What to Expect at College Orientation
Last updated June 28, 2022
Your first official act as a college student is to attend your college freshman orientation the summer before freshman year. It can range anywhere from a full day of activities to a full weekend of events. Whether you are headed to a community college or a four-year college in the fall, attending freshman orientation gets you all set up to shine your freshman year in college!
We get the idea of spending time with total strangers can be a little overwhelming. Trust us, this time is the best way to adjust to your new life as a college student. To help you survive the day or weekend like a pro, we put together this little new student orientation cheat sheet!
What to expect
New student orientation is designed to help you explore your new college, meet the professors and advisors who will help you through the next few years, and make friends! That means you don’t have to arrive already knowing the answers to everything and you don’t have to already have friends. During this time, you will get to meet with people who might be from your same city, have declared your same major, or will live in your same residence hall. You will play games, tour your campus, eat together, and maybe even hang out for social activities in the evening. You can kind of think of it as summer camp for college students.
Getting connected to the college system
But it’s not all fun and games. After all, you’re going to college to advance your education! During this time, you will take all the steps necessary to become an enrolled student. That means getting your student identification, submit outstanding information for your student account, logging into the school web portal, taking your placement tests for math, science, and language classes, and getting enrolled in your classes for the fall.
This is likely also the first time you will meet with your academic advisor who will help you choose your first semester of classes and do an outline of what your academic program will look like as you make progress toward your degree. You’ll get to meet the professors in your department if you’ve declared a major and explore potential academic programs to help you decide on a major.
Prepare for the fall
Because new student orientation is all about helping you get adjusted to your new life as a college student, you will want to make sure you leave prepared for the fall. That means checking in with the financial aid office to make sure your tuition bill is correct and paid, connecting with your roommate to finalize who is bringing what for the room if you’re living on campus, purchasing all the supplies and things you’ll need for school, and checking out your class syllabi to get familiar with your classwork for the fall.
Parent and Family Orientation
College orientation isn’t just for students! Most colleges also have a separate parent and family orientation where your family can learn about the resources your college has to offer. This is a chance for your family to learn about topics like financial aid, student life, and other resources like tutoring and mental health services. Depending on the college, families can also meet with faculty and staff!
If you’re a first-gen student (aka the first in your family to go to college), parent and family orientation is especially helpful for your family - it can help them get a better understanding of what the college experience is like and how to best support you during your time there.
If your college doesn’t offer a parent and family orientation, consider bringing them with you to your own orientation! Whether or not you’re a first gen student, having the support of a trusted adult with you can help ease your nerves as you prepare for college. This is a new and exciting journey for them too and they want to be able to support you!
Want to prepare more for orientation? Text #College to 33-55-77 for personalized help from the Get Schooled's virtual College & Career advisors.