Family weekend

<p>Hi everyone--
I have a question as the parent of an incoming freshman (Class of 2014) at William and Mary. We're excited that he is going there, seems like a wonderful school. We are wondering how many parents attend the Family Weekend at the end of September. We are from San Diego, and it's a long way to go for a weekend, but we want to be supportive as well. My question is: do a lot of parents show up for it? Or mainly just the ones who live in Virginia? We don't want to "hover" either if it's mainly an event for students and alums. Can anyone advise?
Meanwhile, we're really looking forward to making the trip there with him in August and attending the Family Orientation. He's our first one to go to college of our children, and we are proud that it's W&M!</p>

<p>Family Weekend is a great time, and I recommend going if it's possible - though a cross-country trip for a weekend is challenging. Many parents and other family members, in and out of state, do attend (not the alums, who come out in force for Homecoming, which is usually about a month after Family Weekend).</p>

<p>I think that Family Weekend is most important for freshmen, since it's usually the first time they've reunited with family members since orientation. Then again, Fall Break is just a week or so later. Is your son going home to CA for Fall Break, or will he remain in Williamsburg? For freshman year, it would be nice to see your son once before Thanksgiving. It's great if you have the time and funds to fly to VA on October 1st, then have your son home for Fall Break over Columbus Day weekend. But that's a lot of air travel in just two weeks. If you have to choose, you could ask your son which he'd rather do - have you visit him, or return home himself.</p>

<p>Our third child is now a rising junior at W & M. We've been to Parents Weekend freshman and sophomore years for each of our girls (one of whom didn't attend W & M). They enjoyed it, we enjoyed it, we didn't feel we were hovering, and we saw a ton of other parents and other family members each time. You don't have to do the school-sanctioned activities unless you want to - we spent most of our time taking our kids to Target, the outlets, Ukrops or Trader Joe's, and out to eat. ;)</p>

<p>Our kids always invited friends whose parents couldn't make it to come out with us for meals or other activities. We loved the chance to meet their friends, which we'd probably never have had otherwise. If you can't make Family Weekend the first year, you might enjoy experiencing it once while your son is at W & M. We love the campus and always enjoy the chance to walk through it, take photos, and wish we'd gone there for college!</p>

<p>We will be flying in from Missouri. Already have booked a hotel room.</p>

<p>We are going from NJ! S will be a freshman this fall.</p>

<p>I would say there are a substantial number of parents... I mean, it is definitely noticeable. At the same time, it is definitely not anywhere near all the parents. Many parents will invite the roommate or a couple friends out with them if their parents aren't there. It is definitely not for alums.</p>

<p>I would say there is a good chance the football game will sell out (it's also on regional TV, same channel that shows the Washington Capitals and Wizards games), so if you want to go to that, I would look into it early. Your kid should be able to get in free with his ID.</p>

<p>San Diego is a long way to go... I echo frazzled about fall break. Is he going home for fall break? If he's not, you could fly to W&M then instead... you could have an extra day and campus would be less crowded.</p>

<p>An alternative you can consider is coming out to VA for Fall Break. While many students leave campus for the four-day weekend in October the dorms remain open so your student will have housing and it's a slightly longer visit so a bit more bang for your buck in terms of travel.</p>

<p>Family Weekend is certainly more festive and has lots of activities for parents but if you can't make it, this is another consideration.</p>

<p>I’m an alum and also the proud parent of both a recent graduate and an incoming freshman. Parents’ weekend is wonderful--especially when your student is a freshman because they are thrilled to see you and show off their school, introduce you to their new friends, take you around (they know the campus and surrounding area now!), get to the stores to stock up on what they didn’t know they’d need, and definitely to eat out. It’s a great weekend, but crowded; parents definitely do turn out in force. It’s really a great time to come because your student won’t be missing out on other campus activities to be with you. Also, it’s early enough in the semester that there won’t be major stress over due dates for course work. I went every year (in-state, though), but I’d say freshman year is the most important. You definitely won’t be disappointed if you go. In fact, I still remember my own parents coming for parents’ weekend years ago when I was the student.
My daughter’s freshman year we paid the money to register and ended up doing very few of the school-sponsored activities because there is so little time to get everything else done. After that year I never registered, I just went to spend the weekend with my daughter. We were busy at Target, the grocery store, the outlets, Wal-Mart, restaurants, etc. My daughter introduced us to Sno-to-Go, which it seems I remember was closing for the season after that weekend. There will be as much to do as you have time for. I'd probably go ahead and register the first year and get the schedule and the passes so you have the option of doing the school-sponsored activities if you want to. Coming from so far away, maybe you can come in a day early and leave a day late, even though your student will be in classes. My daughter definitely had friends whose parents did that, and those friends were still getting to go out to eat while my daughter was back at the caf. As an aside, make dinner reservations as soon as you can or you’ll have a tough time, and that goes for move-in day as well.</p>

<p>It's worth going once, especially if you do it Freshman year. There are some fun activities and the football game is usually packed. You get to see your student is doing alright and can meet some of his/her friends and go out for a nice meal.</p>

<p>After that, it can get repetitive. You can probably find longer and less busy times to visit. Fall break is good advice. Most students have other plans for spring break.</p>

<p>We'll be coming down from CT. I recall really loving it when my parents came for Parents Weekend when I was in college. If it was a true hardship, we probably wouldn't go, but since it's not that awful a drive, we'll be there (we've already made our hotel reservations.)</p>

<p>I really appreciate everyone weighing in on this--after the first reply, I went online and am booked to come on the 30th and leave on the 4th, so I'll definitely be there....you've all given me a much better picture of what to expect/make early reservations for. What a relief! Now I can look forward to it. And it would be fun to see some of you there. If you meet someone who starts talking about the family cat named Spork, you've found me....:)</p>

<p>In my opinion homecoming is the way to go. There are a ton of activities and there is always a great football game. Get your tickets early though, because our team is ranked #1 in the preseason poll.</p>