University campuses are places where lifelong friendships are made, where career paths are forged and where countless young Canadians come of age. It’s no wonder then that parents with fond memories of their collegiate years would want the same things for their kids. The continuation of a family tradition can be a source of pride, not just for the parents of kids at school, but for the students themselves. If watching a child graduate from university is one of a parent’s proudest days, seeing that child deliver the valedictory address at your alma mater surely increases that pride by orders of magnitude.
It’s no secret that universities rely on their alumni for financial support, from maintaining scholarship funds to improving campus infrastructure. In addition to your annual donation to your alma mater, sending your kids (and your tuition dollars) there can be another way for you to give back, and will keep you even more closely connected to what’s happening on campus. Not only will the money you spend on your children’s education help to keep your university in good stead, it will also create another alumnus in your family to keep keep up that philanthropic tradition in the future.
The move to university can be a stressful one for first-year students. Not only is it the first time living away from home for many, the combination of academic expectations, social pressures and lack of support systems can make the first year of university even more of a challenge. Having a parent who has been there—figuratively and literally—can help a student feel more confident, and lessen the shock of the transition to campus life. While most university-aged children probably want to keep their parents as far away from campus as possible, having a parent who is familiar with where things are on campus on move-in day, or who can share stories about university traditions, could make a student feel more at home. It could also provide an important source of bonding in a time when both parents and kids need it the most.
With university tuitions on the rise, having an alum in the family can be a benefit in more ways than one, with many universities offering scholarships and bursaries to benefit the family of alumni.
Jeremy Freed is a freelance writer and editor based in Toronto. His writing about fashion, travel, food and design appears in Sharp, Harry and re:Porter magazines, among many others.