As you ramp up to start the next four years of your life, becoming acquainted with your new environment is important! Freshman orientation is a time for you to become familiar with the sights and sounds of your new home. You can look forward to tons of helpful information, tips, and tricks from faulty and older students, while meeting new friends! Be prepared for all that comes your way with these tips.
1. Read Up on the Schedule
Freshman orientation is usually required of incoming students, even those who transfer. Failure to show up or missing an important component could land you in trouble and even prevent you from attending classes. Program the orientation schedule, including any relevant and required event, in your personal calendar and set up reminders or alarms.
On the day of, arrive early to scope out the event and read any materials they may give you. If you have a to-do list (such as getting a student ID picture taken or signing up for a particular course), being first in line will knock out these tasks and will keep you from having to wait.
2. Sign Up for the Extras
Orientation at most universities is not just about seeing where your classes are and how to get to the bookstore. Instead, events are set up for you to meet other incoming students, learn about the town, and even take supplemental courses that could benefit you down the road.
If you are offered these experiences, take them! They could help you socialize with likeminded friends or get you in good with staff and faculty.
3. Get to Know Your Professors and Fellow Students
Professors and staff are more than educators and office workers. They can become mentors and advisors, and they may even be able to help you find a great scholarship or offer a job reference. You can learn more about these important individuals by reading their biographies online or looking up their published or publicized works and writings. There are also websites that have college students rate their instructor. While not totally reliable, it may be useful in weeding out personalities.
If you find a professor whose work interests you or who you feel would make a great mentor, use freshman orientation to set up a time to meet. During your get together, introduce yourself, ask questions about the program or their classes, and request further meetings during the school year if you feel the relationship is a good fit. Having an advocate even before school has begun will boost your confidence and ease your transition into classes.
4. Write Out Questions
Just as you should ask questions to any professor you meet with, you should also come to freshman orientation prepared with a list of things you want answered. Some common questions include:
- Where can I buy or rent my textbooks (and where can I get them cheaper)?
- How do I sign up for XXX club/group?
- What is and is not allowed in my dorm room?
- When do breaks start and end?
Whatever your question, do not feel intimidated. Whatever you ask is probably on the minds of your fellow students.
5. Pack a Notetaker
You’ll need a way to write down the answers to your list of questions. Be sure to pack a notebook and pen or a computer/tablet. A folder could also come in handy in case you are given loads of handouts. That way, you will have it all in one place without having to sort through the junk or losing a sheet over the summer break.
Walking through the doors of your freshman orientation can be intimidating. But if you are prepared for the days ahead, you can come out knowing that you are armed with the right knowledge to get you through your first year as a college student.
Have you been to your orientation yet? If so, do you have any tips for newcomers? Let us know!