If you just graduated from high school and are attending a university this fall, at some point you’ll have a college orientation to grace with your presence. Below are a few things you can expect from your orientation, along with some helpful tips to get the most out of the experience.
Expect: To meet a ton of new people. New students obviously, but also orientation leaders, university employees, and maybe even a professor or two.
Tip: Be open and accepting of everyone. Know that no one knows everyone there. If you do have friends attending the same orientation, make sure you find time to introduce yourself to brand new faces.
Expect: Taking placement exams for foreign language classes or honors programs.
Tip: Make sure you go to these exams! Scope out where you need to go beforehand. Arrive a few minutes early to get situated or checked in. Don’t freak out about placement tests; knowing if you are a Spanish beginner or expert will help you register for the right course and prevent you from getting in over your head or being completely bored. As for honors programs, if you don’t get in right away, check to see if your school offers entry options later in the year.
Expect: Logistical tasks such as getting your student ID card, creating a school email (if you haven’t already), and registering for classes.
Tip: If you have the option, try to attend an orientation session earlier in the summer. Since you’ll be registering for classes before the late summer orientation students, it is more likely that you’ll get the courses you really want. Register for the number of credit hours your school recommends for freshmen. You can always drop a course if you get to school and the course load is too heavy.
Expect: A lot of planned group activities and tours.
Tip: Attend them! This is such a great way to see your campus (on the tours) and meet new people (during activities). Often the group gatherings might feel youthful or silly, but it is a great way to get involved – especially if you don’t know anyone or feel a little lost.
Expect: You might be staying in a dorm room during your orientation — with other students!
Tip: Not all schools do this, but if you do end up staying in the dorms, take some measurements or photos to plan what items or how much of your wardrobe you can bring. Be friendly and get to know the other freshmen, but don’t feel pressured to go everywhere with them all weekend.
Most of all, let this orientation time be a positive experience. Turn any nervousness or anxiety into excitement for a new challenge!
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