Education: Parents' Prep

Orientation for moms and dads

They arrive on campus nervous but excited. An upperclassman shows them to their dorms. Stumbling across the quad, maps under their noses, they grope their way to classrooms in modern buildings. They listen attentively as professors talk about opportunity. At night they gather in a big dining hall. A typical college orientation? Not quite. The participants are middle-aged—parents being prepped on what college holds for their children.

The University of Rochester, a small and expensive (tuition, room and board: $7,000 a year) private college in upstate New...

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