schedule of events for the family weekend, check the dates and arrange your schedule accordingly.