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.

Housing Orientation

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.
First-Year Orientation

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.

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