Due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, Minnesota State University, Mankato has decided against the traditional orientation program for incoming students, instead looking to take orientation online.
In years past, orientation for both parents and students has taken place on campus, for many, even including an overnight stay in one of the dorm halls. This gave incoming students an opportunity to make friends as well as get to know the University a bit before moving in completely.
Rather than visiting campus during the summer, incoming freshmen will be completing online modules to learn about the University. Students and families will also have the opportunity to participate in virtual presentations and gatherings. These are created with the purpose of informing them on campus resources as well as helping smooth the transition into University life.
Incoming freshman Julia Barton was excited for the in-person orientation but understands why it had to change. Barton was signed up for the first available orientation date in the summer but had to change plans due to the circumstances.
Barton was especially disappointed to miss out on the time on campus. She said, “I definitely feel like I’m missing out on the hands-on experience to walk the campus as a student for the first time.”
To make up for lost time for creating connections with other students, the University plans to enhance ‘Welcome Week’ for the freshmen class next year. This will give incoming students a better opportunity to make friends and build the new relationships.
Online orientation will launch on May 18. This will be launched on the University’s online learning platform, and new students can complete it at their convenience. Incoming students will, however, have to complete this orientation in order to be eligible for advising and registration.
“I think that even though we’ll have to register online instead of in-person, it’s the best [the University] can do as of right now, and hopefully we’ll be able to attend classes on campus in the fall,” Barton said in reference to online registration.
Header photo by Mansoor Ahmad/MSU Reporter.