Imagine (or remember) arriving on campus for the first time. Most students are full of questions: where do you pick up books? Where is your dorm or first class? Will you know anyone? Where do you eat? Thanks to the University of North Dakota’s New Student Orientation program, there’s no need to worry!
The program begins on campus Monday, June 4, and continues through July 13. The two-day sessions are designed to register and advise incoming students, and help them and their families become acclimated with UND.
Orientation informs students and families of the opportunities and resources available to them, helps them set up services and accounts, and focus on how to become a successful student. With 80-100 students attending each two-day program, you’re sure to meet a new friend.
While Orientation is focused on incoming students, parents also benefit. They will have the opportunity to meet and visit with other families, discuss concerns, make connections and attend a question-and-answer panel led by current students and faculty. Kristi Okerlund, family and student planning coordinator, said that, while the schedule refers to “parents,” the whole family is invited.
“We welcome aunts and uncles, grandparents, siblings, whoever students want to bring along,” she said.
Okerlund also said, “it doesn’t matter if this is your first child going to college or your sixth, it’s still important to attend. All students are different, have different needs and experience things differently.” Parents will receive and discuss crucial information about the reality of college, and how to help their child succeed.
Upon arriving for Day One, students receive a folder with helpful information, including a checklist of items to complete during orientation. They’ll also receive tasks to complete at home, before they begin school in August.
The folder has information on the bookstore, buying parking permits, setting budgets and exploring Grand Forks. Okerlund said getting to know the area surrounding UND is important.
“They are not just students, but members of this community,” she said.
Parents also receive a folder which contains information, including how to purchase loft rentals, linens, and carpet for residence halls; send mail and care packages to students, buy parking permits, add money to student ID cards and fill out release forms.
Day One kicks off with a resource fair, which focuses on aspects of UND “outside the classroom.” Representatives will answer questions and provide information on a variety of services, including disability services, multicultural student services, athletics, career services, online education, Army and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, the Honors Program and much more.
New to this year’s schedule are “college breakout sessions.” Students with similar majors and parents will have the chance to meet in smaller, more intimate groups. Each group will be led by faculty and students of a specific college. Students with undeclared majors will focus on their interests and receive advice on how to apply them to college majors.
An equally helpful component for both students and parents is the session on UND accounts. It will focus on Campus Connection, the website where students and parents can register for classes, make payments, view financial information and more.
During Day Two, students will purchase their student ID card, which also functions as an on-campus debit card. The dining centers require them to receive meal plans, and students can use them around town to receive discounts. Students need to have another form of ID with them, such as a driver’s license, in order to receive their new student ID.
One of the biggest benefits students will receive during day two of orientation is meeting with an adviser.
“Many schools have students meet with advisers in small groups during this time,” Okerlund said. “We think it’s extremely important to have the students meet one-on-one with advisers to help figure out their studies and get registered.”
Once students have completed day two’s sessions, there are optional tours available, and students are encouraged to check out areas that interest them.
Angie Carpenter, with UND’s Student Services office, said orientation is important to students because “it’s your first step toward a successful UND experience, and you get registered for your classes.”
Okerlund believes the overall peace of mind it gives students is most significant: “Students leave feeling prepared and knowledgeable, and usually have a new friend, which is comforting when they return for classes.”