Students Prepare for Virtual College Freshmen Orientations

Looking into the future, many universities are switching their freshman orientations from an in-person program to an online program to encourage safety and keep their reputations high. 

For those seniors that are moving on to a four or two year university, freshman orientation is an open door to a new beginning. Many students were supposed to travel to the colleges that they are attending in the fall during the upcoming summer, but due to the extenuating circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are not able to attend their in-person orientations. A number of Virginia colleges such as George Mason University, Christopher Newport University, and James Madison University have adapted to the circumstances and changed their methods for welcoming new students. 

For students attending George Mason University, orientation will look different than they were expecting. It is set up module-style. Students will receive a list of modules they must complete before entering campus in the fall. These modules consist of necessary information such as what to do on move-in day and how to get involved on campus.

“I feel like online orientation is less personal than in-person orientation. It will be hard to meet people, and it will be more awkward online,” said senior Fatima Awan. Awan’s online experience may be extended into the fall semester. “Mason held a vote amongst the options, and most everybody voted for online classes in the fall to increase safety,” said Awan. 

For those attending Christopher Newport University in the fall, orientation may be the most unique we’ve seen. They have set up weekly Google Meet calls with orientation groups beginning on June 14 and lasting until August 12. They have also mailed out a 90-page booklet regarding important information and frequently asked questions that may need to be answered before the start of the weekly orientation calls.  

“I think that CNU is doing the best they can to help get all the information or freshman orientation to us, but I really wish it was like every other way so we can experience it like everybody else and actually be at the school,” said senior Hannah Bulmer.

James Madison University is also approaching the class of 2024’s orientation program in a different way. They have sent out a booklet to the incoming freshmen detailing how they will be introducing each other to their future classmates and their new lives at JMU.

According to the booklet, there will be a Summer Springboard, which is their online orientation. The orientation is a one day program where you can “seek advice, information, and resources” about the university. Students will use the day-long program to officially choose their major and classloads.  

These are just three of the many universities that are having to make changes to their plans for the incoming class of 2024. Hopefully the incoming freshmen will be able to start their college experiences in dorms rather than at home.