|New-student orientation offers personal touch
RELEASED: April 28, 2005
DANVILLE, KYAs the anxiety about which college to attend begins to subside for high school seniors who have made their decision, a whole new set of worries emerges for them and for their families. What happens when I get there? Will I know where to go? Will I make friends? How will I register for classes?
Incoming freshmen at Centre College are fortunate, because the College has a program in place to alleviate some of that transitional stress.
Prior to the beginning of fall term, more than 40 student orientation assistants (OAs) will join faculty and staff to help incoming freshman acclimate to Centre and being away from home.
Centre's OAs lead freshman discussion groups, assist with academic advising with the help of a faculty member, plan ice-breaking activities and help students move into their residence halls. Most important, they know Centre inside and out and want to make the new students feel comfortable.
"Orientation is just a lot of fun," says junior Mary Jo Tewes, a double major in English and Spanish from Bromley, Ky. and a chief OA. "It allows the new students to make a variety of new friends in their first week and keeps them busy so that they don't become paralyzed with homesickness. The academic programs give students an idea of what to expect from classes and lets them know what resources are available to them. There are also social activities that help students bond with others on their hall and in their orientation group."
In addition to information sessions, special events this year include a picnic at the President's home, dessert and book discussions at professors' homes and the annual Service Plunge to introduce students to volunteer service and the new community.
"Orientation is a time when students and parents are introduced to the faces of Centre so they'll know who to contact when questions arise," says Mary Gulley, assistant dean of advising at Centre. "We know that it takes more than a week for newcomers to know Centre fully, but through the orientation program we hope to give everyone a good foundation from which to get more information later."
Centre also offers programs for parents. During summer orientation, Kathy Miles, a licensed marriage and family therapist, offers a custom-tailored session on the transition for parents when their children leave for college.
The new friendships and personal attention do not end with the beginning of classes. OAs, faculty and staff encourage new students to keep in touch.
"Technically the OA position is only for the first week of school, but I always let the freshmen know that they can contact me any time they need advice, help, or just someone to talk to," says junior Rebecca Bush, an English major and third-year orientation assistant from Brooksville, Ky. "Many of them have taken me up on the offer. I had a guy two years ago who e-mailed every week for everything from advice on professors to girls, his roommate, and just life in general. Some of the girls I worked with are among my closest friends, and they went on to be OA's and RA's themselves. It's a great cycle."
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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Danville, KY 40422
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