Friday, July 13, 2012

Parent Orientation's Top Five Questions and Answers



In attending Parent Orientation throughout the summer, I've come to expect many questions from the families of incoming students. Some of the more curious parents may ask me about my course of study, what I did while I was an undergrad and the like, so they can get an insight as to what Hofstra is all about; but the vast majority of parents and family members just want to be reassured that their student is in a situation where they can succeed, and their questions reflect that. Listed below are a few of the more frequent questions:

1) What is the food like? 

Outside of the major presentations, this seems to be the most prevalent question of the day--especially during lunch when you all get the opportunity to try the fare and talk to the Parent Orientation (PO) staff--and it stands to reason: when you send your kid away you want to make sure he or she is getting proper nutrition away from home. Now, while I must admit that nothing beats a home-cooked meal, the food at Hofstra isn't bad.

The real plus about being on campus for a meal is that there's a nice variety: if your student is feeling like a bowl of soup, Au Bon Pain is right off of California Avenue; if they're in the mood for a custom salad or burger, Bits and Bytes lets you create your own; if they're heading to or from class by way of the Student Center, there's plenty to choose from in the cafe; and if they don't want to stray too far from the dorm, they can traipse on down to Hofstra USA on the residential side of campus. And, in the event that your student wants a break from campus food, there are plenty of great restaurants around town--from take-out to Italian. So, while the food here may not compare to Mom's or Dad's, there are plenty of appetizing choices both on and off campus.

2) What are the residence halls like?

This obviously depends on where your student is situated, but the rooms in the high rises are more-or-less the same: most rooms are shared between two students and are equipped with the essentials (two beds--size: twin, extra-long; two wardrobes; etc.). Make sure your student puts in the order for a "micro-fridge" though--only one unit is allowed per room, and you can order them through the University Logistic's website, mymicrofridge.com, or through the toll-free number, 1-800-525-7307, both of which can be found in our Parent Orientation handout.  Now, that said, most first-year students will find themselves within the suites of the Netherlands and Stuyvesant, which have two double rooms, a private bathroom and a lounge. They have a little more room and allow your students to interact with a couple more people while in their living space--always a plus in a new environment.

3) What is there to do around campus?

Plenty: from the over 200 student clubs and organizations to playing Frisbee on the quad, to studying before a panorama of the entire Island on the tenth floor of the library, there's always something to do at Hofstra. We also have 17 NCAA Division I sports teams with games year round and club teams should your student want to get involved on the field. More information regarding student clubs can be found here.


4) What are the classes/professors like?

Though my experience comes mainly from the English Department and Honors College, I've taken a wide variety of classes on campus and have come to understand that Hofstra faculty is as diverse as its student body.  Just know that though there will always be differences of opinion, and some professors are more lenient than others when it comes to things like attendance or punctuality, the faculty is there to support your student and ensure their success.  College classes are tough--they insist upon greater responsibility and require greater attention than high school ever did--and your student may struggle out of the gate, but so long as they pay attention and meet with their professors from time to time, all will be well.

5) What kind of transportation is available on campus?

The Blue Beetle is an on campus bus that shuttles students to both nearby LIRR train stations (Hempstead and Mineola), as well as shopping centers around town.  Frequent stops are made by Roosevelt Field shopping mall, Target and Stop 'N Shop, not to mention the Raceway Movie Theater whenever your student wants to head out and catch a flick.

Make sure to visit the Hofstra website to view the blue beetle timetable.

So, I hope that helps assuage some of your worries--though I know it might not even begin to scratch the surface. For those of you with burning questions who have yet to attend a Parent Orientation event, we can certainly help you throughout the program; and for those of you who have attended Parent Orientation but still have questions, give us a call at (516) 463-4698, send us an email at parents@hofstra.edu or even stop by our office located on campus at 200 Phillips Hall. We're always willing to lend a hand.

- Nolan Meditz, Graduate Assistant at the Office of Parent and Family Programs

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