Don’t Forget About Spring & Summer Enrollees & their Families

The spring semester brings about new beginnings for students and their families. In the previous semester, incoming students may feel more acclimated to their surroundings, have a better sense of support resources and services, and may have met lots of new diverse people both in class and through on-campus social events. It’s important that we ensure that all students and their families feel that same sense of belonging and acclimation in every enrollment period each year.

Spring family programming can be customized to bring about a renewed sense of purpose for current parents and families, while serving as programmatic repetition for incoming parents and families. It’s important that parent and family practitioners consider families that may be enrolling into your institution outside of the traditional enrollment period, in the fall semester.  Spring enrollee onboarding experiences should be just as intentionally unique as families launching their students in the fall. There are many institutions across the country that have mastered the art of on-going onboarding families into their campus communities throughout the year. However, if you’re just getting started or if you’re looking for new ways to incorporate spring and summer programming for incoming families, look no further!

Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Think of ways that you can duplicate fall Welcome Week activities in the spring semester.

  • What messages can you share or provide that helps welcome a new class of families launching their students in both the spring and summer semesters? 

  • We set up drip campaigns for designated periods throughout the year through our email service provider. This function is used to welcome any new member into our Association, and will be used to onboard/welcome new and incoming families every semester. 

  • What are established spring or summer events/programs that you can lobby to collaborate with on behalf of families (i.e. if the College of Business hosts a Hot Chocolate Bar Social annually, could you collaborate to offer a Hot Cocoa Bar to families of College of Business Students, etc.)? 

At the University of Texas Arlington, we host a smaller-scale Welcome Week of activities for students and their families. Our office, UTA Parent & Family Services, ensures that we host both an in-person welcome in collaboration with “Friends of the Family”, as well as a virtual event that helps families connect to our office and other families that have students beginning in the spring/summer semesters.

Over the years, we have co-hosted Welcome Events with our friends in the Cultural Engagement & Social Change Office that includes Black Maverick Welcomes as well as the newly installed Latinx Welcome. Students and their families are invited to this event in the fall and spring semester. The Black and Latinx Welcome events serve as a platform for the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities to see one another, learn more about specific resources and services that target their needs and network with BIPOC faculty and staff.

Another great event that our office co-hosts in the fall and spring semester are Virtual Family Business Meetings in partnership with our friends of the family in the Apartment and Residence Life Department. During the Virtual Family Business Meeting, families are acclimated to the rules and norms of apartment and residence life living. They are also introduced to the residential staff and directors for each hall, and our office is provided time to ensure that they know about the on-going support services offered through our office, UTA Parent & Family Services. This has served as a great partnership over the years and has proven to be an even easier event to host and duplicate in both the fall and spring semester.
All families are important to us, but as practitioners it is our responsibility to ensure that our programming practices are equitably administered throughout the year for various populations and enrollment periods.

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