Who’s ready for college?? I know that once I graduated high school that I couldn’t wait to go off to college. Orientation is the first step for many starting college. At orientation, you will do things like:

  • Meet with an academic adviser
  • Register for classes
  • Get your ISUCard
  • Explore campus
  • Learn what college has to offer

It’s spread out over 2 days, so you have plenty of time to get everything done. Let’s walk through what orientation will be like, and I’ll share some of my personal experiences with you!

DAY 1:
You get to campus between 8-10:30 a.m. and park east of Maple-Willow-Larch Residence Halls (don’t worry, there are signs EVERYWHERE and plenty of people to help guide you). I’m pretty sure my family was so anxious that we got there right at 8. You then head across the street to the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center. Cyclone Aides (red polo and khakis) give you an overview of what to expect and help you plan out your days.

Since we got to campus early, I decided to get my ISUCard and Net-ID/E-mail all set up right away. I didn’t have to wait in line, which could be a problem if you wait until the last minute when everyone else is trying to get theirs. I would highly recommend getting it done right away! Plus, then you can allocate your time to do other fun activities.

If you get to campus early, there are sessions that you can attend like how to understand your UBill (where you will pay tuition and other fees that you charge to your account) and about financial aid. These two sessions are also offered on Day 2, so if you arrive a little late or feel like exploring campus instead, feel free to do so!

There are multiple tours of campus that are available too. You can do a campus tour, residence hall tour, fraternities and sororities tour, and Parks Library tour. These are all great ways to learn more about campus and get another look at where everything is at. It’s also a good time to ask any questions that you may still have about campus, classes, or anything regarding college life. You are then on your own to eat lunch on campus at one of the food courts or venture off to Campustown. I wouldn’t suggest leaving the campus/Campustown area for lunch because you will run out of time and then feel rushed.

The rest of Day 1 orientation is mandatory because the stuff you will learn is pretty important! You will arrive at your college’s University Welcome to highlight all the important things you will do on Day 2. You will then have academic meetings and activities for a couple hours that will include how to register for classes and requirements for graduation. Registering for classes was probably my favorite part of orientation because it makes everything so real. You are finally able to make the decisions on what classes you want to take! Your advisers will help you with this on Day 2 to make sure that you are meeting all the prerequisites for future classes and that you are on the right path.

You will then have dinner at UDCC. From there, students and their families are separated for about two hours into sessions that will benefit them separately. Both sections will get to meet with the Dean of Students Office and Department of Public Safety. By being separated into groups of students and families, you will have the opportunity to ask questions without feeling out of place. When this session is over, you will have a munch and mingle to meet other families and have a little snack.

To conclude Day 1, students attend evening recreation at Lied Recreation Athletic Center. You can participate in any activity you wish and it’s a fun way to connect with fellow students! I remember playing Apples to Apples the whole time and just having a blast. Our game got so big that we had to break apart into smaller groups so it would go faster! I would highly recommend attending this.

DAY 2: 

Day 2 is relaxed like Day 1, where you have plenty of options to decide what you would like to do. Sometime throughout the day, you will meet with your adviser to actually register for your classes. Also, if you haven’t gotten your ISUCard and NetID, DO IT ON DAY 2!!!!

There are three new sessions offered on Day 2. Two of them are for families and include Key Topics for Family Members and Families in Transition. Key topics include moving in to your residence hall, selecting a meal plan, safety, and AccessPlus overview. Families in Transition talks about what it’s like to send your child off to college while answering any questions or concerns. The one for students only is How to Survive Being New at ISU. This gives you another chance to meet other new students and give you tips on college life. Sessions like Financial Aid Overview, University Billing and U, tours of campus, residence halls, fraternities and sororities, and recreation facilities are also available for you throughout the day.

Before you head back home from orientation, be sure to check out the Resource Fair. Campus and community reps will be there to give you all the information you need about their services for you and other activities you should know about. This is also the place where you can register for Destination Iowa State (DO IT!!).

And that’s the end of orientation! Before you know it, classes will be in session!! Orientation is an exciting time, be sure to take it all in and ask any questions you may still have. Once you get to campus, you will have a few days of Destination Iowa State to become accustom to things like CyRide and navigating your classes. Get ready Cyclones, the best is yet to come! 🙂

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