The Queenager is going to a college in Washington DC, and the whole process was a far cry from anything I've seen. Unlike her English cousin who is still doing his A levels, she has had the luxury of knowing where she was going before school even ended. None of this worrying till results come out in the middle of August. Last week she went on a three day orientation with the Ball & Chain. Three day orientation? I know I didn't have one of those back in the day, and I'm wondering if British soon-to-be-undergrads have those now? There were scheduled activities and talks for both parents and students, and they came back with a bag full of swag bearing the college's insignia. They taught the kids the "fight songs" which are to be sung at sports games and the like. I'm pretty sure Bristol Uni doesn't have a fight song, even though they've often done well in sports.
She starts on August 29th, so we're all going up in the previous week to help her settle in (ie. buy the stuff she needs). Again, none of that putting-her-on-a-train malarkey. We can however, buy it all at our local shop and have the entire order shipped to her dorm. Once she has selected her courses, (oh yes, there's so much choice in what she takes that she had to go over a mock schedule with her advisor last week) she can oder her books on line, then they'll be boxed up and ready for collection when she arrives. Her computer will be ready and waiting, and any repairs needed are done by the on-site Mac shop at no cost. (OK, since laptops didn't even exist when I was at uni, I can't really make a comparison there.)
There's been a freshmen Facebook page up for a few months so she's "met" several kids already. Her dorm (hall of residence) and room mate have been allocated and the girls have been chatting away on FB too. When I went to Bristol I knew no one and had but a handful of people to look up. Any questions she has about what to take, what it will be like etc. are answered almost immediately by current students. Not that going to uni was traumatic for me, but how great that they have this much back up when they need it.
Oh yes, and then there's Parents' Weekend in October, which doesn't sound too optional to me, as everyone I know is going to their kids' version. In reality this is to keep the parents as connected as possible to the college; in other words, yet another opportunity to hit them up for a donation to its coffers. (Something I foresee happening more and more as British fees increase.)
The weirdest difference between American and British college campuses? No student union bars!
I didn't go to college, and the two of my sons who did went while I was living in Britain, so I am eminently unqualified to comment on this subject. Toni, however, seems to have had enough experience for both of us.
13 hours ago