Up to 5,800 admitted freshmen will visit campus for orientation in June. Accompanying them will be an estimated 8,500 family members. The first of 20 two-day sessions begins Monday, June 1; the final session concludes on Wednesday, July 1. On either end (May 29 and July 2) is a one-day orientation session for transfer students.
Each freshman orientation session accommodates up to 300 total would-be students and their families from three of Iowa State's undergraduate colleges. The College of Engineering will participate in 17 of the 20 sessions; the College of Design will get its orienteering tasks accomplished in five sessions.
While orientation isn't mandatory, students participate in large numbers. New student programs director Liz Kurt said that a year ago, between June orientation and a "just in time" August orientation, 98 percent of Iowa State's fall 2014 freshman class participated. For some, it's a chance to affirm a decision made months earlier. Others are still shopping.
"About 35 percent of our orientation students last summer didn't attend a formal campus visit previously," Kurt noted. "We have students using orientation to make their decision about whether they're coming to Iowa State. Families make their summer vacations out of a series of orientation events."
Orientation students travel from as far as California and Florida, Kurt said.
What they'll accomplish
Orientation students will get an introduction to their home colleges, meet their academic advisers and register for fall classes. They'll get their ISU Cards, Net IDs and email accounts; learn how their UBill works; and get lots of advice from current ISU students on transitioning to college life. Numerous tours are available to them, including campus, residence halls, sorority or fraternity houses and Parks Library.
Where they'll be
Orientation families will park in the lot east of the Maple Willow Larch residence complex and check in at the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center. Those who are staying overnight on campus will stay in Maple Hall. The colleges will use auditoriums in Hoover, Design, Troxel, LeBaron, Gerdin and Kildee halls for their large group afternoon events. Other locations that will receive heavy use include the Curtiss auditorium (financial aid and university billing sessions), Durham Center (Net-ID and email registration), Beardshear (ISU Card processing and financial aid appointments) and the Memorial Union (resource fair, day sessions for family members, housing tours, meals, shopping and evening sessions). Visitors will take their evening meal in the Union Drive Community Center and breakfast in either the MWL Commons or the Memorial Union.
Road and sidewalk closures on Beach Avenue and Wallace Road will alter how orientations guests navigate campus this summer. CyRide's orange (campus circular) route detours east on Lincoln Way from Beach, heads north on University Boulevard and south on Wallace Road. Kurt said she will staff a crossing guard at Lincoln Way/Beach during morning hours to help guests make the counter-intuitive south crossing of Lincoln Way to catch a bus to central campus. Pedestrians will be advised to move toward central campus from the Hixson-Lied center through the Richardson Court corridor.
Orientation students will carry red string bags; family members will have oatmeal-colored canvas bags bearing the university nameplate.
"We're serving 35 percent more undergraduate students than we were five years ago," Kurt said. "We hope the campus community will be courteous, kind and helpful to them."