Student Life

Attending Family Weekend? What You Need to Know

Family weekend is a special time on the college campus – a time for college students to share their new experiences while getting a taste of home. For parents, it’s a time to catch up with their college student(s) and enjoy the joys of campus life.

Family weekend is also a time for fun and special events, from the big football game to special meals and barbecues. Colleges plan for this big event all year long and parents need to do some careful planning of their own to take advantage of it.

Use Move-in Day to Plan Ahead

Do not be in such a hurry to leave town after moving your son or daughter into the dorm room or apartment. Move-in weekend is the perfect time to explore the town and get the lay of the land for family weekend. Pay careful attention to where the campus is located in relation to the rest of the town. Look for lodging within a comfortable commuting distance of the college campus, get contact information, and begin making reservations as soon as possible – rooms fill up fast during the event.

Sign Up with the College

Be sure to check the college website often for information about family weekend and related festivities. You will need to register for the event, either through the mail, or online through the school website. Check the website for information about the registration fee and how to pay it. Make sure you understand when the registration deadline is, and submit your registration and payment well in advance.

Get the Schedule

Many universities and colleges go all out for family weekend, scheduling non-stop activities for students and family members alike. Make sure you get a full schedule of activities so you and your family can plan out the day. Some campuses create special activities for younger kids – be sure to leave some time for those if you’ll be bringing the younger siblings. Many colleges plan their family weekends around a big football game, so make sure you also leave time in your schedule to attend the festivities.


Be sure to get a full meal schedule for family weekend. You may want to take your son or daughter out to a formal dinner, but you do not want that meal to conflict with what the college has already planned.

What to Bring

Pack comfortable clothes and walking shoes for your trip to the college campus. Chances are you will be doing a lot of walking as you visit your student’s classrooms, attend the big football game, and eat meals in the campus cafeteria.

You may also want to bring a care package for your student and his or her friends. Home-baked goodies and other treats from home are always appreciated. You can also bring notes and well wishes from family members who can’t attend.

Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter for additional tips and advice to help your college student succeed. You can also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our College Parents’ Facebook group.

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