Parenting Through the Process

Neil Castronovo

Thursday, December 5, 2013
NEIL CASTRONOVO, Dean of Student Development and Counseling

As the director of Assumption’s counseling center and the parent of two daughters (who have completed their college careers), the following tips were very helpful as we guided our daughters through the college selection process.

  • Enjoy – This is a wonderful opportunity to spend some quality time with your child as you travel from college to college in your journey to a very important decision that will have a tremendous influence on his/her future.  Just as important as the first step, word or first day of Kindergarten, both of you will start a new journey.
  • Stay Grounded – Regularly take a deep breath, stay positive and maintain your sense of humor. The ride may be bumpy at times, but it does lead to a rewarding destination.
  • Be Flexible – Your approach to the college search should fit your child’s unique planning style. One size does not fit all. Some students are quite organized and self-directed and require minimal parent support and affirmation. Others require more parental intervention and direction in the college search process.
  • Dive Deeper – Once all applications are submitted, encourage your child to inquire about the colleges’ Orientation programs, first-year programs (to promote successful transition to college life), and the structures to prepare students for the work world and/or graduate school. These are some of the elements that will help define the best match.

Orientation Programs
Assumption College offers two Orientation programs to ensure student success – a June Orientation program engages both students and parents; an August Orientation program is just for students. The August Orientation provides a more in-depth introduction to academic, cocurricular and student life as well as the depth of student support services offered on campus. These comprehensive programs allow students to become quickly and comfortably immersed into the college community and also introduces them to the social and cultural opportunities available throughout the city of Worcester.

First-year Programs
Career and Lifelong Learning Program (CALL) – At the very beginning of the college experience, students are  invited to take part in the CALL Program, which helps students to identify interests, set realistic academic, personal and career exploration goals, and begin to build a portfolio. Students will also be assigned both a faculty advisor and an upperclass student who serves as a first-year mentor to facilitate the transition to college.

Tagaste Project – Students in the Tagaste Project select a topic and join a group of 20 first-year students who share that same interest.  They will study two courses linked together by this single topic and will also share a residence hall, participate in social activities and attend interesting events.

Your Input
During Family Weekend in the fall, parents are invited to take part in follow-up discussion groups with faculty and administrators addressing the needs of college students.  This provides an opportunity  to share your insights as well as learn from other parents who are going through the same process.

A student’s college choice is an important one. It has been my personal and professional experience that parents and students who are active collaborators in the college search process find the experience rewarding and the outcome satisfying.

Best wishes in your collaborative search. I hope to have the opportunity to welcome you as part of the Assumption College community at the first Orientation session next June.  If there is anything that I or anyone in the Assumption community can do to assist you with the college search process, please do not hesitate to call or email.


Neil Castronovo, Ph.D.
Dean of Student Development and Counseling     

P.S. Did you know?
92 percent of first-year students and sophomores work with the CALL Program in Career Services to develop a personal action plan for their time at Assumption College.