Pre-Orientation Parent & Family Communication Summer 2019

TCU Pre-Orientation Parent & Family Communication- Summer 2019



Get a cup of coffee or a soda and sit down to read the following information. It is a lengthy newsletter, made so because experience has taught us what you want to know prior to attending Orientation.  You will be happy that you did!

What an exciting time it is in the life of your family! Whether your first or your fifth student is going to college, it is the first time for THIS son or daughter! This newsletter is intended to provide you some helpful Pre-Orientation information. I want to talk about the time leading up to, during and after Orientation in hopes that anticipating the next stages and having the strategies to handle them will make the summer pleasant and your student’s transition to TCU particularly smooth.

First of all, you may have asked, “Should I go to Orientation?”  The answer is a resounding, “ABSOLUTELY!” Clearly, due to work schedules, young children at home or finances, it may not be possible for both or even one parent to attend Orientation with your student. If you possibly can, however, please do. Your student will be happy you are here!  (Most students attend Orientation with at least one parent!)

During the comprehensive parent and student orientation program, you will meet other parents, faculty, and staff and will gain a great deal of information that is intended to encourage you to feel an increased confidence in the university your student and you have chosen. The education of your son or daughter is a partnership between the student, the parent/family, and the university. It is our goal that after Orientation you will be confident in TCU and how we see our role, and therefore you will feel comfortable encouraging your student to navigate answers/solutions on his/her own.

I have some suggestions to help Orientation be a better experience for everyone!

1. Bring a sweater or jacket to Orientation! The hotter it is outside, the colder the buildings are inside.

2. Bring an umbrella!!! With the current strange weather in the country, including Fort Worth, plan on the unbelievable: rain in June, July and/or August! 

3. Don’t stress! Stress is contagious! Students get it from their parents. Parents get it from their sons and daughters. We can’t tell students not to stress. It only makes it worse. But don’t you start. Besides there is not a good reason to stress. If you don’t start, maybe your student won’t either!

4. Remember that all students MUST spend the night on campus at Orientation, even if they live in surrounding areas. Part of the Orientation experience is in the residence hall – talking to new friends in a casual environment, sharing a space with a roommate, and feeling comfortable on campus as a member of the TCU community. Parents may stay on or off campus. 

5. Go to sessions. Orientation is not even a 20-hour program and it has a lasting impact over the next four years of your student’s life, and really an influence into “forever.” Twenty hours is not much time to cover some of the information and resources that you don’t know you will want to know in the next four years.

Sometimes, families come to Orientation, planning to spend half of the time with friends or family in the area, saying they didn’t know it was going to be “all day.” It’s all day, and half the night! The first evening ends for families around 7:30 p.m., but much later for students. Plan for day two to end at 5:00 p.m. even though it can end sooner.

To see the Orientation schedule and learn more about the First Year Experience?
Download the Guidebook App on your phone, select “find a guide”,  and search for TCU First Year Experience. Click “download guide” to view the full Orientation schedule and other information.

6. Trust your son/daughter AND the process. Your son/daughter cannot make any permanent mistakes at Orientation. Academic schedules can be changed. Stay with YOUR Orientation program schedule and allow your student to go with his/her schedule. It will be fine. If not, let me know, so that we can make it fine.

7. Nothing about Orientation is worth crying over. If tears start, hug your student till they stop. Remember: Fall semester is 17-weeks of your student’s life! Then let us know how we can be helpful.

8. Make new friends. New friends are not just for students! There will be parents at Orientation from all over the US and the world. You can exchange names, phone numbers, and email. When in doubt about something, call your new friend. If you really pick well, you might meet your new best friend for life!

9. Don’t feel like you have to read to prepare yourself or your student for orientation. That being said, there is a significant amount of information on the website,, click on Orientation and read all the information. There are trained professional staff and faculty advisors who will help your student decide what classes to take fall semester. He/she should not and does not need to take your handwritten notes to his/her academic advisor. If you and/or your student would like to read the University undergraduate catalog prior to Orientation, it is located at If your student would like a printed copy, there is a downloadable version on the website. Your son/daughter may bring the printed copy to Orientation if he/she desires.

Also, at the Center for Academic Services website, in the section titled Academic Orientation, there are answers to many questions your student may have about language and/or mathematics testing, CLEP, AP, etc.  At this same website, you may be interested in the link to Disabilities Services if your student will be needing accommodations while at TCU.

I have included a brief article about advising and enrollment at Orientation. It should answer most of the concerns your student may have.

10. FROG CAMP! YES! If your student is not registered for Frog Camp, make sure he/she gets registered. (Bribe if you have to do it!!!!) Frog Camp is offered in 13 different camps and 9 themes. There is one to please everybody! Frog Camp will allow new students to get to know each other, returning students, TCU faculty and staff. All Texas camps are FREE! Over 80% of our entering class attends Frog Camp every year. It’s what Horned Frogs do!

11. As the summer progresses, if you want to know what other students are doing or what experienced parents think about a subject, you will want to like the TCU Parent & Family Programs and join the TCU Parents Association Facebook pages! On the later, ask your questions and get answers from other parents. (Also, to be accepted into this closed group, please answer the 3 required questions.  Thank you!)

12. Tuition Refund Plan. TCU wants to be certain that you have an opportunity to protect your financial commitment in case of illness or accident. In an effort to minimize any potential financial loss, TCU has arranged with A.W.G. Dewar, Inc. to provide an insurance program that will reimburse the student if medical problems (physical or mental) require withdrawal from school before a semester ends. This Insurance plan provides coverage for tuition charges.

The Tuition Refund Plan (Plan) is a private insurance plan administered by A.W.G. Dewar that complements and enhances the University’s published refund policy. Participation in the Tuition Refund Plan represents a contract between the student and A.W.G. Dewar, Inc. Students are assured, in most cases, of an 80% refund of tuition throughout the semester even after the University’s refund schedule has expired.

TCU offers the Tuition Refund Plan as a service to our students and their families. Undergraduate students are automatically enrolled in the Tuition Refund Plan for the fall and spring semesters. The charge for the Plan will be included in the first bill of each fall and spring semester. Students who do not wish to participate in the Tuition Refund Plan can opt out of the Plan by waiving coverage through the online Tuition Refund Plan waiver process. Even though you may choose for your student to waive coverage by opting out of the plan, we urge you to carefully consider the suitability of the Tuition Refund Plan for your family since University refunds due to medical withdrawals are not processed by TCU outside of the University’s standard refund policy.

If you have questions about the Tuition Refund Plan, you may contact A.W.G Dewar, Inc. at (617) 774-1555. This information with be discussed in detail at Orientation.

**My personal opinion is unless your student receives an email from the Financial Aid office, stating it is not necessary for that student to have it (based on scholarship status) he/she should NOT waive the insurance!  For approximately $150/semester, your student’s tuition is protected should he/she have to withdraw from school for medical reasons.  No one ever expects to need it!  But every semester a double-digit number of students do.

13. TCU Health Insurance requirements will be discussed with you and your student at Orientation. However, you may click here for a summary of the information prior to your arrival.

14. Presentation Hand-outs. Hand-outs from most of the parent presentations will be available here. Hopefully, knowing you may print them out in advance of Orientation or when you return home, will keep you from feeling the need to write down every word spoken. It will feel like information overload regardless. If you try to write it all down, you will be unnecessarily stressed. If it is on the screen, it will be posted soon.

Finally, I hope the information in this Pre-Orientation newsletter is helpful.  In early August, you will receive another newsletter like this one. In September, we will resume our regular communication format.  Copies of the previous magazines, newsletters, and blogs are accessible on the parent website,

I eagerly anticipate meeting you. We are all excited to know your student and your family. If you have questions or think of things that should be included in these communications, please let me know. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Go Frogs!




Kay Higgins, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Student Development/
Director of Parent & Family Programs