August 8, 2011
New Student Orientation

Why is College Orientation so Important?

I remember the mixture of excitement and nervousness I felt as the start of college drew near. As one of the first in my family to go to college, I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I went to orientation with an eagerness to know more about college life. College orientation helped to ease my nerves and make me feel comfortable with my new life as part of the campus.

College orientation programs are key to overall student success. Not only do they help with some of those initial feelings of anxiety, but they also provide helpful information on the student experience inside and outside of the classroom. Here are a few tips for making the most of the orientation experience:

Sign up and go!

I know it sounds simple, but you have to show up. Orientation programs are designed to help new students have a successful time in college – and research shows students who go are better prepared and more connected to college. There are opportunities to learn more about campus resources, strategies for academic success, ways to get involved in clubs, and more.

Invite family, partners and/or friends to join you.

Many times there are programs specifically designed for them. Even if they do not attend, talk to them about what you learned. The important people in your life can be a helpful support network outside the college.

Ask questions.

Nobody starts a new experience knowing all the details. Don’t hesitate to speak up. Odds are someone else in the room is wondering the same thing. If you are not comfortable asking in front of the group, stop a staff member afterward and ask one-on-one. If you think of questions after you leave, call or email the Orientation staff. They are there to help.

Step outside your comfort zone.

Orientation is a time of newness so take advantage of it. Say hi to another new student. Raise your hand to ask a question. Think about a club you want to join. Be open-minded and receptive to new ideas and information.

Be patient with yourself.

You may come to Orientation feeling excited, nervous, or both – and that’s okay! Like any transition in life, it takes time to adjust to college life. Know that whether you are starting college right after high school, after years away from high school, or you are coming back again, you are not alone in your experiences. You will likely meet other students with similar life paths.

As classes begin you will find yourself with more questions as you encounter new experiences and unique challenges. Seek out the resources you learned about during Orientation. There are faculty, staff, and peers on your campus who can help you navigate your experiences – people such as myself!

Front Range Community College offers opportunities for New Student Orientation on each campus. You can find more information at www.frontrange.edu/orientation. We hope to see you around!

I’m interested in knowing how Orientation helped you. Please comment below.

About the author:

Dan Balski is the student activities coordinator at Front Range Community College-Westminster Campus. He likes to work with student leaders, read books at local coffee shops, and randomly burst into song.