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UI provides more resources for freshman parents

BY BRITTANY TILL | AUGUST 19, 2011 7:20 AM

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Moving from California to the University of Iowa will be a big adjustment for Stephanie Cordoba's daughter, who is a part of the incoming freshman class.

While Cordoba said she hopes for the best, the experience will be her daughter's first time away from home.

The transition to college is not only an adjustment for the student but for their parents as well.
Sarah Hansen, the UI Student Life director of assessment and strategic initiatives, said fielding questions from concerned parents is a large part of ensuring a smooth transition for students. To better inform parents, she said, the UI has provided more resources.

"We have done specific communication sessions to tell parents how to support their children and a special edition of 'Parent Times' this summer, which went to all the parents of incoming students," she said. The paper included tips for parents from how to respond to a sick child to setting up a bank account.

A coffee meet-and-greet for parents, a part of the OnIowa program, also helped answer parents questions, said Heather Ockenfels, a student-support program coordinator.

"We served coffee and pastries and allowed parents the opportunity to ask any last-minute questions, take a quick break, and relax," she said. "The staff directed parents to the campus resources, shared tips on how to navigate the University of Iowa, and assured them that their students were in good hands."

Ockenfels said roughly 200 parents were in attendance on Wednesday and Thursday in the IMU.

The new initiatives were well-received by parents, Hansen said.

"Overall, I've had a lot of parents say they'd wished they'd had something like this when their other child was in college," she said.

Steve Duncan of Des Moines said moving his youngest daughter, Ashley Duncan, to the UI was a lot easier compared with moving his other child to Iowa State University.

"Compared to [Iowa State University], the move-in was glorious," Steve Duncan said. "Easy, smeezy, and smooth."

His only concern, which was shared by other parents, was for his daughter's safety.

Gail Bojchuk of Bloomingdale, Ill., said safety and security are the only things she can think of as concerns, because otherwise she feels comfortable and happy with her only daughter's decision to be a UI student.

Money was also a top priority for parents.

"The whole move-in process has been well orchestrated and smooth, because the university has too much money," said Steve MacFarlane of Sioux City, referring to the increased tuition and altered program.

DI reporter Asmaa Elkeurti contributed to this report.


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