Meet Your Campus


Ready to take the plunge into collegiate life? If not, don’t sweat it. Thankfully your college orientation program will help guide you through the basics of university life. From helping you register for classes to introducing you to on-campus facilities to laying down the rules of your dorm, your orientation program is designed to show you how college life works and to give you the tools you’ll need to survive it. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you’ll cover in orientation and why it’s essential to attend:

Campus 101

The basic purpose of orientation is to give you a brief introduction to how your future campus is laid out, the facilities you’ll find there, and where you can go to find a snack, a study sanctuary, or something to do on a Saturday night. Since most four-year institutions conduct orientation over the course of several days, you’ll have more than enough opportunities to learn your way around and map out your classes, not to mention begin getting used to dorm life. At many institutions, you’ll also have the opportunity to sample the wide variety of on-campus clubs, sports teams, performing arts groups, and campus-sponsored entertainment. Expect to ask questions, learn an overwhelming amount of information, and meet more than a few of your fellow classmates.

Preparing for Class

Besides simply learning your way around, you’ll also get ready to face your future professors. Your orientation guides will help you register for your first-semester classes, find the books and other supplies you’ll need, walk you through any first-year assessment tests you’ll need to take, and provide you with information on how to study and manage your time effectively. Since your orientation guide will most likely be an upper-class student, feel free to ask any questions you have about how they survived their first year.

Moving In

The most dramatic adjustment students make during the collegiate years is moving from cushy living with mom and dad to a tiny, tiny dorm room with a stranger. Luckily your orientation program will fill you in on the dos and don’ts of dorm living as well as give you an idea of what types of living and storage supplies you’ll need to purchase before classes begin. Many institutions conduct orientation just a few days before classes start, so you’ll have the opportunity to move in, meet the roomie, make friends with your resident advisor, and get to know some of the students in your hall before hitting the books.

Orientation programs connect you with as many aspects of academic, residential, and student life as possible. Most likely, you meet with your academic advisor, discuss an academic plan, and register for classes. You may meet with faculty members through a panel discussion or during other events. You will have a chance to eat at least one meal in the cafeteria and stay in a residence hall to get a feel for residence life. There will be small group discussions with upper classmen where you can ask questions and where everyone can share their experiences.;

By the time orientation is over, you’ll be familiar with campus, acclimated to dorm life, prepared for class, and ready to take on a new world of academic challenges.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This article was written by Christina Couch

Christina Couch is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Virginia, and Chicago, Illinois. She is the author of Virginia Colleges 101: The Ultimate Guide for Students of All Ages (Palari Publishing, 2008). Her byline can also be found on AOL.com, MSN.com, and Yahoo.com, and in Wired Magazine.

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