Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

New Parent Frequently Asked Questions

Compiled by:

Maura Condon Umble ’83, Director of Parent Programs

1. What size sheets will I need to buy for my child’s campus mattress?

Our beds are “extra long, twin beds.” You can purchase extra long twin sheets in many stores or you may order them through a fundraising program offered by Student Senate through an outside vendor. You will receive information about this opportunity in your mail this summer.

2. What will Move-In Day be like for our family?

This is bound to be an emotional and perhaps trying day. Everyone will be a little nervous and uncertain. Plan to arrive between 8:00 am and 11:00 am that day. You will have plenty of help from current students to unload your car. Then, plenty of people will be on hand to answer your questions, and to give you and your student important information. There will be some programming for parents and for students. You should plan to say goodbye and leave campus by about 4:00 pm that day. From that point on, for the next few days, your student will be busy with orientation activities. Some families who are traveling a distance will plan to stay overnight in the area on either Thursday night or Friday night.

3. What will my child’s mailing address be?

For most items:

Student Name
F&M # Your Mailbox Number (Students will receive their number on move-in day.)
P.O. Box 3220
Lancaster, PA 17604-3220

Shipping address when street address required:

Student Name
F&M # Your Mail Number
415 Harrisburg Ave
Lancaster, PA 17603

4. Can I mail some of our child’s things in advance of our arrival on Friday, August 23?

The College works with Groff’s Moving and Storage in Mt. Joy, PA to provide this service for students. Please contact Stacey at Groff's (717-653-6151 or 717-653-1357 or at ) to ask about the fees involved, campus drop-off dates and other details.

5. How can I find out when my child needs to arrive for a fall sport? Should I return to campus for any programming on Move-In Day?

Contact the coach to ask specific details about early arrival for pre-season training. Check the web for contact information:

If you live within easy driving distance and are available, we encourage you to return to campus for the parent programming we’ll provide on Friday, August 24th. But your student may be busy with practice – check with the coach for the practice schedule that day.

6. Should I plan to come to campus for Convocation on Tuesday, August 27th?

We began a new tradition in 2006 with holding Convocation on the day before classes instead of on Move-In day. Most parents will not be present, but you are most welcome if you live nearby. It will be a lovely ceremony, bringing the entire Franklin & Marshall community together to begin the academic year together.

7. How can I help to prepare my child for his/her transition to F&M?

It’s important to have some serious discussions with your student during the summer so that you can help him/her prepare to take full advantage of the F&M experience. Some possible topics: academic expectations; responsible behavior; getting involved extracurricularly – encourage your student to jump in; time-management – strategize with him/her; communication with home – how and how often will you be in touch; money matters; personal safety; physical well-being. The list goes on. The more you talk over these things now, the fewer surprises you’ll face later.

8. How can I send a cake to my child for his/her birthday or other special occasions?

We’ve made arrangements for you in two ways: The House of Clarendon ( or 717-290-7800) is a lovely specialty bakery near campus that will deliver beautiful cakes to our students upon your request. A less expensive option is to utilize our own on-campus catering department which offers delicious birthday cakes. Call 717-291-4322 to place your order.

9. What do I need to know about insurance and insurance forms?

Franklin & Marshall students are required to have health insurance. More information is available through Health Services (717-291-4082).

10. What’s the difference between debit dollars and flex dollars in the meal plan and how can I put more dollars into my child’s account?

Campus meal plans have changed since we were in college! The most important information we can share with parents here is to encourage your student to understand the meal plan system and use it well. It offers plenty of great food and lots of flexibility, but it can be confusing. All the details can be found at

11. How can my child find out about ways to get involved in extra-curricular activities?

Soon after classes begin, encourage your student to attend the annual Community Activities Fair (CAF). All of the clubs and organizations will be represented and looking for new members! This is your child’s chance to check out all the opportunities and begin to get involved in meaningful activities beyond their academics.

12. What should we bring (and what shouldn’t we bring!) when moving into the residence hall this August?

What you shouldn’t bring is probably the more important question. Most students bring more than they need. Student rooms are tight on space! Students should connect with their roommates in advance to avoid having two of everything! Here are some necessities: sheets (extra long twin); pillow & pillowcase; comforter; hygienic needs; clothing; extension cords; pens/pencils/notebooks; towels/washcloths; umbrella/raincoat; alarm clock; surge protector; cell phone. Here are some ideas about what to leave at home: microwave (our kitchens have them); pets (except fish); cinder blocks or other bed lofting items (most furniture is bunkable/loftable); candles/incense; power tools; hot plates/hot pots; modem.

13. What services will the campus computing services department offer my child?

Updated recommended computing configurations can be found at

Information Technology Services provides software for your child's computer.  Support resources are avilable at our HelpDesk by calling 717-358-4483 or emailing at  Further questions? Contact Terry Davidson, Director of Desktop Integration & Support  at 717-291-4380.

14. What’s all the buzz about the new Life Sciences & Philosophy Building?

The new Ann & Richard Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building houses our Biology, Psychology and Philosophy departments in a state-of-the-art, 100,000 sq. foot facility. The building enables Franklin & Marshall students and faculty to work at the leading edge of undergraduate scientific research. The facility strengthens the curriculum by bringing three outstanding departments together so they can carry their work to the next level. It is designed to enhance the intellectual and social community at Franklin & Marshall and enhances our competitive position among liberal arts colleges. Finally, the Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building represents a strategic investment in the northern gateway to the College.

15. How can my child find out about jobs on campus?

There are plenty of jobs on campus; the first priority goes to students receiving financial aid. Encourage your student to contact the financial aid office with questions: 717-291-3991. A good source of information about on- and off-campus job opportunities is the electronic bulletin board system: Some offices may hire students with specific skills or interests – encourage your child to ask around.

16. Are classes held on Labor Day?

Yes. This and all other calendar questions can be answered by exploring the College Calendar site:

17. Does my child need a local bank account?

This is a personal decision for your family to determine together. With ATMs available on and near campus, credit and debit cards, gift credit cards, etc., many first year students do not feel it is necessary to have a local bank account. If they someday live off campus and need to pay bills with checks, a local account may be necessary. By the way, in the Steinman College Center, there is a Fulton Bank ATM. That one is closest for most students but the College Center does close at 11 or midnight and opens at noon on Sundays. A Wachovia Bank ATM is located on the outside of the College Square building (just across Harrisburg Pike from the main campus). It is available 24/7. Local banks will be represented at the Information Fair during Beginnings.

18. Where should we stay when visiting our child at F&M?

We are lucky to have so many hotels in this area. Here are some sources of information:

The Campus Visit Guide:
The PA Dutch Visitor’s Center:

19. Are there plenty of restaurants around to treat our child during our visits?

Lancaster has many fine restaurants! Again, check the Visitor’s Center for a searchable list: Here is a list of some favorites: /x9238.xml.

20. Is there much to do in Lancaster?

Franklin & Marshall is located in a fantastic small, vibrant city. Lancaster is the oldest inland city in the country and has much to offer including beautiful architecture, dozens of art galleries, fine restaurants, cute shops, a wonderful Farmer’s Market, and the historic Fulton Opera House. Learn more at, and Do encourage your student to get to know their surroundings by exploring Lancaster. The center of the city is only a mile from campus – an easy walk or bike-ride.

21. Will there be an opportunity, other than Beginnings to meet other new students before move-in day?

Yes. The College hosts Summer Send-Off Parties in about a dozen locations around the country. These events invite all the local alumni, current families and new families from the region to “send off” the Class of 2017 with well wishes. Keep an eye on your mailbox for your invitation.