How to Prep for Summer Orientation

You might be the type of person who’s had summer orientation penciled into your planner for months now, or you might be the type who only has a vague idea of which week in July you’re supposed to show up at school. Either way, you’re going to want to stroll onto campus knowing at least a little bit about what to expect.

Summer orientation day (or technically, “days,” because you might be assigned one of many), is the day when new students gather on their college campus to learn how everything works and get “oriented’ to college life. Oftentimes, colleges and universities will have sessions that parents and new students attend together, and then they’ll have a few sessions where they split parents and students up to give them helpful and relevant information. You might learn about your residence hall, how the cafeteria works, register for fall classes, meet other students, meet professors, connect with your academic advisor, and get your student ID picture taken, among a host of other things.

Summer orientation day is exciting, so here are a few tips on how to make the most of that day.

1. Meet people and make friends

You’re going to be meeting a whole lot of people at summer orientation: you might meet your roommate or roommates, professors teaching classes from your major of choice, your orientation group. Don’t sit back and wait until you’ve actually moved into college—take advantage of the connections you make on this day and make a point to connect on social media later or exchange phone numbers.

The beauty of college is that you get a fresh slate to start anew and make new friends. Who knows? You might meet your best friend or make a connection that will benefit you for years to come. Be open-minded, ask good questions, and try to show the love of Christ in how you treat people and get to know them.

2. Prep yourself

A hearty breakfast, a refillable water bottle, and some good walking shoes will go a long way on orientation day. Depending on the campus you’re on, the buildings you need to be in for certain sessions might require a bit of walking or a ride on a shuttle.

Since you’ll be jumping from activity to activity, you’ll need your energy for all the information you’re taking in. Make sure to eat a good breakfast, but you should also get ready to enjoy some campus food because you’ll more than likely be dining on campus for lunch and potentially even dinner if your orientation lasts into the evening.

3. Ask questions

The whole point of summer orientation is to give you a chance to get acclimated to all things college. No doubt there will be a ton of information coming your way, and you might have questions along the way as you learn about different campus services.

Don’t be afraid to voice your queries! The campus staff, orientation leaders, academic advisors, and professors are all there to help guide you and answer any questions that you or your parents might have. Whether you’re wondering what classes you should choose, where a certain campus service is located, or if you’re curious about certain rules and regulations, your summer orientation day is a great time to ask these questions and learn.

4. Have fun and don’t stress

While it might be tempting to revert into your cell phone and scroll Instagram in awkward situations, don’t let social anxiety get the better of you. Reach out to others, and enjoy yourself!

If you’re more of the organized, Type A personality type, you also might feel tempted to stress out about all the details and particulars coming your way. Yes, there is certainly a lot of information to take in, but rest assured that if you miss something, you can always reach out to your orientation group, your R.A., or academic advisor by email or phone after the fact. Most colleges are pretty good about assembling vital information into a folder of some sort that you’ll cart around with you from presentation to presentation. Feel free to take notes, but again, don’t stress yourself out trying to get every detail down. Have fun! It might sound cliche, but this is the beginning of what of the best seasons of your life.