Myths About College Orientation

Your orientation will most likely have a LOT going on, from overnight dorm stays to first semester course selection. But you may have heard quite a few myths about this event at the same time. Here are a few of those debunked.

Myth: Parents Aren’t Allowed At Orientation

This “myth” absolutely depends on the school. While your parents aren’t welcome on your specific student orientation, the college may actually have a separate orientation for the parents. Sometimes these schedules even coincide with the students, so you may be able to get lunch together or attend a session with one another.

Not all colleges offer this orientation for parents, but the ones that do hold a variety of sessions. Some help parents with the transition of their kids moving out of their house as well as helping them understand financial aid, campus life, academic requirements and campus safety. They can also put your parents in touch with contacts at the college. This is a great opportunity for parents to understand the school their child is attending.

Myth: You Can Skip Orientation

In most colleges, orientation is mandatory. Some schools may give you exceptions or excuse you under certain circumstances, but most colleges will require you to go.

And there’s really no reason to skip this important introduction to your new college. It gives you the opportunity to become comfortable at the school, create your first semester schedule, sleep in the dorm rooms, choose a dorm room, and make friends. Some schools also require that you take placement tests for certain subjects.

Always check with your school’s rules before deciding to skip orientation. It may hurt you to not go. Once you can select a date for orientation, do so as soon as possible. Ideal dates tend to fill up fast.

Myth: Orientation Is All You Need To Prepare for Freshman Year

Orientation is an absolutely great way to help you prepare for your college life, but it will not be all you need. It’s a relatively short event, sometimes 1-3 days, so it can’t really give you the experience of being away from home the entire time. And while sessions during orientation may help you understand financial aid, they don’t complete these tasks for you.

In addition to orientation, you’ll also have to plan your move to your dorm, what you’re going to pack, and how you’d like to set up your meal plan. You also will need to plan ahead for textbooks as many colleges won’t have this available to you during orientation.

Orientation is a must attend event for most students, where you can learn just what you need for your upcoming four years at the college. Remember to look into the literature they send you about the event to understand exactly what you’ll need to attend, if there’s a separate orientation for parents, and what sessions and activities will be taking place. If you have any questions at all, you’ll want to contact your new school.

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Hilary Cairns

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