For some, heading back to school this fall means a new location and new classes, professors, and peers. Some institutions may have already hosted their transfer orientation, but I thought I would share some tips on how to have a successful orientation, whether you’ve already attended a similar orientation your freshman year or you are new to the process.
For those unfamiliar with how orientations work, here is the rundown on how the process usually goes:
- Before you attend your orientation, your university will probably give you a pre-orientation checklist to fill out. This usually includes information about picking classes or taking a required test(s) you need before the school year begins. Make sure to complete it to have a smooth orientation!
- Check your email before your session for information about the event, including parking information, a campus map, and orientation details.
- Orientations usually begin with an introduction in a large auditorium, and then disperse into smaller groups for some activities and specific information about campus. You’ll learn about safety protocols, resources around campus, and have an opportunity to meet staff at your school.
- Make the most of your experience by asking lots of questions! When you meet with an adviser or counselor to pick classes, make sure you are satisfied with your schedule.
- Take the opportunity during breaks, lunch, or after the event to connect with other transfers and explore your campus further!
Now that you know the basic gist of what happens at orientation, here are some tips:
- Bring a bag or a folder to hold all the flyers and information you’ll be receiving. Don’t forget to bring a pen as well to take notes with!
- Try to attend an earlier orientation date if your school offers several. Only certain classes have reserved spots, which open up for each session. There is a small advantage to attending an earlier date, because you’ll have a better choice of classes by registering before others.
- Pick the classes you want first, like major-related classes, because they usually fill the quickest.
- If you’re not satisfied with your class schedule after orientation, keep checking back! Spots may open after your session as students shift around their schedule.
In fact, if you’re really persistent, keep checking back when the school year just begins—at that point, a lot of students drop classes they don’t want to take anymore, giving you the chance to fill those spots.
- Go to any transfer socials offered at your orientation—there’s probably free food.
Remember that even the best-planned events may not go as expected, so be open and flexible during the day. Have fun!
– Michelle L.