Orientation is getting acquainted with one’s environment, acquiring the sense of how to navigate new surroundings and obtaining the knowledge of how to access resources needed for one to succeed. College life is a hassle for any student and locating where one is required as well as finding resources proves to be a challenge especially for new students. College orientation is specifically designed for new students to enlighten them on what they need to know in order to enable their college experience to be a breeze. Orientation at Minnesota State University is handled by the office of New Student and Family Programs which is under the department of Student Affairs and the process is not only informative but also fascinating.
Jeremy Riesenberg, the Assistant Director of Orientation and Transition programs states that the office houses a multitude of various divisions mainly geared towards any new student at MNSU.
“New students can be anyone from a transfer student to a completely fresh student out of high school student looking to further their education in college,” Riesenberg said. “Our main goal is to be a one-stop shop for students and family to acquire the resources needed to progress, act as a guide through the process of coming to college and always be present as well as reliable to new students throughout their first years in college or more.”
The office of New Student and Family Programs usually takes on students after they are admitted and connects them to the resources and services, as well as opportunities, they need at MNSU.
There are different types of orientation that the office of New Student and Family Programs offers, according to Riesenberg. First, there is the New Student Orientation for any new entering student, typically fresh out of high school. Second, there is the Transfer Orientation for students transferring to Mankato from various colleges or from the military. Finally, there is the Online orientation which is strictly for students in an extended education program, who are either doing an online only program, taking only online courses or are taking an online class from a partnership school to MNSU and will never physically be on campus.
The New Student and Family Programs office, once students are admitted to the University, is responsible for various things, such as reaching out to incoming students, reminding them that they are required to sign up for classes, and hiring all the students who work as Orientation Peer Assistants (OPAs) in the summer.
“My big role entails a lot of event planning, scheduling, as well as supervising of a ton of activities,” Riesenberg said. “Orientation is basically a way to get students to get acclimated to the university.”
The office also aids the international office in registering international students for classes, since OPAs are already conversant with the process, thus there is a good relationship between the two offices.
One of the major goals that New Student and Family Programs hopes to achieve through orientation is that students feel prepared to start school and are certain that they made the right choice by coming to MNSU.
“In the office, we feel that even after the short two-day process of orientation, it’s still [an] ongoing [process] as we still do a lot of outreach and act as a guide for students throughout their first semester or even longer at the University,” said Riesenberg.
Apart from orientation of new students, the New Student and Family Programs office also has a separate orientation for parents.
“Parents also tend to pay attention to certain details and openly ask questions as they have cooler nerves during the different orientations throughout the day,” said Riesenberg. The New Students and Family Programs office also keeps in touch with parents and families to inform them of events happening on campus and keep them in the loop of things at the University.
The New Student and Family Programs office also plays a huge role in working with the undecided student population, as most of the staff takes part in advising. The office also plays a role in recruiting high school students and getting them interested in taking credits at MNSU and has a person who runs that division. The office plays a huge role in the retention of students and enabling them to achieve success throughout their entire college experience.
The office of New Student and Family Programs is dawned with a task that is truly challenging but its rewards are of unmeasurable capacity. The office seeks to enlighten and acclimatize students to college life at MNSU, allowing them to progress elegantly and turn their big ideas into real-world thinking that truly makes a global change.