Student orientation programs shift ‘Directions’

4/21/2009 | By: Jon Fortenbury  |

Undergraduate student orientation will undergo a complete revamp this year. Now titled “Directions,” the freshmen and transfer student orientations will focus more on the entire undergraduate college experience than just the first year of college.

“I believe strongly in the program,” Cairn Lindloff, director of new student initiatives, said. “…they’ll (students) become prepared to be successful students and be on track for the next four years to cross that stage at graduation.”

In June and July of 2008, multiple forums and discussions were held in regards to student orientation. Open to students, faculty and staff, these discussions led to the new format of the student orientation program that will be implemented for the first time this year.

“It’s an exciting program,” Lindloff said. “There are so many opportunities to talk about the great things this University does.”

For about the past decade, both freshmen and transfer student orientation took place the Thursday and Friday before school began in August. This year, the orientation dates occur during the summer.

“When you’re giving them (students) that information a few days before school, it gives them culture shock,” Lindloff said. “We’re trying to alleviate culture shock.”

The freshmen student orientation program lasts for two days this year, with the students staying overnight in residence halls and receiving on-campus dining. The transfer student orientation will now be an all-day event instead of only a few hours like it has been in previous years.

The Office of New Student Initiatives runs the program now instead of the Office for Prospective Students. Their goals for “Directions” include establishing a plan for campus success that leads students through their years in college, providing awareness of University resources and programs, creating academic connections for students with advisors and/or faculty, assisting in transitioning to the University, and more.

There will be smaller groups at each orientation this year than in previous years, due to more orientation dates available. Each session will contain a maximum of 250 students.

“I like the smaller sizes of the programs because it allows for increased student interaction and allows students to connect to campus,” Lindloff said.

For parents participating in “Directions,” the program provides information and assistance as they experience their student’s transition to college, resources towards obtaining more information throughout their student’s time at the University, knowledge of campus resources for their student, and more. The sessions parents attend run parallel to their student’s orientation.

Incoming freshmen and transfer students will receive postcard information in late April. To find out more information and to see the orientation dates, visit the “Directions” website or contact Cairn Lindloff at (775) 784-4306 or


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