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New U of U Students Gear Up for Fall Semester

July 19, 2002 –While the University of Utah campus may be quieter during the dog days of summer semester, the U’s Office of Orientation and New Student Programs is working overtime to ensure freshman and transfer students planning to attend the U this fall come equipped with the information-and the confidence-they need to succeed.

All newly enrolled University students must complete orientation requirements in order to register for classes. Orientation costs are covered in a one-time, $70 student matriculation fee.

Incoming students can choose from a variety of orientation options. For an additional $150, 17-year-old Michele Baumgartner, a pre-med student from Costa Rica, chose to participate in Outback Orientation, a four-day orientation and team-building experience, held near the University’s faculty cabin in the Uinta Mountains. The students spent two days and two nights canoeing, playing games, performing skits, mountain biking, restoring and maintaining hiking trails and learning each other’s names. The third night was spent in the campus’ residence halls.

Baumgartner, a pre-med major who chose to attend the University instead of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says Outback Orientation provided her with useful information, including tips on planning her schedule to most efficiently manage her time.

Bret Kampf, an 18-year-old from Reston, VA, also attended Outback Orientation. As he prepared to leave the 73 other participants, a fellow camper and future dorm friend asked him to plan on trick-or-treating together in October.

“The thought behind an extended student orientation program like Outback Orientation is to let students connect with each other and build some key relationships before school starts,” says Gwen Fears, director of Orientation and Leadership Development. “At Outback Orientation everyone made a friend. Studies show that these types of programs help students feel more at ease as well as increase retention rates. Before students come to campus to begin school, it’s important for them to get a sense of what the campus is like and make connections to the campus community.”

Other University orientation options include a one-day intensive seminar; an online interactive orientation course; or, for an additional $80, a two-day/one-night orientation program held on campus.

Orientation sessions include a campus tour with lunch; an introduction to the University’s Academic Advising office; an overview of general education and academic requirements; information on how to access the student handbook and register for classes online; information on getting involved in student groups, setting up e-mail and obtaining a student identification card; and instruction on running a degree audit report, which charts a student’s progress in completing bachelor’s degree requirements. In addition to answering students’ questions, counselors, some of whom are University upperclassmen, help them register for their first college courses.

“Every orientation counselor told me to get involved in campus life,” says Kampf. “And to avoid scheduling 8 a.m. classes.”

The University had 27,658 students enrolled last fall semester. Since April, the Office of Orientation and New Student Programs has oriented 2,812 students. Late-admission orientation sessions will be held Aug. 8, from 8-11 a.m.; Aug. 12, from 2 to 5 p.m.; and Aug. 14, from 8 -11 a.m. For an additional $80, this year the office will offer a new overnight orientation program for out-of-state students who have completed the online orientation. On Aug. 19, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., an orientation program will be held for students who have completed orientation online but have not been able to attend an on-campus summer orientation. For more information on these University programs, call 801-581-7069.