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College Orientation: Make the Most of It!

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Some colleges hold freshman orientation during the summer months while others welcome incoming freshmen and transfer students the week before classes kick off. Regardless of when your new school hosts its college orientation, do yourself a favor and make the most of it. In most cases, attendance is mandatory anyway. You might be a little bit nervous, but rest assured that other students share your feelings.

Freshman Orientation: What to Expect

Orientation programs vary from college to college. Some scheduled activities may be slightly different for students who will live in dorms and those who will commute to campus from home, but you probably have a general idea of what’s going to happen thanks to emails and brochures that you’ve undoubtedly received.

A few events that most colleges and universities offer during orientation include:

  • Dorm move-in day
  • Opening ceremonies with the President, deans and other school officials
  • Registration and class schedule distribution
  • Student ID card photos / distribution
  • Campus tours
  • Info sessions about student government and clubs
  • Q&A sessions with Resident Advisors (RAs)
  • Q&A sessions for commuter students
  • Q&A sessions with upperclassmen
  • Icebreakers / team-building games and activities
  • Parties
  • Concerts
  • Field trips
  • Volunteer work opportunities

College Orientation DOs and DON’Ts

Whatever activities are planned, the main goal of freshman and new student orientations is to get acquainted with your new surroundings and interact with other new students. These tips can help you survive freshman orientation:

DO smile at others. If you look upset, you are isolating yourself from potential friends. (You know that you’d feel funny and reluctant to say “Hi!” if someone beside you did nothing but scowl!)

DO introduce yourself to people. Remind yourself that you aren’t the only one who is feeling nervous. Everyone is out of their comfort zone.

DON’T spend time a lot of time with people you already know from high school, church or anywhere else. This will only make it harder to make new friends. Others may not want to approach you if you look overly chummy with someone else.

DON’T use your phone as a crutch. Standing around texting your friends back home will also make you look unapproachable.

DON’T be a party pooper. Playing cheesy getting-to-know-you games might seem silly or even embarrassing, but they usually wind up being a lot of fun!

DO separate yourself from your parents. Parents are welcome for many portions of new student orientation (even younger siblings are allowed to attend at some schools!) but you both need to cut the apron strings. This might be harder for Mom and Dad to accept than for you to deal with, but stick to the school’s orientation schedule.

DO sign up for optional activities, like club information sessions, but DON’T overextend yourself by agreeing to do everything.

DON’T get drunk and crazy. You want to make a good first impression on your RA, roommate and hall mates. You don’t want to get kicked out of college for underage drinking before classes even begin.

DO explore campus on your own. Locate buildings where your classes will meet and find coffee shops or delis where you might enjoy studying. Just use your common sense and avoid wandering around alone late at night! Always take safety into consideration.

Your college years have the potential to be some of the best years of your life. Start on a good note by having a successful student orientation! Learn more about the college experience right here at the StateUniversity.com Blog.

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Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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