From the initial college search, to the stress that comes from your certainty that your teen will never, ever finish their college applications, getting your teen past the finish line of making a college decision takes time, effort and more Tylenol than you ever thought possible. It’s also why parents of teens have long supported each other in online forums like private Facebook groups.
Personally, and to be frank, I would never have survived the last few years without the help of my friends and the well-meaning strangers-turned-internet friends in teen parenting groups.
Though I’ve long leaned into the advice doled out in these forums, as my son inched closer to a college decision, I heard rumblings of a next-level set of parenting groups: the Facebook groups organized for parents of students at a specific college. I heard rumors of lengthy threads about dorm décor and meal plans. Friends with teens already in college would secretly confide that the college-specific parent group for their teens’ colleges were overwhelming and, dare I say, scary.
As a veteran of many comment threads discussing teens and their inability to wear coats or whether a teen should take the ACT or SAT, I remained skeptical. How bad could those college parent Facebook groups really be?
Friends, I’m here to tell you I now understand why there should be a “marked safe from the move-in day discussion thread” option on Facebook. Because, holy Hello Kitty, parents of college kids need, and have, a wealth of information they are just dying to share in the months leading up to move-in day.
Despite all the warnings, when my son finally committed to his college, I was excited to connect with other parents. And so, just days after sending our deposit, when his college campus welcomed me into the new parent community on Facebook, I eagerly subscribed and came on board.
Dipping my toes into the comment threads, I learned what a triple dorm room looked like and how to register for family weekend activities. I also noticed distinct personalities emerging in every thread.
Here are seven parents you’ll likely find in every college parenting Facebook group:
7 Parents in Every Facebook Group
The Experienced Mom
This mom is in her eighth year of college parenting. She’s sent three kids to college in three different states. From pandemic dorm procedures to her kid’s first hangover, this mom has seen it all. She’s no nonsense and over everyone’s naiveté, yet stick with her. This woman knows every professor by their first name. She knows things you don’t even know you need to know. Plus, she’s willing to help.
The Power Tool Parent
This is the parent who shares photos of the dorm room fixes they’ve put together with some screws and a DeWalt drill. Need inspiration for a loft bed? This parent built one and can provide exact specifications. Need room dimensions for stackable shelves? This parent has their measuring tape handy, ready to measure twice, cut once.
The Instagram Mom
This mom knows every hack to make a dorm room appear cozy and inviting. She fills Pinterest boards with magazine-worthy images of dorm rooms decorated in hues of soft pink on a shiplap backdrop. She knows how to drape a throw blanket artfully and position decorative pillows for that perfect, Insta-worthy move-in day shot.
The Survivalist Mom
This mom knows where every bank, pharmacy, and grocery store is within a ten-mile radius of campus. She has the subway schedule committed to memory, and she knows how to order a birthday cake from six states away on a moment’s notice. Make friends with this mom immediately. It’s a matter of college parenting survival.
The Lurker Parent
This parent has been a member of the Facebook group for two years. Even though they read every thread, they have never commented or so much as liked a post in the group. They do, however, appreciate parents who post questions so they don’t have to.
The School Spirit Mom
This mom is the easiest parent to identify in the Facebook group. Her profile photo is one of her proudly wearing a college logo sweatshirt, and she posts pictures from every tailgate, sporting event, and family weekend gathering. She is the college parent Facebook group’s official mascot.
The Alumni Mom
This mom attended the same college in 1993. She posts nostalgic pictures of her and her roommates wearing baby doll dresses and construction boots, sitting on pink and teal Laura Ashley comforters. She starts every comment with, “Well, when I was an undergrad here in the 90s….” reminding all of us that the best decade to attend college was most definitely in the 90s because that’s when she attended and she knows.
What role do I play in my group? Right now, at the beginning of my college parenting journey, I’m very comfortable in my role as “The Lurker,” though I look forward to a time when I feel sure-footed enough to offer help and advice to another parent who’s struggling with college ins-and-outs. I might never be as savvy as the Survivalist Mom or as hip as the Instagram Mom, but I can definitely hold my own with 90s college memories, so there’s that to look forward to, as well.