The Importance of College Orientation

Many of you have begun your college careers; congratulations!  You must first attend orientation, though.  Are the stories that orientation is horrifying and devastating true?  Absolutely not!  However, I can offer suggestions on making the most of it and what to expect.

Orientation may be thrilling but sometimes intimidating.  Your first experience with college life as a student will be at orientation.  You’ll finally find out your housing assignment, meet a ton of new people and prospective friends, and spend a lot of time on your campus before it becomes your new home.  Information will be hurled at you left and right while this is all going on.  Placement exams paperwork?  Registration for classes?  Although there is a lot of information to process quickly, it is doable.  Here are six practical suggestions to get through first-year/freshman orientation:

  1. Put on a pair of comfy sneakers.  During orientation, you’ll be walking a lot.  There will be events happening everywhere on campus, as well as tours of the campus and the dorms.  Wearing comfortable walking shoes will prevent you from being exhausted halfway through your first day of orientation.  Wear warm weather attire while you’re at it.  In the summer, when it’s humid, you’ll definitely sweat.

  2. Pack a rain umbrella.  Rain is always a possibility.  One moment it can be sunny, and the next, it might be pouring down rain.  To avoid getting soaked as I did at my orientation, ensure you have an umbrella or rain jacket on hand.

  3. Pack a bag, a notebook, and a pen.  At orientation, you’ll receive a ton of paperwork, pamphlets, and complimentary items, but carrying them all around without a bag will be difficult.  Bring a notebook and a pen so you may jot down notes, dates, and reminders.

  4. Keep the schedule close by.  An agenda of all the events during orientation is available.  Always have it close at hand and consult it as necessary.  There will be other events going on throughout the day, and it is your responsibility to attend each one.

  5. Make sure you are clear on the classes you wish to enroll in.  You’ll start completing your class registration during orientation.  When you register for five to ten classes at once and discover that every single one is already filled, as I did during my first-year orientation, you will quickly understand the difficulty of doing so.  It’s crucial to attempt even if you’re absolutely lost at first so you can ease yourself into this adjustment.

  6. Be open-minded.  Don’t let orientation overwhelm you; keep in mind that this is an exciting moment.  When you see how many things still need to be done or how many new people are in your immediate surroundings, it is simple to become frustrated.  If you experience it, simply pause, breathe, and take it all in.  At orientation, focus on meeting new people and getting to know the campus that will be your home for the next two or four years.

The first year—and every year after— progresses with more success and confidence when met with careful preparation, despite the fact that it is both exhilarating and overwhelming.  Your feelings of readiness and enthusiasm, as opposed to uncertainty and worry, can significantly change if you attend college orientation.  At orientation, your college or institution has the perfect chance to help you get ready for a successful first year.  But they can’t help you if you’re not here.  What else are you waiting for?  Schedule orientation as soon as possible.

As lessons start, you’ll start to have more questions as you run across novel situations and interesting obstacles.  Find the resources you were taught at orientation.  And don’t forget that you can get guidance from classmates, staff members, and faculty at each college and university campus.

For more tips on how to be ready for your college orientation, click the image below to listen to this episode of The College Corner Podcast!