The Baylor University experience is personal. From professors who know their students by name to generations of families whose blood runs green and gold, students naturally develop close relationships with their school during their time on campus.
That personal touch extends to parents. One of the earliest opportunities to connect in the life of a Baylor parent is through send-off parties. But that send-off party participation doesn't have to stop with the freshman year. In fact, the experience can be better for all involved when parents make a return trip in the summers after their student's freshman year.
"The send-off party is the start of a great Baylor relationship, but that's not only true for incoming students and families," Sharon Ramsey, co-president (with her husband, Charles) of the West Houston Chapter of the Baylor Parents League, said.
The relationships built at send-off parties are not just between incoming students. They are also between parents. As incoming parents begin the process of navigating their student's college years, parents who have already experienced life with a student at Baylor can play in integral role in providing friendship and guidance to those experiencing it for the first time.
"Meeting parents who are already a part of Baylor gives new parents the chance to meet someone who has been through it, who is seasoned a bit," Ramsey said. "It gives them someone to call with questions and enhances their Baylor experience."
"Veteran" Baylor parents have wisdom to impart. Most parents have questions about classes, internships or work opportunities, registration, payments, student life, activities or any other of the myriad aspects of college life. The more they can rely on other parents, particularly those who have experienced it before, the less stress they experience themselves.
Veteran Baylor parents who come back to send-off parties find their Baylor experience enriched as well.
"It's so exciting seeing the relationships that are built in our parties, and that can extend as parents become more involved in other activities or stay in touch after the party," Ramsey said. "You meet other parents and have that common bond of a Baylor student. The friendships give you someone to lean on as you deal with the challenges and joys of parenting a college student.
"We've even had neighbors meet each other for the first time and become friends through meetings at send-off parties," she said.
If you receive a send-off party invitation in the mail, don't discount your important role. Your presence is an active contribution to the Baylor community, and the relationships you build can enhance your Baylor experience and build friendships that extend long after your student's time at Baylor is successfully completed.