Orientation staff prepares to welcome 6,000 new students

Liz Kurt and her new student programs team are preparing to welcome about 6,000 admitted students, and their family members, to campus during 22 orientation sessions next month. Most of the students are would-be members of this fall's freshman class; an estimated 400-500 are transfer students. They'll come from as far away as California and New York to launch their college careers -- or, in some cases, to continue to ponder their options.

"Coming for orientation doesn't mean they're enrolling at Iowa State," Kurt said. "Some of these students are still looking at multiple schools."

Relocations to note

Orientation students may be looking for these services, which recently moved:

  • IT Services' Solution Center, 192 Parks Library (Net-IDs, email accounts, student computers)
  • Residence staff, 136 Union Drive Community Center, for the summer (housing contracts, meal plans)

Of the 5,800 prospective freshmen attending last summer's orientation sessions, Kurt said 32 percent hadn't previously made an official campus visit. Some of those "have always known they wanted to come to Iowa State" -- and a campus tour wouldn't change that. For others, it adds some weight to their orientation visit.

And can the campus community help persuade them?

"Yes. Be helpful, be kind," Kurt said.

When they'll visit

Transfer students participate in a one-day orientation on Monday, May 23, or Friday, July 1. Incoming freshmen, in groups of about 300, participate in a two-day orientation. The first of 20 sessions begins Tuesday, May 31; the last one concludes on Thursday, June 30. Two sessions begin on Sunday this year, June 5 and 26.

What they'll get done

Orientation students will receive 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 about financial aid options and how their U-Bill works; and get lots of advice from current ISU students on transitioning to college life. Several student affairs offices hold open houses and ISU choir and marching band representatives are on hand in Music Hall. Numerous tours are available to them, including campus, residence halls, sorority or fraternity houses and Parks Library.

Locations they'll use

Orientation families will park at the Maple-Willow-Larch residence complex and check in at the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center. Those spending the night 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), Solution Center in Parks Library (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.

Orientation families will move about campus on foot and on the CyRide orange shuttle. As in the past, you'll recognize orientation students by their red string bags; family members will have oatmeal-colored canvas bags bearing the university nameplate.