By Brittany DeKorte
Most every student at Washtenaw Community College knows that orientation, in one form or another, is required. New student orientations are used by many colleges and universities to introduce incoming students to their campuses, to meet with fellow students, and show them the resources available to them.
This year, WCC has overhauled its orientation process. “Starting this past July, we redesigned orientation. Previously, groups of students met in a room for two hours. There were small group activities, and three speakers; one faculty member, and two student ambassadors.” Julie Catanzarite, the manager of New Student Programming, said.
“Now, our orientation room is a mini computer lab. New students meet one on one with an ambassador for about a half hour. They are shown how to access their school email, apply for financial aid online, and how to work blackboard. They can ask any other specific questions, , and if they have met with an advisor, they can register for classes.”
Mateo Piper, a liberal arts transfer student, has been a student ambassador with orientation since May 2016, and has gone through both orientations. “I really enjoy this new orientation. I feel the individualized attention helps the new students feel comfortable asking questions. When you’re in a big group of people, it’s really easy to hide in, or get lost in, the crowd,” Mateo said.
“One of the most significant factors impacting student success is student engagement; investing time and effort in meaningful activities,” Evan Montague, the associate vice president for recruitment and student enrollment said.
“The changes made in new student programming/orientation are designed to assist students not only from their starting point, but throughout their educational experience. Early student feedback is overwhelmingly positive and working with the student ambassadors provides each student with a personalized approach helping new individuals get a great start at WCC.”
At WCC, all students except ESL students are required to at least go through an online orientation once they have been accepted by the school. Students must also attend an in-person orientation, unless they meet the criteria for an exemption.