How to Prepare for College Orientation

Best Ways to Prepare for Freshman Orientation

After going through the college application and selection process, it's easy to feel as though you've conquered the biggest challenges higher education has to offer (congrats!). But there are still new challenges and environments to face as you get closer to your freshman year and you may not know how to prepare. Luckily, your school offers freshman orientation for just this reason. Attending your orientation can help you know what to expect in the coming months and throughout your time in college, and smooth out plenty of bumps in the road before you even encounter them.

How to Prepare For College Orientation

Before your orientation, you want to make sure to expand on the research you did during the school selection process. Look into any programs that your campus may offer for incoming freshman. Any extra time spent on campus can help you get acclimated (or even ahead) academically, socially, and mentally.

Also determine if your orientation is during the summer, at the beginning of the fall semester, or both. Summer orientations usually are much shorter, but fall orientations tend to be more authentic and realistic. If both are offered, attend both and make sure to plan any packing, vacations, and summer jobs around these dates.

Double check the courses and dorms available to freshman, so you can make your first choices with confidence. Some orientations provide students with the opportunity to select classes or meet teachers in person, and you want to be prepared. Likewise, if dorm tours are available, make sure to attend one. If you're starting off as an undecided major, make sure to meet with people studying as many of your interests as possible. You may be able to narrow down your options.

What to Bring to College Orientation

Make sure to bring an ID, a high school transcript, a resume (this is a great time to make one if you don’t have one yet), and any information you've received from the school since being accepted. You never know who you could run into at orientation; being prepared and putting your best foot forward can open opportunities, like scholarships, memberships, or mentorships that can serve you for years to come.

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College Orientation Tips : Make the Most of Your Orientation Time

You definitely want to make the most of your college orientation, here are some tips.

1. Meet as many people as you can. You never know what striking up a conversation with the person next to you could bring. Maybe you'll find a roommate, someone to carpool with, or the person who sends you the notes when you oversleep for your 8 AM class. Networking is a key skill for a reason, and surrounding yourself with the right people early can make or break your college years.

2. Explore campus. Look for your essential buildings: the dorm, the library, the administration building, and the cafeteria. Then look for the building where your advisor will be and where your classes will be held. But don't stop there.

3. Immerse yourself in the campus culture. . Don't be afraid to wear school colors, check out club fairs, participate in some first-year activities, or climb in the stands at a game. You only get one beginning to your college experience, and it's better to have it filled with funny stories and strange experiences than hollow regrets.

4. Get to know your new college community by exploring the area surrounding campus. This is going to be your home for the next four years. Learning who's in your community and where everything is invaluable information. Find the nearest grocery store, the closest mall, local coffee shops, stores, bookstores, parks, and restaurants.

College orientation is a daunting experience. It can be the first time that going to college feels real. And whether it’s excitement, stress, fear, pride, or all of the above that's stirring in your stomach when you look at the day on your calendar, make sure you prepare yourself for a new chapter in life the best way that you can. Learning, listening, and experiencing as much as possible. Don't just do your scheduled tour and leave; get comfortable, take initiative, and be independent.

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