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Stanford Parents Thread


Replies to: Stanford Parents Thread

  • Laf1980Laf1980 54 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Our son, like confusedmama's son, has also recently accepted Stanford's offer of admission after a prolonged decision making process. We too, are from NY, but we look at the long distance problem differently. Our son is currently taking a gap year by volunteering at a school for cerebral palsy children/orphanage in Cape Town, S.A., and the 5 hour flight to Ca. is certainly much shorter than the 11 hour flight to Cape Town. Neither he nor us has visited Stanford, but after recently visiting him and seeing what he goes through on a daily basis, the adjustment to Stanford for him should be no problem. He has been in touch with a young women there by e-mail, and that seems to have been a deciding influence in making his decision. He will not return to the states until August, and I will be reading this thread with avid interest to see how other parents made out at Admit weekend so that I can learn more about the school.
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  • confusedmamaconfusedmama 12 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @zenkoan - thanks very much. It's going to be a fun and exciting time. I'm looking forward to meeting other parents of Stanford students from all over the country. How do you join the parents association?

    @Laf1989 - you must be very proud of your son! You certainly help put the distance into perspective. :)
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  • gladmomgladmom 739 replies71 threadsRegistered User Member
    Hello to the other Stanford parents on this thread! Congratulations to your sons and daughters on their admittances to Stanford! My S is a junior and we are in the Chicago area. The distance has not been a problem at all for us. Kids these days have so many ways to keep in touch, and we have used them all. Stanford was his first choice dream school, and it has met all of his expectations, academically and otherwise.

    Here is the link to the Stanford Gateway for Parents Parents | Stanford University. You'll find a wealth of information there. I spent a few days visiting my son on campus one summer and stayed at the Stanford Guest House Welcome to The Stanford Guest House - Stanford University. The campus is large and gorgeous. Some people don't like how spread out it is, but I think that is one of its advantages. I could (and often DO) go on and on about the cactus garden, the Rodin sculptures, the architecture, the fountains, the art museum and so much more. Since 95% of students live on campus, it helps to have such a large place for your home base. There's always someplace new to explore and spend time in.

    Many of the kids ride bikes much of the time, although some get by just walking. Our son is still using the bike he bought at the Campus Bike Shop - On Campus Serving Stanford and the Bay Area when he was a freshman. You can order what you want online through the store and it will be ready and waiting for you when you arrive in September. There are service packages that have proved useful to my son. They'll even store it over the summer for a small fee.

    My son really likes the ready access to public transportation that allows him to get off of campus, too. Caltrain can take you north or south for a small fare.

    Anyway, I hope those of you who get to go to Admit Weekend have a great time. My son chose not to go, only because he had previously spent a week on campus for a running camp and knew that he wanted to attend. See you on CC!
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  • confusedmamaconfusedmama 12 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @gladmom - thanks for your positive message and all the helpful info!
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  • ydnarydnar 41 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Confusedmama - we are from Southern CA - so much closer - but until very recently I was thinking much the same as you - anticipating that D was going to be 3000 miles away. We found the Stanford Parents Club (I hope that I have the name correct) to have a very active presence over the Admit weekend and very eager to make contact with new parents to keep them connected.

    As an aside, my take on Stanford as compared to the East Coast schools is that it is much more friendly and nurturing. I think that once you are able to visit that you will find it quite reassuring.
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  • mema32mema32 65 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    We are also from the Northeast, attended Admit weekend, and were thrilled with what we experienced at Stanford. Though I love living in the east, it was refreshing to be in California. It's hard to explain, Confusedmama, but you would feel 100% better if you could visit sometime. My D is so excited, has picked out most of her first term classes, knows where she wants to live, and cannot wait to return.

    The distance is a concern, but then we have friends with kids attending schools in upstate NY that are easily a 7 hour drive. We're picking up our son from the DC area this weekend and are looking at 8+ hour drive one way. A 6 hour flight doesn't seems so bad.
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  • DungareedollDungareedoll 920 replies66 threadsRegistered User Member
    My S Just Said Yes this weekend too. We are from NY- Long Island, in particular. We loved it. I do have a few questions, if anyone out there could answer them, I would greatly appreciate the insight.

    1) The bikes seem pricey at the campus shop, and I was told that they are stolen often so I didn't want to pay hundreds for a new bike. Do the graduating seniors sell their bikes, if so is there a website or bulletin board where someone can find them? Or, is there someplace off campus to purchase a bike, thats less pricey?

    2) Since we are coming from NY I need to ship packages ahead of time. Does the school have a policy where they hold a certain number of packages for the students?

    3) Whats the average cost for books per semester? Also while I was in the bookstore they had a leaflet regarding renting books, it seemed like a great deal, an opinions?

    4) Does anyone know if the new Dining will be ready by the fall? According to the sign is was "Coming Spring 2011" but it looked pretty far from ready.

    5) How do the kids get to the San Fran or San Jose Airports?

    OK thats enough....... Sorry for all the questions and thanks
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  • zenkoanzenkoan 1106 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Congratulations to your S, Dungareedoll!! I'll take a stab at answering some of your questions, but also be assured that these, and many other questions you're sure to have, will be answered over the next several weeks in information sent out by Stanford (in "Approaching Stanford" and other documents).

    1. For bikes, one option to consider is the refurbished, like-new bikes that the Bike Shop offers during Orientation Week. These are bikes in great condition that have been previously used by short-term visitors to campus, such as conference participants, summer camp students, etc. The Bike Shop stocks bikes built to last for the four years of heavy use that Stanford students give them. You can definitely find cheaper bikes at places like Target, etc., but they probably won't last as long so you pretty much get what you pay for. People who religiously lock up their bikes with a U-Lock tend not to have them stolen.

    2. The last time I checked, Stanford didn't accept packages ahead of time for students, but what most people do who are flying in is ship the packages several days in advance so that they will arrive on campus during Orientation Week. This seems to work well. Alternatively, many hotels will accept packages in advance of your arrival. Also, keep in mind that it makes more sense, usually, to buy some stuff locally once you are here, instead of incurring shipping costs. It's also fine to send some things to your student after you have returned home, since he won't need every single thing right away to get settled in his dorm.

    3. Costs for books vary so widely that it's not really possible to give a meaningful estimate. Some classes tend to use lots of free online materials, while others require expensive textbooks. You can reduce the cost of textbooks through renting, re-selling at the end of the quarter, or by choosing the e-version of a textbook if it's offered.

    4. Not sure about the new dining hall, but I would definitely bet on it being ready when they project it to be. Stanford is pretty good about estimating these things, and the weather doesn't often pose problems with construction schedules here.

    5. One popular and inexpensive option to get to and from the airports is to use the Super Shuttle vans, which pick students up at their dorms and take them to the airport, and vice versa. You book them online in advance, and travel with a group of students to your destination. It costs about $20 each way with the Stanford discount.

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  • Doss12Doss12 24 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    >1) The bikes seem pricey at the campus shop, and I was told that they are stolen often so I didn't want to pay hundreds for a new bike. Do the graduating seniors sell their bikes, if so is there a website or bulletin board where someone can find them? Or, is there someplace off campus to purchase a bike, thats less pricey?

    Do you know any current Stanford students or anyone who lives in the area? Every June Stanford students abandon over a thousand bikes because they aren't worth what it would cost to ship them home. The police tag the bikes and then after two weeks collect the bikes and sell them to businesses that recycle bikes. If you know any current students or local residents, ask them if they would be willing to see if any graduating students might be willing to donate or sell their bike. And HINT HINT you might also try suggesting to the ASSU that they start a program to recycle the thousand bikes abandoned every year. That would actually make ASSU dues worth it.

    Here are some sites you might find useful:

    Alternative Transportation : Bicycling at Stanford

    SUDPS Bicycle Programs

    If you decide to buy a new bike I recommend Walmart or Costco. The Peninsula is a bit of a backwater, but not enough to not have big box stores.
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  • DungareedollDungareedoll 920 replies66 threadsRegistered User Member
    Thank you Zen and Doss:

    I have another question:

    What about printers? Do kids need their own or are there facilities in the dorms? I didn't see any.
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  • zenkoanzenkoan 1106 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    There are printers in the dorm computer clusters and in the libraries. It costs .10/page to print. I haven't had the need for a printer in my room but some kids do have them.
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  • DungareedollDungareedoll 920 replies66 threadsRegistered User Member
    OK so I have another question. What time do parents really leave from orientation. I understand that we move in on September 20th and it sounds like they (the school) wants parents out by that evening, but am I correct? Or do a lot of parents hang out and still fix up the rooms the next day? How does it work?

    Thanks again!!!
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  • gladmomgladmom 739 replies71 threadsRegistered User Member

    1) About the bikes at the bike shop being pricey, you get what you pay for. My S got one of those bikes (definitely not the most expensive one) and has given it a beating - riding it every day most of the year round for almost 3 years now. He spent his first summer on campus taking classes, and the second doing research for a prof. In all this time, he has had very few problems with the bike. I would imagine that a used bike will cost more in the long run due to repairs. I hope my S's lasts all four years, but regardless, using a bike is so much cheaper than having a car. I'm sure that he won't want to take it with him wherever he ends up after graduation as he will have worn it out by then.

    Regarding theft, I don't know of many places where you can leave a bike unlocked and expect to find it when you return. Whatever isn't locked down can easily be taken. We got the security package for my S's bike, and he has never had it stolen or anything on it stolen. For us it seemed like a bargain. I recommend that if you don't get this package that you do the same on your own.
    Campus Bike Shop Security Package - Campus Bike Shop - Stanford University
    Campus Bike Shop
    Security Package
    Our Security Package is a near necessity here on campus. It goes a long way to assuring your bike will be there when you get out of class, or whatever. It's very popular with our new-bike buyers - 94% purchase this package with their bike. The package includes

    U-lock and holder to secure your bike to a rack
    Seat cable to secure your seat to the frame without limiting seat adjustment
    Security skewers to replace quick releases to discourage wheel theft
    All are installed on your bike
    94% of new-bike buyers select this package
    This is not an insurance package; it does not cover stolen bikes.

    5) My son takes Caltrain to and from the airport. You can walk to the Caltrain station in Palo Alto or take the Marguerite Shuttle. Caltrain takes you to BART, which goes to the San Francisco Airport.

    He took the SuperShuttle to and from SFO once each way as a freshman, and it worked very well.

    At my S's orientation in 2008, there was a specified time in the afternoon when you went to your child's dorm and listened a bit to the staff talk about things and then you say "good-bye" to your child. You are strongly urged to leave at that point, although no one will say anything if you stay (except, perhaps, your child!).There was an "optional" banquet with the President for parents immediately following the "good-bye". Lots of parents went, and it was wonderful. We all were emotional and there were parental tears! My H and I went straight to the airport afterwards and took the red-eye home.

    There was plenty of time to help your kid move in on that day. They have sessions for parents during the day, some of which I really wanted to attend, but we didn't have time. I don't think that many of the kids want to see their parents around after the "good-bye" session, but I know that due to travel times and other things sometimes it is necessary.
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  • DungareedollDungareedoll 920 replies66 threadsRegistered User Member
    Gladmom: Thanks. I, too, would like to leave as soon as possible because I have to get back to child #2. She's bummed that she can't come but she can't miss 3 days of school so early in the school year. So I want to do everything I can for my S but definitely not spend more time there than necessary. Do you remember when the parent banquet started/ended.

    I'm thinking the campus bike shop is sounding like the right thing to do. I don't need to be penny wise and dollar foolish. Thanks for your opinion. Someone else said the same thing so I'm sure we will do that.

    Do people get to campus on Monday do get things accomplished, like buying bikes etc.? Or do you do that and the move in all on Tuesday?

    Also someone mentioned Parents weekend is in February. Does anyone know when it usually is? I hoping around Presidents Day. Again coming from NY that would just make life easier.

    Thank you!
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  • M's MomM's Mom 4507 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    For those of you who are far away, skype has been amazing. There is nothing like face-to-face communication to get a nuanced feel for how things are going.
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  • mamaemamae 151 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Just a couple of quick thoughts re: questions raised above.

    Printers - A basic printer can be picked up so cheaply now I would recommend going ahead and buying one for your child's dorm room.

    SuperShuttle & air fares - A great service to/from either San Francisco or San Jose airport. Google it and you can find a discount code specifically for Stanford students. My son used another service called "East and South Bay Shuttle" or something similar and was NOT happy with it. We are an east coast family, and I strongly suggest booking your child's Thanksgiving flight as early as possible, if you are planning for a trip home at that point. The Thanksgiving break is extra long (a whole week) at Stanford and my son always comes home then, even thought the Christmas/Holiday break is right around the corner. Remember, half the country is trying to fly somewhere the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so it is important to try to book that as early as possible.

    Parents @ move-in/convocation day - I was desperately trying to get my son's room "set up" to my satisfaction and had not done so at the time the parents were supposed to leave. My husband almost had to drag me out of our son's dorm room. I am glad he did. To stay would have been impolite given the school administrations's request that parents depart at that point. More importantly, it is the time when your son or daughter will begin the process of getting to know his/her roommate and other dorm-mates, and having mom and dad around is not cool. ;-)

    Bikes - All the bikes were sold out at Target and Wal-Mart by the the time we got to town (the day before move-in day). We ended up purchasing a bike for around $300 at a bike shop on El Camino Real - that was the low end of what they offered. Bike theft is a BIG problem at Stanford, and that bike was gone before the year was out. This year my son bought a cheap bike at Target and, while he still has the bike, someone stole the seat off of it.
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  • mamaemamae 151 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    One more tip: If you will be flying rather than driving to Stanford for move-in day, be sure to check out the "buy ahead" service offered for college students by Bed Bath & Beyond. You and your son or daughter shop your local store this summer, select what is needed and it is put on a list which is sent ahead to the BB&B closest to Stanford. Simply show up at the BB& B closest to Stanford (Mountain View, I think) and they will have it all packed and ready to go. We could NOT have survived without this service. I also pre-ordered a mini refrigerator online through Best Buy and picked it up at the Best Buy right next door to the BB&B.
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  • gladmomgladmom 739 replies71 threadsRegistered User Member
    Dungareedoll, I think that it is strongly encouraged that you do it all in one day, on move-in day. They set up for this, and have a bunch of students greeting the families and helping to move items into the dorm. It's pretty efficient. I don't know if it is possible to move in the day before or not. When you arrive on move in day, the students are given packets telling them their room number, giving them keys, telling them where to go to pick up IDs, how to get their computers set up, etc. Whatever you don't finish helping your kid to do for set-up, he can do by himself after you leave.

    You can arrive the day before, but you (and the student) will have to stay in a hotel. I recommend getting to move-in early in the day if you want to help your student move in AND participate in some of the other options available for parents.

    Back in 2008:
    Opening Convocation was 4:15-5:30
    The Welcome Home (good-bye to students) was 5:45-6:30
    Parent Dinner with the Provost was 6:45-8:15.

    We arrived at around 9 am (you could arrive as early as 8am), and we were just barely done with everything that we wanted to help our S with by 4:15pm in time to do the above 3 things. It was an exhausting day.

    One more comment about bikes, my S has never had anything stolen off his bike because he used the things I noted in my last post: a cable to secure the seat, a U-lock, and the security skewers for the wheel. And he always locks his bike. Many students don't. If you have all the available security, then usually if someone wants to steel a bike, the criminal will go for the one that is less secure.

    I don't think that Parents weekend is ever the same as President's Day weekend. You can check Stanford.edu for the previous dates to be sure.

    Here's a good link that may answer some other questions: Stanford Parents' Guide: Life at Stanford
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  • DungareedollDungareedoll 920 replies66 threadsRegistered User Member
    Thank you so much mamae and gladmom: Everything looks like it will work out fine. I already booked my tickets for move and was told by my sister who has a freshman in ND that Thanksgiving is the costliest holiday. I'm just waiting for the dates to open on Southwest.
    As for move in day, that should work perfectly. My H has to get back to work the following morning so he is catching a back from SJC at 9:05 into NJ (thats were he works) while I'll catch a flt the next morning to NY. We probably won't make the parent dinner but thats okay I just wanted to make sure that we were there for the other two events.

    Thanks again for all the info. If anyone can think of anything else please feel free to tell me. I would rather know too much than too little.

    Again thanks a lot to all the moms!!!
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  • mamaemamae 151 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Please don't take my comments above as suggesting that Stanford is a crime-ridden campus! Bike theft is a problem on many campuses. My son is not the type of kid to be security conscious about his bike, and that probably had something to do with the fact that he had his bike stolen. In any event, he much prefers riding one of his several longboards around campus, and he has not lost one of those yet!
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