Learning the ins and outs of a new college can be a daunting experience. However, incoming freshmen and transfer students are getting a chance to familiarize themselves with California State University, Dominguez Hills before their first semester by attending one of the 12 new student orientation (NSO) sessions during the summer, which began in June and are available through August 22.
Registering for classes may well be one of the top concerns for incoming students, and NSO provides freshmen and transfer students guidance through the registration process during group academic advisement sessions. This component of NSO is vital for freshmen, said Arlene Valdez, alumna (’09, B.A., communications) and NSO coordinator for the Office of Student Life (OSL).
“First-time freshman won’t get to register for classes until they get that advisement hold lifted and that normally won’t happen until they come to orientation,” she said. “That’s why our early sessions are really full—everyone wants to come early and get their classes and not have to worry about it.”
More than 2,000 freshman and transfer students are expected to attend NSO this summer. Most sessions are for a general student audience, but a number of special presentations tailored to the needs of specific groups of students have been organized, such as for transfer students, who have different concerns than first-time freshman; students in Equal Opportunity Program or Encounter to Excellence; United States veterans or dependents of veterans; as well as a session for parents of first-time freshmen, and international students, who have additional considerations such as visa compliance issues.
Because a college campus can be somewhat foreign to most new students, in addition to academic advising and registering, NSO provides a tour of the campus, as well as guidance with navigating the online tools MyCSUDH portal and Blackboard. Students also receive their student identification card and participate in two of several NSO workshops offered, including registration 101, which covers such essentials as adding and dropping classes, and one on financial aid.
“A representative from financial aid gives students brief information about grants and how to accept the awards. A lot of students are not aware they have to accept,” Valdez said.
The day is also their first introduction to key administrators. Students are welcomed in person or via video by university Interim President Willie Hagan, Provost Ramon Torrecilha, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Sue Borrego, or Dean of Students Sonja Daniels.
Beyond the essentials of academic life, NSO familiarizes students with on-campus activities outside of the classroom that can provide a well-rounded and memorable college experience while helping students develop social skills and presenting them with opportunities for volunteerism.
“A club organization on-campus helps you with your resume. If you’re involved in school, most likely you’ll be involved at work,” said NSO student team leader and junior criminal justice major Manuel Pelayo. “Potential employers will look at that.”
“NSO is a good program to go to if you want to know more about college life,” added Pelayo, himself a past NSO participant. “I came in as an upcoming freshman and I didn’t know anything about college. New student orientation helped my transition to a new school life.”
For more information on new student orientation and how to participate, contact the Office of Student Life at (310) 243- 2081 or visit www.csudh.edu/student-affairs/student-life/.