Student Experience Information for Families

Parent and student hugging

Become a part of our online community of parents and family members by joining our Families@Oneonta portal. Families of incoming students will receive an email with a link to join. We will post links to interesting articles and keep you updated about campus happenings. More details for all things families can be found on the main Families page.

Parents and guardians always seem to ask, "What is my role now?", which is understandable, as you have been involved with your students for 18 +/- years. Your roles evolve once your child heads to college.

What's Next

College can bring big changes to your relationship with your child, this young adult. Students experience the changes that college brings at different times and to differing extents. Some students seek to become more independent, autonomous and competent almost as soon as they set foot on campus; others take a bit longer. Some students may change their major to something completely different than where they started. They will meet other students, faculty, and staff from all walks of life with a wide variety of life experiences. They will grow and develop during their time at college.

This is a natural part of life--the development from adolescence to adulthood--and it can be challenging to both the student and to their parents. A parent of a SUNY Oneonta student referred to letting them free to fly, and this is a good analogy that speaks to many parents' experiences. We want them to find their own path, to soar, but also to know that home is a touchstone. As parents, we can offer words of advice or encouragement, or give a push if needed. Each parent must find his or her own balance and negotiate these new paths to adulthood with their children. What works for one might not work for another.

The Office of Student Experience not only provides assistance to new students but also to their families and can serve as a resource for both groups. Our mission is to provide information in order to give you the tools you need to be a support network for your student. Please give us a call if you have questions.

Book recommendations

There are many books out there that speak to how to deal with this type of transition. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • "Don't Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money" by Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller
  • "The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting from Senior Year to College Life" by Laura Kastner, Ph.D. and Jeniifer Wyatt, Ph.D.
  • "You're on Your Own (but I'm here if you need me)" by Marjorie Savage
  • "Empty Nest... Full Heart" by Andrea Van Steenhouse, Ph.D.


Our Families@Oneonta Portal is a one stop shop for you! We encourage families of current students to visit the portal frequently to stay up to date on campus happenings. Some exciting features include:

  • Communities: join communities that relate to you and your student's experience. For example, you can join a community for First Year Families, Families of AOP, Financial Aid and Scholarships, plus many many more! Each community has specific articles and posts to keep you in the know.
  • Newsletter: you decide how many times you will receive a newsletter emailed directly to your inbox! You can choose weekly, biweekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletters. Each newsletter is curated by pulling together important articles from the communities you've joined.
  • Announcement: sometimes we have important and timely deadlines, dates, events, and programs to tell you about. An announcement will come directly to your inbox from the admin of our portal.
  • Email us! Questions about the Families@Oneonta Portal? Email us at

Families of new students will receive an invitation to join the portal in late August.

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