Northern Kentucky University has changed its student orientation program for prospective freshmen looking to join the NKU community in the fall.
Formerly called Transitions, the student orientation program has been given a face-lift, enabling students to receive more exposure to campus. For this reason, the new orientation program is being called Northern Exposure.
“It was changed because orientation can be used as a recruiting effort as well as a retention effort. We are still recruiting students to get them to register here,” said Amy Arbino, assistant dean of students, student orientation and parent programs. “If their orientation is positive, it will retain those students and they will register for the fall.”
Northern Exposure has taken the old orientation program and bulked it up. Freshmen students, excluding those in the honors program, are required to complete a two-day orientation program to register for fall classes. Those students in the honors program have a one-day orientation set up in April but can choose to attend the two-day event if they would like.
“We have had some people decline the one-day session to attend the two-day session,” Arbino said.
Of course, there are some people who do not want to spend the night during the two-day session, and those cases will be worked out on a one-to-one basis.
“We will talk with the student and try to get them to understand what it would mean to them if they did stay, but each case will be handled separately,” Arbino said.
The students will be permitted to stay overnight in University Suites. Each student will have a roommate, but the housing arrangements have not fully been ironed out. For out-of-town parents needing a place to stay overnight, NKU has a list of hotels that welcome NKU guests with a reduced rate.
During the two days of Northern Exposure, prospective students and their parents will walk through a series of programs and lectures about NKU. “Parents want to be involved with the orientation program, so we have designed a program for the parents as well,” Arbino said.
None of the times are finalized yet, but students will be able to learn about the university, get their All cards, receive their summer reading program book and receive a class T-shirt.
A campus carnival is scheduled for the first day of the program in which parents and students can have some fun on the plaza of the university center as well as having carnival-type food for lunch.
Along with the speakers for the orientation program, a handful of student leaders have been selected to help with orientation. After a long interview period, the orientation staff selected students who have good leadership skills and an extensive knowledge of the university.
“These students will act as RAs during the overnight portion of the program as well as leading small group discussion,” Arbino said.
Orientation is an important way to keep students informed and to help ease the transition between high school and college. Some of the goals of the new program are to promote student satisfaction and academic success, to reinforce the student’s decision to attend NKU and to provide assistance and advising when registering for fall semester classes. Orientation is designed for students to meet new people and establish relationships before classes start. It is about getting freshmen acquainted with the campus and their surroundings.
“Freshmen students learn what professors expect from them at the college level,” Arbino said.