UH mandates orientation

Incoming freshman and transfer students with fewer than 15 credit hours will be required to attend orientation before being able to register for classes.

While the mandated orientation sessions are designed to assist students with pre-enrollment procedures and acquaint them with student support services and student life activities, some students feel a mandatory orientation may not be best for all.

"I’ve gotten phone calls from people trying to avoid orientation," Assistant Dean of Students Myra Conley said. "If this is the new philosophy of UH, we have to uphold that. "

Summer 2008 marks the first mandatory orientation session, decided on two years ago by deans, faculty, administrators, staff and students from various campus departments.

"We had a task force assembled in 2006 to revamp the programming. This year is the first year it has been done because we did not have the technological support to keep track of (attendees) prior to this year," Conley said.

Once admitted to the University, students are mailed orientation information and are given the choice of a two-day conference for $120.00 or a one-day session for $60.00 – both containing a combination of lecture and interactive activities. Guests are allowed to attend the one-day conference for free, but a $20 fee is added for any adult guest attending the two-day conference.

The orientation agenda consists of teaching University basics such as academic advising, campus recreation, a residential life and†housing experience program, as well as a session dedicated to financial aid and scholarships. Faculty-advised registration is also offered.

Art junior David Dawkins said the only reason he attended orientation as a transfer student was because it was the only way he could meet with an advisor before registration.

"I already knew what college was about and I had already done my research, but the only way I could meet with an advisor face to face was to go to orientation," Dawkins said.

Business freshman Eric Brunson said his orientation conference covered a lot of information he already knew.

"All I really remember was sitting in that room for about four hours and they just lectured us on stuff we should have already had done, like financial aid and making sure you got your math placement test in," Brunson said. "Things you really should have done before you even came to orientation, which really defeats the purpose of it."

For business junior Bryan Miller, however, freshman orientation was an invaluable experience.

"I personally met a few people in orientation I’m still friends with today, so it’s very helpful," Miller said. "All freshmen should be able to get a feel for the campus before they start classes. It’s important they come and get all of the information they need."

Orientation is offered through August; however students who apply after the application deadline date are not exempt from the conference. Students admitted up to the first day of classes who did not attend summer or previous semester sessions are still mandated to fulfill this requirement.

"There are late conferences in the fall for students who did not attend, and still need to," Conley said. "It is mandatory for every single student and they will have to pay (the fee)."

All fees will be added to the individual’s PeopleSoft account and are non-refundable once the orientation deadline has passed. To avoid registration mishaps temporary holds will be placed on students’ accounts until their advised registration session is concluded.

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Additional reporting by Christina Hildebrand

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