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College & Career Training in Alaska

21May

If you haven’t attended new student orientation, here are the five reasons to!

If you have applied to a university or program, you may find that they recommend attending new student orientation.  Orientations may vary from a couple of hours to a full two-day commitment.  Here are the top five reasons to attend an orientation event:

The Tour- For some students, transitioning from a small town to a big campus maybe a bit unnerving or overwhelming.  Thankfully, the tour portion of your orientation visit covers the basics of how to navigate campus.  The orientation guides point out valuable resources that may be overlooked in published materials by mail.  If anything, you can get a pulse of campus life just by strolling through on your tour.

Placement Tests- It is becoming more common that you are required to take a placement test through your institution’s placement center before you can register for courses.  Taking an orientation visit in late spring or early summer can assist in getting the tests out of the way before the start of fall courses.  Some institutions may use your SAT or ACT scores, but be prepared to take other assessment tests like the Accuplacer or ALEKs.  For helpful tips on preparing for tests, click here.

Academic Advising- If there ever was a reason to attend an orientation; it would be to meet with your Academic Advisor –   

  1. They will help you set up a plan for academic success based on your placement tests
  2. They help you register for courses before the start of the semester, giving you more options as classes may not be filled or closed
  3. Navigating the requirements to obtain a degree or certificate can be a complex situation. Their job is to make it easier on you and help you take courses that count towards your degree, rather than a general credit that may not help you graduate on time.  Here are some other helpful tips when meeting with your academic advisor.

Faculty- You may have a session when you get to meet with some faculty.  I highly recommend going to this session as they go over typical roles and responsibilities, as well as appropriate etiquette for the classroom.  They may present a syllabus from one of their courses, so you can get a sample of what to expect when it comes to studying and preparing for exams.  If the faculty is in your field of study, they may become you academic advisor, so getting to know them early on is to your advantage.

Meeting People- If you’re like me, having grown up in a rural community, you know not just everyone in your grade, but you know everyone in the three grades above you and the three grades below you.  When you leave the comfort of your hometown, making new friends is important, and it can require stepping out of your comfort zone.  Thanks to the orientation, you are put in formal and informal situations that you get to know future classmates.  Thanks to social media, you may be able to reach out to them before you attend school to get to know them better. 

Bonus Tip- Speaking of transitioning from one surrounding to another, some places may allow you to move into your dorm or residence hall room early if you attend an orientation event that is scheduled just prior to the start of Welcome Week, the time you get to normally move in.  This may also allow you to have more time to adjust to your new life rather than moving in one day and starting classes the next.  You can pick up your books and maybe even familiarize yourself with the new local community.

There may be more reasons to attend an orientation event out there, but these should give you a head start.  Be sure you ask your friends and family on what they learned when they attended.  If you have any questions, please come by the ACPE Success Center located at the Dimond Center Mall.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 1 (800) 441-2962, option #4.

About the Author

Tyler Eggen

Tyler Eggen

Tyler is Alaskan born and educated, with over a decade of experience in higher education & student affairs.  When he is not serving the next generation of postsecondary education students, he enjoys spending time outdoors while hunting and fishing.

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