We Dreamers Have Our Ways...

Thursday, July 14, 2011


If asked what's the first thing I noticed about NGCSU when I came down the hill and into Dahlonega, GA it would be that everything is uphill!  Seriously, I would have to say that the beauty of the campus strikes you immediately as you gaze at the dorms perched high up on the hilltops or the gold steeple that adorns the admissions building.  A close second would be that it's very obviously a military school.  The grounds are maintained to perfection and it just looks like a military installation. 

North Georgia College is one of 6 senior military colleges, not to confused with the academies such as West Point, in the US and to quote the commandant, Col (RET) Palmer: "We don't want to be the largest senior military program in the United States, just the best."  The college is open to civilian students as well as those who come up to be cadets in the Corp.  They offer a wide variety of majors to cover any incoming freshman's career goals but they are known for commissioning officers into the US Army upon their graduation.

While my son was attending his three day intro program, I attended a parent intro session as well.  Ours was only half a day and was run in a military fashion, where each speaker was given an allotted amount of time and was expected to adhere to it.  First up was the financial aid director, someone most of us really wanted to hear from.  As a parent of an incoming cadet from out of state, much of what she covered did not apply to me but I listened intently as she went over her presentation to make certain I didn't miss anything that might be pertinent to my son.  Very few questions were asked at this session.

Following the introductory/financial aid presentation, we were offered several "breakout" sessions from which we were allowed to choose what we felt we needed to learn about the most.  I, of course, opted for the session pertaining to military students and was treated to a very professional, yet animated, 30 minute presentation from the Commandant of the program, Col. Palmer.  He got right down to business and gave us a complete list of do's and don't as well as an overview of what our sons and daughters could expect from their lives as a cadet.  The session moved right along and then we were rushed off to another session presented by one of the professors who explained to us the methods used in the classrooms here.  She was entertaining and likable and I left hoping all of my son's instructors would be just like her.  Another breakout session followed, this time covering student services.  This was followed by a question/answer segment with some actual students.  Out of all the sessions of the day, this seemed to be where most of the parent questions were asked.  If I had to sum most of the questions up, I'd say they were all concerned about what each student on stage found to be the hardest part of adjusting to college life.  Answers ranged from eating too much to lack of time management skills to arriving thinking that academics was the only reason the student was here.  Every student sang their praises for the professors and others who helped them adjust to living on their own.  There were also several cadets there to answer any questions that were unique to the military students. 

Dinner was a quick 45 minutes where we had the chance to see our kids for a few minutes and then we went our separate ways.  Our last parent session was a talk given by the school's new president.  Her speech was uplifting and moving as she assured us that we were not letting go of our children but only leading them into a new chapter and that they would be taken very good care of...something that has been reiterated to me numerous times in all the various offices I've been to these last few days.

Do I think that this parent orientation was helpful?  Most definitely.  I have 2 other children in college but have never been faced with all that preparing my son for NGCSU has entailed so I am very glad I took the time to attend the parent intro.  I will leave Saturday feeling more informed and much better about leaving my "baby" here on August 9th.  I can't say enough about the school itself or any of the staff I've dealt with.  Everyone here has been more than helpful and very understanding about the fact that this is all new for me...and for my son.  If you have the chance to attend such an orientation, I would highly recommend doing so.  Now...here's to a wonderful 4 years (and lots of hiking visits for mom) for my son at North Georgia College and State University!



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