Orientation introduces incoming students to WSU
College can bring on more worries than a student may be prepared to reckon with: tuition costs, backbreaking textbooks and an overwhelming campus. To ease the anxiety many incoming freshmen experience, the Wichita State University orientation program provides helpful tips to settling in to the first year at college.
According to Kim Sandlin, assistant director of admissions, the two main purposes of orientation are to connect students to campus and contribute to their academic success.
“Making sure new students feel connected, or that they matter, is our main goal,” Sandlin said. “Orientation is the vehicle for new students to start making those critical connections that contribute to their success.”
In addition, students participating in orientation are given information on academic and social services and programs to help them transition to WSU.
During orientation, students are split into groups according to their majors. That helps them meet other new students with the same academic interests.
“(Orientation) is good because you get to know other people in your field,” said new student Angela Garcia.
Also, students learn how to navigate campus by going on a resource tour.
“The tour really helped me know where things are,” said Emily Ballock, an incoming freshman who admitted to being intimidated by the campus.
The orientation agenda includes lectures about finding jobs and getting work experience, student involvement, money matters and student exchange programs. Participants also learn about the importance of Shocker cards.
“Your Shocker card is a key that gets you access to services and facilities here at the university,” said orientation leader David Kidd.
During a recent orientation, Sandlin lectured about the technology available to WSU students such as their myWSU e-mail account, Blackboard and the Shocker Alert System, in which text messages can notify students of emergencies on campus.
Also, she discussed online social networking, warning students of the hazards of surfing the Web and advising them to keep their information private.
Orientation included a discussion panel for parents of new students, as well. A group of experts from the Student Health Services, Housing and Residence Life, Campus Police, Counseling and Testing and Financial Aid answered questions posed by parents.
“We also talk to them about academic expectations of their students,” said Sandlin.
Orientation was coordinated by Sandlin, who hired and trained a group of current student leaders from various organizations on campus who were responsible for directing activities.
The student leaders offered their advice to incoming freshmen and new students. Their advice incorporated study sessions, student life, getting involved with the cooperative education program and finding a parking spot.
“Commerce Bank has also been a great supporter of our programs this year,” said Sandlin. “They have donated WU binders for every new student as well as provided our staff shirts.”
Orientation is required for all new students who are degree-bound and have fewer than 24 credit hours if they are a transfer student.
According to Sandlin, there are four ways for students to complete their orientation requirement: a one-day orientation program, WU camp, an Intro to the University course or the Freshman Honors Retreat.
“Students will make critical connections with other students and staff on campus, which contributes to their academic and social success in college,” Sandlin said.