Why Orientation Matters – Three Reasons Orientation Benefits ALL Students

I remember my first weeks on campus. A stranger in an even stranger land although I wasn’t more than an hour away from home. I was anxious, overwhelmed and for a brief moment- I was in way over my head.

My first semester looked like it would be a breeze. The classes weren’t difficult, I was familiar enough with the area and I even knew some people that had graduated from my high school a few years prior. I had meticulously taken care of every detail I could think of- from the application process, scholarships and financial aid, to securing my first apartment. Everything was in order. Despite all the items on my “college check list” being accomplished and things running smoothly, I struggled! Where did I go wrong? Could it be that I just wasn’t college material? It wasn’t until my second semester that I found the answer. I had underestimated the value of participating in orientation programs on my campus.

Orientation programs on campus are key to student success. While programs are versatile and really do meet a variety of needs for first year students, here are three reasons orientation is beneficial for ALL students!

Social interaction. The first few weeks of college is an essential time for new students to meet people and make friends. The social aspect of university life allows students to feel like they belong. It’s important for students to meet with their academic advisor, get familiar with the campus, and participate in activities that will help them forge a bond with other incoming freshmen. It is this sense of belonging that will be the foundation of successful students.

Physical transition. Moving to a completely different place without the safety net of having family nearby can cause great anxiety for students. Strive to provide students with information about things like the physical locations of different student services, safety on campus, and what they can expect from living in the area. Keep in mind to include those staying in dorms, commuters, and students living locally.

Academic preparation. Of course, the main reason students attend college is to learn and earn a degree! Orientation helps students with the first steps toward academic success. It’s essential to cultivate a relationship between students and advisors by focusing on creating intentional time with the faculty. When students are comfortable with their advisors, they are more likely to reach out for help and guidance to steer clear from failure.