Family Orientation

The Family Orientation program runs concurrent with your first-year student’s Student Orientation program. Your assigned session and date is indicated in the student orientation confirmation letter. Check-in for the student program takes place at the Rensselaer Union from 9:00 to 9:40 a.m. on the first day.  Check-in for the parent program takes place at EMPAC from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. on the first day.  It is highly recommended that you do not arrive at the check-in locations early as our staff will not be prepared to assist your family.

Family program registration

If your names are not listed on your student’s confirmation letter, we do not have your registration information. Please call (518) 276-8632 to register. Although all family members are welcome, we ask that you please consider carefully your choice to bring very young siblings as a separate sibling program is not offered.

Your student

The Family Orientation program is separate from the student program. All students will be housed in designated residence halls and are expected to complete the full day-and-a-half program. Because the student experience consists of highly structured programs and workshops, including evening activities, there will not be an opportunity for you to get together until the program has ended. Please identify a location (usually the Closing Session works well) to meet your student on the second day after the program has ended – this will be around noon.

Family dining

Family members interested in dining on-campus during the program may purchase a meal package at check-in for a fee. The lower-level of the Rensselaer Union will also be available on a cash basis. A coffee and dessert reception is included in the Family Orientation program.

Restricted mobility

If you have an impairment which restricts your mobility (a need for a wheelchair, for example), we ask that you contact the Student Orientation office at (518) 276-8632 in advance of your visit to make necessary arrangements. We would like to assist you in making your visit as pleasant as possible.

Sample parent orientation schedule

Below is an example schedule for SO. Your schedule may be slightly different, but this will give you an idea of what to expect. We look forward to meeting you this summer!

Day 1

SO Check-In/Coffee Hour (9:00 to 9:30 a.m.)
You will receive your orientation packet and can purchase meal passes during this time.

Escorted to First Presentation

Welcome to Rensselaer!
It’s our pleasure to welcome you and your enrolled students to campus!

Life on Campus

Health and Counseling Services


Student Records & Registration
A discussion of student records, registration and an overview of billing and financial services.

Academic Overview
Academic advising processes, deadlines and support services available to students will be shared.

Departmental Advising
An opportunity to meet with an academic adviser from your student’s curriculum and learn about academics at Rensselaer.

Walking tours will be available.

Meet members of the Rensselaer community and fellow families while enjoying dinner.

Family Social
Join other parents and family members and Rensselaer staff for refreshments. This is an excellent opportunity to get your questions answered and connect with other families.  You have more in common that you might imagine!

Day 2


What to Expect in the First Year
This session explores the emotions you are likely to encounter during your student’s first year. We will offer practical suggestions for coping with changing family dynamics and establishing revised expectations and boundaries with your student.

Resource Center
Faculty and staff will be available from the five schools as well as many student service departments to provide information and answer your questions.

Closing Remarks
Re-connect with your student and learn what makes the incoming class exceptional and unique.