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Orientation. Sarah Ganson and Jen Van Ewyk. What is Orientation. “Any effort on the part of the institutions to help entering students make the transition from their previous environment to the college environment and to enhance success in college” (Overland and Rentz , 2004, pp. 245).

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Sarah Gansonand Jen Van Ewyk

What is orientation

What is Orientation

“Any effort on the part of the institutions to help entering students make the transition from their previous environment to the college environment and to enhance success in college” (Overland and Rentz, 2004, pp. 245)

Orientation at a glance

Orientation at a Glance

  • The Ohio State University

  • Miami University

  • Elmhurst College



  • Share your Orientation experience!

Best possible orientation

Best Possible Orientation

  • http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/08/19/best-possible-orientation-winning-free-tuition

Historical context

Historical Context

  • First Orientation related program

  • 1-day Orientation program begins at Boston University

  • First College Life Course at Reid College

    • University of Michigan, University of Washington followed

  • Orientation directors met in Columbus Ohio

  • First overnight Orientation for both students and parents



  • Pre enrollment or Orientation model

  • Freshman Day/Week Model

  • Credit Course Model

Principles of good practice

Principles of Good Practice

  • Engaging students in active learning

  • Build coherent values and ethical standards

  • Set and communicate high expectations for student learning

  • Use systematic inquiry to improve student and institutional learning

  • Use resources effectively to help achieve the institutions mission and goals

  • Forge educational partnerships that advance student learning

  • Build supportive and inclusive communities

  • Programs should be responsive to new student population

Professional competencies

Professional Competencies

  • Must be advocates for a holistic student experience

  • Sensitivity to complex issues associated with students growth and development

  • Must have strong understanding of diversity in todays students

  • Skill base that allows Orientation Professionals to plan and implement programs that are educationally purposeful

  • Must have ability to work with a variety of constituents

  • Credibility and respect across institution

  • Juggle multiple tasks, projects and decisions

  • Calm and enthusiastic



  • Technology

  • Extended programs

  • Identified learning outcomes

  • Assessment, accountability and learning

  • Required Orientation programs for all students

  • Retention and student success initiatives

  • Nature of student body and diversity

  • Involvement of parents and families



  • Friendliness of faculty

  • Traveling to summer programs

  • Many offices interested in getting time

  • Repetitive information

  • Family members

  • Time restrictions

  • Are first year students ready?

  • Proving success through orientation

  • Changing demographic of students

Challenges that specific universities face

Challenges that Specific Universities face

  • The Ohio State University

  • Miami University

  • Elmhurst College

Professional associations and resources

Professional Associations and Resources


  • National Orientation Directors Association

  • Association for Orientation, transitions and retention in Higher Education

  • Started in 1948

    • 24 directors met in Columbus Ohio to share ideas on orientation programs

    • Officially a chapter in 1974


  • American College Personnel Association

    National Resource Center: First Year Experience and Students in Transition

Noda internship

NODA Internship

  • NODA Internship:


Potential job

Potential Job

  • University of North Carolina: Chapel Hill

    • Associate Director of NewStudent & Carolina Parent Programs

    • Plan and implements Orientation Programs for University North Caroline: Chapel Hill



  • Orienting Parents

    • http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/confessions_of_a_community_college_dean/orienting_parents



  • What are your initial thoughts?

  • How do you think parents affect a first year students ability to transition into college?



  • D. Novak, personal communication, September 12th, 2013

  • N. Craven, personal communication, September 12th, 2013

  • Overland, W.I., Rentz, A.L. (2004). Orientation. In F.M, & Associates (Eds), Rentz Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education (pp. 239-267). Springfield Illinois: Charles C. Thomas Publisher LTD.

  • S. Johnson, personal communication, September 11th, 2013

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