Freshman Orientation is sometimes overwhelming and intimidating. Every year hundreds of thousands students leave high school to embark on their college education and probably wonder what to expect at a Freshman Orientation.

Freshman OrientationCredit: smokedsalmon

Students must attend the new student orientation for a variety of reasons. Universities use orientation as a recruiting tool to introduce students to the campus, resources and department of their major. These colleges offer a glimpse of what their first year experience could be as a Freshman. Although colleges and universities around the country have their differences, there are many similarities that students should expect at Freshman Orientation. This article provides information on what to expect during a one-day college orientation program.

Most, if not all, orientations begin with a student check-in. The college advisors and major departments need to know who is in attendance as there is much work to prep for an orientation student before the big day and having confirmation that a student is there helps to keep thing in order. Depending on the college, students will also take a picture for their student ID that they will use for all four years in college. Students may want to make themselves presentable for the occasion, as a new ID picture will cost extra money.

After check-in, college representatives will begin with a welcome presentation. A nice warm welcome and congratulations on choosing or being selected for their college is given to those in attendance. The presentation might include a university recruiting video that shows college students, professors and highlights about the college. Sometimes college deans are present and give a small introduction or agenda to parents and students for Freshman Orientation.

College OrientationCredit: Tom Spitznas

Usually students and parents are then split up. Parents will get more information about resources and amenities that the university and college departments offer to both parents and students. Information on how to talk to college students now that they are away from home will also be given. Some universities even include a student panel in which parents can ask those important or not-so-important questions. Listening to students who actually attend the college always puts some parents’ minds at ease.

While the parents are listening to presentations, the students will be registering for the classes that they will be taking their first semester in college. Advisors and staff will be on hand to help students navigate the scheduling system and explain why certain courses are critical to take. They will help answer questions that students may have as well.

Students and parents will then meet up again at lunch. Lunch usually consists of a salad, a main meal and dessert. Sometimes during lunch a resource fair is open for students and parents to get more one-one-one information about campus resources. This resource fair can also occur during check-in, depending on the day’s agenda.  The university may also offer tours of the campus and classrooms at this time or later in the afternoon.

There might be some minor activities after lunch in which the students and parents are apart again, but at the end of the orientation program, they will meet up again for a closing presentation. Students will once again be congratulated on their decision and acceptance into the university and the college will hope that everyone is as excited to return for the start of the school year during the fall semester.

Regardless of how a Freshman Orientation runs, it is important that a student gets exposure to the campus, the resources, the staff and the other current students attending that university. The Freshman year experience is an important part of the academic career of a student. The exposure and excitement for the upcoming year will definitely be helpful for the student to know that they are making the right decision.

Students who have questions about what to expect during a Freshman Orientation or who might have some reservations about going off to college or university should make it a point to attend a college orientation so that they can see for themselves what they will be looking forward to in the next year.