Parent Perspective - Jill Scheuer
Whether this is your first time sending a child to college, or your fifth, the process is challenging, exciting and more than a bit frightening. I am not a “helicopter parent” but I believe it’s natural to wonder and worry about your child as she begins her college career. Whether your daughter chooses Barnard or another school, the next four years of her life will be marked by tremendous intellectual and emotional growth, and, in all probability, a few setbacks. Some students are in constant touch with their parents by email, text and phone, while others want more distance. I urge you to take your cues from your child – she will let you know whether and when she needs you.
Of course I hope your daughter adores Barnard, and will decide to attend. From a parent’s perspective, Barnard is ideal. There is NO other school where your child will have all the advantages of a large university in a world-class city, and at the same time be viewed as an individual, worthy of respect and attention. Barnard students know their advisors, their deans and their professors. Since most students live on campus, the life of the college is 24/7. Although it’s virtually impossible to “get lost” at Barnard, Barnard isn’t a “bubble” like many other small liberal arts colleges. Its students may be nurtured, but aren’t coddled. You’ll find that every student experiences Barnard in her own way. There are students whose classes and activities are mainly Barnard-based, there are students for whom the campus is all of Morningside Heights and who move effortlessly between Barnard and Columbia for academics and extracurriculars, and there are students who embrace the whole city, and are as comfortable at MOMA or on the subway as they are in their dorms. Barnard is for all of these young women. It is a safe place from which to take the kind of risks students must take in order to become independent adults.
Another thing – Barnard cares about you, the parents. When your daughter enters Barnard, you become a valued member of the Barnard community. The college will remain in touch with you, from orientation to graduation, and keep you updated on important and interesting developments on campus you may not hear about from your daughter. My oldest daughter is about to graduate, and I will sorely miss being a Barnard parent. But before that happens, I would love to tell you more about Barnard, and answer any questions you may have.