Orientation is a new student’s introduction to every aspect of college life. Although it may seem awkward and nerve wracking at times, it’s meant to be informative and provides the opportunity to meet your new peers. If you’re a student, it’s important to know that the school really does you to succeed during college, both academically and socially. Orientation helps ensure that students have a smooth transition to college and are prepared to get the most out of their time in school.
During college orientation, you’ll learn about the school’s social, academic, and cultural life. For international students, it might even be their first time in another country. We’ve put together some tips for new international students to get the most out of their college orientation.
Know What to Expect
Orientation is a time to learn about the various resources available to you. Faculty will explain academic expectations, success strategies, and how to adjust to a U.S. classroom. You may get the chance to meet with a college adviser and plan your fall schedule; at some schools you can even register for classes during orientation. In addition to tours of the campus, some student orientations include a shopping trip for students who are from far away and maybe even visits to nearby landmarks, tourist spots, or the nearest city. For international students specifically, you might have to take placement and assessment exams during orientation. You’ll also meet with the appropriate staff members to learn about how to maintain legal F-1 visa status, health insurance, how to set up your banking and manage your finances, and the cultural transition to American academic and social life.
Explore All Opportunities
Discover all the various ways to get involved on campus. Most orientations will include a student organization fair, where you can get information about student clubs, Greek life, or sports. Depending on the school, you might still be deciding if you want to live in a residence hall or off-campus; weigh your options carefully, and talk to current students for advice. If you’ll be living in a residence hall, you might have “dorm events” during orientation where you can meet your RA (resident assistant/adviser), meet your new neighbors, learn the residence rules, and find out practical things like where to do your laundry.
Meet New People
More likely than not, you’ll be meeting a lot of new people without even trying. To make the most of this time, attend social events you’re interested in and the student organization fair. If you’ll be living in a residence hall/dorm, an easy way to meet people is to leave your door open when you’re moving in and unpacking. Always remember that everyone else is in the same situation as you! And check out our previous blog post about how to make friends being an international student.
Follow These 5 Additional Tips
1. Be prepared. Review your schedule ahead of time so you know where you need to be and when.
2. Don’t be late!
3. Dress comfortably, since orientation usually lasts all day. Bring a bag or backpack to store handouts, snacks, and a water bottle.
4. Charge your phone and keep it on silent during sessions.
5. Find out when you should arrive on campus.
We hope this advice will help you be prepared for your college orientation. Be open to new possibilities, and always remember to have fun!