5 Reasons You Should Attend New Student Orientation

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New Student Orientation provides students with the opportunity to experience a preview of college and prepare for the beginning of the semester (photo courtesy of Merrimack College on flickr).

It should be no surprise to anyone that there are a lot of events, activities, and processes involved in college enrollment. One of the most important and informative steps is attending New Student Orientation. Whether it is for a large public university, like Florida State University, or a smaller online program, such as Eastern New Mexico University’s distance education degrees, attending orientation helps prepare and establish priorities for students while enrolled.

1. Campus Tours

Because not all students actually visit college campuses before applying for admission, during orientation campus tours are given for students and their family members. While Orientation Leaders are certainly not expecting you to remember all the buildings, their location and their history, they like to point out main areas (libraries, student unions, on-campus restaurants), dormitories (for underclassmen, upperclassmen, and families), and any other special features (safety, parking, recreation, administrative offices, etc.).

2. Meet Other Students, College Staff and Faculty

Your friends and family will inevitably depart into various other sessions pertinent to their role in your college enrollment. Most colleges offer Friends and Family presentations to help answer any questions they may have regarding college. Therefore, you will have the opportunity to meet other new students, speak with college staff regarding your enrollment, and possibly learn more about your degree of study from faculty.

3. Experience “Life in the Dorms”

Because most university orientations run for more than one day, universities often make accommodation (and usually recommendations) for students to stay overnight in the dorms. While this may sound unpleasant at first (believe me, I thought so too) but it is actually a lot of fun. While you are paired up to share a dorm with someone you probably do not already know, there are a number of activities planned to keep students engaged and prepared for life on campus. For example, during my FSU orientation, there were four girls assigned to a dorm-suite and activities like student bingo, an air hockey tournament, and midnight breakfast going on after-hours.

4. Finalize Enrollment Documentation and Financial Aid

After your (potentially) fun-filled night in the dorms, students are usually provided (if not on day one) with the opportunity to visit administrative offices to finalize any outstanding enrollment documentation. This usually includes appointments with on-campus housing arrangements, financial aid, disability accommodations, placement testing, etc.

5. Academic Advising and Class Registration

Typically, the culmination of New Student Orientation comes at the end of your final day when students are given the opportunity to meet with an academic advisor from their college of study and discuss first semester classes. Academic advisors are available to discuss placement testing, enrollment requirements (for financial aid eligibility), pre-requisites, academic progress, transfer credits, and anything else that may arise pertaining to class registration and degree programs. Once an advising session has been completed, the “hold” will be released from your account and you will be able to register for classes. Don’t worry though, if you end up changing your mind about that 8am class or online College Algebra, you will (usually) have until the end of the first week of the semester to adjust your schedule.

Ashley Benson is a distance education professional with five years of experience in the for-profit sector. She has worked coast-to-coast within the United States as an academic advisor, an adjunct teaching assistant and, most recently, a campus Registrar. Through formal education and industry experience, Ashley practices staying informed on the current events and changes within higher education and the students involved.

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