During your first week you’ll be attending at least two
orientation sessions. One will be a university-wide first-year orientation,
parts of which may even include parents. Then, you’ll have a housing
orientation. If you’re in a special program, you’ll have an orientation
for that too.
Most orientation sessions last several days, and include
community building exercises and course selection. Your college will
definitely let you know what you need to do and where you need to
go. Write everything down, keep whatever the school gives you, and
pay attention. These sessions are designed to get you started on
the right track. If you’re sleeping during the session you’ll miss
out on important info.
Your dorm will have an important orientation session in
the first week, which is often mandatory. You will learn everything
about the dorm rules, how to set up your phone service, amenities
available to you, safety measures, and other important aspects of
living in your particular residence hall.
Dictionary of Terms for Your First Week
- Advisor: A faculty member (professor) or
academic advisor who helps you plan your academic direction.
- Academic Probation: If you don’t get good
grades, generally falling into “D” territory, the college will put
you on academic probation. This gives you a semester to improve
your grades. If you don’t, the college reserves the right to toss
you out for a term, a year, or permanently.
- Add/Drop: The “add/drop” period occurs during
the first week or two of classes and gives you the chance to withdraw
from or add classes with no penalty. After this period, you may
still add or drop, but you will be assessed a fee.
- Blue Book: When you take an essay-type test,
most professors require you to use a “blue book,” which is a small
blank booklet that you can buy at the college bookstore.
- Bursar: The Bursar’s Office deals with all
the money you pay the college (don’t confuse it with the Office
of Financial Aid, which deals with your loans).
- Core Classes: In the first two years of school,
most colleges require you to take specific classes in a variety
of academic disciplines.
- Electives: Electives are classes that you
choose, which may or may not have anything to do with your major.
- Fulltime Student: In most colleges, a fulltime
student takes at least 12 credit hours per semester.
- Resident Assistant/Advisor (RA): These are
juniors, seniors, or graduate students who live in the dorm to enforce
rules and help students with campus life.
- Registrar: The registrar’s office keeps track
of academic records and other student achievements. This is also
the office that registers you for classes.
The university will hold a general first-year orientation, which
you should definitely attend and which may be required. You’ll find
out about important dates, job opportunities, exciting things happening
for first years on campus, and anything else you need to know to
make the year fun and easy. You will have to register for first-year
orientation so that your school knows how many students are attending.