office of the first-year experience

Family Information

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Congratulations! As a family member of a newly admitted Lehigh student, you have undoubtedly been instrumental in their educational pursuits. Their academic excellence plus your support has proven to be a winning combination!

Our office recognizes your important role in your student’s transition process. We are excited to have a healthy level of involvement from you and other family members as we seek to provide support for the student’s academic, professional and personal development processes.

This web site is intended to provide you with the resources to help you and your student successfully navigate their transition from high school to college. We offer tips for parents, answer the most frequently asked questions, and provide you with a recommended reading list. In addition, we welcome you to the Bethlehem community with information about hotels and local restaurants.

We look forward to meeting you during the Family Orientation Program on Thursday, August 22, 2013. You will have a chance to network among other parents and families as well as meet various University staff, hear an address from the President of the University and attend a reception to help you become integrated into the Lehigh family.

Again we say congratulations and welcome!

Our Philosophy: Parents as Partners

We believe students are primarily responsible for their educational experience. We also acknowledge the integral role you, as parents and families, play in the success of your students. The stronger the partnership between families and the University community, the more we are able to help our students achieve their educational and personal goals. As educators, our role is to assist students in their journey to self reliance and independence while understanding and supporting your needs to be informed of their progress.

Family Orientation Schedule

Looking for a place to stay when you arrive for Orientation? Check out the Regional Guide with information on lodging, transportation and more!

*Subject to change. You will receive a complete schedule when you check-in on Thursday, August 22, 2013.

Thursday, August 22
8:30am - 1:00pm Check-In at Iacocca Hall
Residence Hall Check-In
9:00am - 2:00pm I Forgot Shop
LTS Media Fair
9:00am - 4:00pm University Offices are open
11:00am - 1:00pm
Hillel Open House
11:30am - 1:00pm Welcome Lunch& Resource Fair
1:15pm - 1:45pm University Welcome to Parents and Families
1:55pm - 2:40pm Break Out Sessions
2:50pm - 3:35pm
Break Out Sessions
3:45pm - 4:30pm Break Out Sessions
4:40pm - 5:30pm President's Address to Parents and Families
5:30pm - 6:00pm
Farewell to Families

*If your student signed up for a Prelusion program, we will offer a version of our Family Orientation Program on Monday, August 19. More information will be included in your student's Prelusion confirmation letter.

Helpful Links

Current Issue

Hotel Information

Need to check dates? Take a look at the Academic Calendar.

Be sure to come and visit us for Family Weekend.

Suggested Reading

Mom's College Planning Guide: All the Tips You Need to Know to Launch Your Child Off to College by Elaine M. Smoot

Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn, Madge Lawrence Treeger

In Addition to Tuition: The Parents' Survival Guide to Freshman Year of College by Marian Edelman Borden, Mary Anne Burlinson, Elsie R. Kearns

When Your Kid Goes to College: A Parent's Survival Guide by Carol Barkin

Pack Up Your Pupil: A Guide to Help Parents Move Their College Bound Children from Home to Campus by Judith Kunkel

Conversations to Have With Your Student

Common issues tend to surface during the transition from high school to college and we will address them with students throughout evoLUtion. In the meantime, we have listed a few topics for you to consider and perhaps discuss with your student prior to the first semester.

Time Management: Poor time management is a major contributor to academic difficulty and student stress. Prioritizing goals and establishing a balanced schedule early in the semester will make the year go more smoothly! Students can receive help managing their time at the Center for Academic Success of the OFYE.

Alcohol: As you likely know, if your child is under 21 it is illegal to drink in the state of Pennsylvania. College is a time that they will make their own decisions and live with the consequences of those decisions. The AlcoholEdu course is one tool that will help them make well-informed decisions about alcohol and drinking behaviors. Having a conversation with your student will also be useful:

Communication: You will want to talk with your student. The question you need to discuss with your student is when you are going to talk to them. Chances are, their daily schedule is going to look a lot different than it did when they were living at home. Plan in advance when good times will be to talk.

Grades: This might seem like common sense, but it is really important to talk with your student about your expectations of their academic performance – especially if you are paying the bills. Lehigh does NOT send home grades to parents without the student's permission because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (we will explain FERPA during Parent/Family Orientation) so your student is responsible for discussing his/her grades with you.

Money: This is a big one for students…who is supplying the money? For some students, once they head to college they are cut off from the family financial tree while others are still well connected to that pocketbook. Where does your stuent fall? Is it better to make them aware of this now or when they need some cash?

Relationships & Roommates: There is a new mix of people for your student to meet once they arrive on campus; it can be difficult for some to immediately make new friends and feel a sense of belonging. Again, encouragement to seek out new opportunities will go a long way as your student becomes a part of the Lehigh community.

A new roommate also provides challenges for some students. For many, this is the first time that they have had to share a space! Communication between your student and his or her roommate is going to be critical. Make sure your student thinks about the expectations that he or she has about living with someone else and vice versa, e.g. keeping the room clean, sharing personal belongings, etc. Students will have an opporunity to discuss room expectations when they complete their roommate agreement, which encourages students to share their thoughts on sharing a space.

Visiting Home: Yes, at some point your student will come home. Help prepare for his/her first trip home by having these discussions:

Homesickness: When students start college they are in a completely new environment and it can be overwhelming at times. It is natural that students will miss home because that is the place that is comfortable and familiar. Your immediate inclination may be to bring your student home every weekend, but that does not always work because he or she is not on campus connecting with peers and establishing relationships. Encourage your student to pursue his or her interests and get involved on campus, get to know other students, and build new relationships. Avoid asking if your student is homesick, the power of suggestion can be a dangerous thing!