By Katie Wornek, Outreach Officer and Financial Aid Expert – July 1, 2017

college fair questions

It’s already July, which means, if you are attending college this fall, you’re probably feeling very excited and a little bit anxious right now. The new school year is right around the corner, and whether you’re just starting college or transferring from another institution, you will want to (and may be required to) attend new student orientation before school begins. Here are five things you can look forward to at your orientation…

1. Get familiar with your campus.

Did you know Georgia’s Berry College has the largest campus in the world? In fact, they have so much land and so few students, you could scatter each student equally across campus, and every one of them would have 12 acres all to themselves! While none of Utah’s institutions rival Berry’s 27,000 acres, we have some sprawling, beautiful campuses in our state. Taking classes on campus usually involves walking. A LOT. Save yourself some steps and some time by getting a tour of your campus before your first day of classes.

2. Connect with mentors.

Orientations are often conducted by students from various campus offices, groups, or organizations. When I attended orientation at the University of Utah, a third-year student named Quentin from the on-campus housing organization led my group. A year later, I joined that organization and had the chance to work alongside Quentin on a ton of fun projects. And, even though he moved to the east coast to attend graduate school, we remain friends to this day! Engage with your orientation leaders – they could become the mentors who provide guidance throughout your college experience.

3. Meet new friends.

Every person attending new student orientation will have one basic and obvious quality in common: they are all new! You might feel uncomfortable, nervous, or out-of-place during your orientation and during your first few weeks of school. Take comfort in knowing that most people around you are probably feeling the same thing. Make an effort to get to know at least a handful of peers. If you don’t feel like stepping that far out of your comfort zone, Drew Dudley shares a story about new student orientation in his Ted Talk that might help.

Meet New Friends

4. Learn fun facts.

If you’re anything like me, you LOVE collecting interesting (but otherwise potentially useless) facts. During my orientation, I learned that the University of Utah is the state arboretum. It houses nearly 100 different species of trees. You can find identifying plaques on trees all across campus, and you can even take a tour of all of them! For some reason, that information stuck with me all these years later. Even if trees aren’t your thing, you’re bound to learn something new and interesting about your school during orientation.

5. Get answers to your questions.

Maybe you have thought of a million questions since the day you got your acceptance letter. On the other hand, maybe you have no idea what to ask before the first day of the semester. If you need help thinking of questions to ask, you’re in luck – we made a list!

Act quickly – many of Utah’s colleges and universities have rapidly-approaching orientation deadlines. Once you check orientation off your summer to-do list, you’ll be one step closer to officially starting your college journey! Learn what to expect from and how to sign up for your school’s orientation here:

Katie Wornek - Step Up Utah Outreach Officer and Paying for College ExpertKatie is an Outreach Officer with UHEAA and StepUpUtah. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Political Science from the University of Utah and previously worked as a tutor with the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) college preparatory program. You can follow her for professional advice about preparing and paying for college on TwitterInstagram, and Snapchat (@StepUpKatie).