Orientation isn't what you might be expecting

By Rob Taylor

Now that you have been accepted to a university or college, you may be wondering what comes next? Well, we wrote a whole article for our last Next Step issue of the SchoolFinder.com Newsletter about how you should prepare for your upcoming academic year. But you may also be wondering what exactly will happen at school that first week before classes during orientation events or weeks.

Most schools will have some sort of orientation process for students to go through. This might consist of a visit to the school during the summer, if you are able to make the trip. Some schools might invite not only their future students, but also their parents to these orientation sessions.

At the vast majority of schools, you will be invited (in some places, participation is mandatory) to an orientation session at the school in the fall. Many schools will use this as an opportunity to give students a more in-depth tour of the campus, to introduce students to faculty members and administration and to go over some school policies and procedures. Occasionally, faculties or departments may put on similar events specifically for students in their programs.

No doubt you have seen television shows and movies depicting hazing rituals and crazy events that happen in the first couple of weeks of school. While some of those things do happen, orientation at most universities and colleges is a very well organized event, with efforts made to include activities that everyone will enjoy. Humiliating and dangerous events are discouraged and, at most schools, banned outright.

There are many reasons why schools and student councils hold orientation programs. First and foremost is getting new students comfortable in their new surroundings and knowledgeable about the layout and structure of the school. Second, they want you to get to know your fellow students. Some of the best friends you’ll have throughout your school career and maybe even for the rest of your life will be made during orientation activities.

The third reason orientation activities are held is to help instill school spirit and pride in your school. Activities might include dressing in school-related clothes, going to a university sports game and learning school songs.

But mostly, orientation is held to let you know that you are welcome at the school and to show you that not only is school a place to learn and prepare for the rest of your life, but also to have fun!

Some school orientation pages:

Capilano College
     - http://www.capcollege.bc.ca/prospective/counselling/orientation.xhtml

Memorial University of Newfoundland
     - http://www.mun.ca/student/answers/orientation

Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology
     - http://studentlife.mohawkcollege.ca/or_main.html

Red Deer College
     - http://www.rdc.ab.ca/orientation

Simon Fraser University
     - http://www.sfu.ca/studentlife/orientation

University of Alberta
     - http://www.su.ualberta.ca/su/businesses_and_services/csd/orientation

University of Toronto
     - http://orientation.sa.utoronto.ca

University of Waterloo
     - http://www.orientation.uwaterloo.ca

Modified on April 23, 2009