Many colleges and universities across the country provide orientation programs for new and transfer students each semester. These orientations are aimed at helping these students become acclimated to their new surroundings both academically and socially. Ranging from one day to an entire week with overnight stays, every school's programs can vary in length and content. Some colleges even host information and support programs for parents of new students. The majority of college orientations are organized by an on campus entity, usually the office of undergraduate services, so students and families should contact them for more information about specific programs.
It is important for new and transfer students to attend their orientation sessions in order to gain the proper information and resources provided for them by the campus. For example, these programs generally feature a meet and greet session between students, faculty and staff members. During this time, students can mingle with their future professors, speak with librarians about research opportunities and become acquainted with the social environment of the college. Also, many orientations provide students with in depth guided tours of the campus. This is especially beneficial for students attending large state universities that can cover many acres. These tours allow new students to become familiar with classrooms, libraries, dining facilities and dorm buildings. Knowing they’re not going to get lost the first day of school can ease a great deal of anxiety for new students.
Students should also attend their orientation events for the academic and logistical aspects as well. The majority of college orientations provide students with academic advising sessions where students can speak with guidance counselors, create the first semester class schedule and register for courses. Students will also be guided through the process of receiving a student identification card and completing financial aid paperwork. Considering the stress that attending a new college can place upon students, having assistance and support along the way can be very relieving.
These orientations also generally provide several peer social events as well, including dances, dinners and sporting events. These activities are created to allow new students the opportunity to make friends and find common ground amongst each other.
Of course attending a new or transfer student orientation is generally optional at most colleges, but it is very highly recommended. The amount of information, guidance and support these programs provide new students will far outweigh the financial costs of attendance.