How Do I Get the Most Out of an Orientation Session?
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How Do I Get the Most Out of an Orientation Session?

At the commencement of each course, the institution in which you have enrolled runs an all-important orientation session for new students. Many students – either unaware of the importance or just not quite focussed at the time – miss the opportunity. It is vital that you attend and focus from the outset. The orientation session will provide you with invaluable insight into the institution and course of your choosing.

As the name suggests
The orientation session is usually set up to ensure new students get all the important bits and pieces related to their course. As the name suggests – the session/s are designed to orient the new student – not just about the course itself but also about the context of the award and the institution at which you are doing the course. Often the session/s cover significant ground – and not all of it essential knowledge at the outset – but what is important is you will know where to go to get the relevant information if the need arises. Hence, the name – orientation.

Attend the session either F2F or online
Over the last couple of years, in particular, the option to have an online orientation has emerged across the country (across the world for that matter). The advantage of the F2F option (if available) is that you can interact with the presenter and ask any questions that can usually be resolved on the spot. The advantage, though, of the online option is that you can replay the session over and over to assist with the detail you need – and the recording can be kept on file for future reference should you need an update.

Consider all the elements
There is always a significant amount of information packed into an orientation package and presentation – much of it is legislated by state and federal government. So, it is vital that you look at all the elements – and then unpack them as you best see fit. Usually, the content ranges from information about the organisation, the setting, the state, and finally the actual course.

Ask for clarification when and as required
Do not hesitate to ask for clarification if a matter of interest is not fully explained or obvious. In the F2F setting it is often simply a matter of ‘putting your hand up’ and being acknowledged. In the online environment use the eCommunications tools provided – email contact/bot/chat line. Either mode is effective – the online though has a number of advantages including flexibility, the ability to review and ongoing contact and support opportunities

Be there – be present – orientation is better than dis-orientation
Most importantly be there – be present – do not allow yourself to be disoriented. Understanding rules, regulations, policies and the like are really quite important. If you get your head around them from the outset – your journey, academically speaking, will be so much better and less complicated. Without a doubt, it is so much better to be oriented rather than disoriented.

Please see the video.


Emeritus Professor Greg Whateley is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor of Group Colleges.