Why Orientation is the Kit You Don’t Want to Pick-up

As Orientation teams work tirelessly to kick-off summer orientation programs and as others prepare for mass orientations in the fall the dreaded calls have already started. “I really don’t think I’m going to be able to make it to orientation… is there some package I can pick-up?” “My child is at the cottage for the weekend, it is the last weekend before school starts. Can’t they just pick-up some sort of handout?”  These questions are unfortunately actual examples of calls and questions received in my office every year at this time. 

It is both exceptionally frustrating and worrisome when students – or even worse their parents – try to make excuses not to attend one of the most critical transition moments in their child’s life.  So, whether you are a parent trying to give your son or daughter those last few minutes of childhood freedom or the student who just doesn’t see the value – here are 5 reasons why you don’t want to miss your orientation!

1. 6.7% Of World Has College Degree

Education is a privilege and so many people do not have access to the life altering experience you are about to participate in.  Would you not want to do everything you can to ensure you have an advantage to ensure success? I would.  

2. Your School will become a Home to You

Your university or college is going to be a central place in your life over the course of the next few years as you complete your respective credentials.  While you can glean many things from an excellent campus tour nothing rivals the information presented at your orientation program.  From service providers and academic coaches to campus events and student federations there will be dozens of eager people at your orientation ready to ensure you get the best information for the most successful start of term.

 3. Meet your Faculty

Each year more and more schools are adding program or academic orientation components to their programming. These can be incredible opportunities to meet research chairs, first-year professors, senior students and alumni who can share inside stories and strategies for a successful first year.   

4. Expand Your Social Circles

Whether it is meeting students who have the same academic pursuits as you or finding some new friends to join a club with, orientation programs are a hotbed of social activity.  Not only does the orientation program introduce you to the academic structure and expectations of your school but it also helps to connect you to social outlets to ensure you love every minute of the experience.  Who knows, you may even become one of those student leaders running the show!

5. Once in a Life Time Opportunity

While we all promote lifelong learning and many of us have studied at different schools, we all remember our orientation programs.  It is a transformative moment when you step onto your campus, greeted by welcoming staff and student leaders ready to welcome you to the next great adventure in your life. 

So rearrange schedules, postpone trips out of town or to the cottage and fight with everything you have to get to that orientation program because you just never know who you will meet or what you will connect to. 

Jeremy McQuigge

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada