A major registration error was avoided early this semester due to freshman orientations becoming mandatory and filling up faster than anticipated. The error would have stranded students with an academic hold that would prevent them from registering for classes.
Mandatory freshman orientation is new this year, replacing the previous “Webstart” program that allowed students to complete an online tutorial prior to registration. Marketing materials were sent to new students to notify them of the change.
“Students historically have always attended orientation in a much higher volume in July and August,” said Kris Coles, Director of New Student Orientation. “We realized that because of the academic hold associated with the orientation, students would not be able to register for classes without attending.”
“There was a concern that a number of students were enrolled at UVU but had not yet registered for classes. As a department, we had to find a way to make orientation quicker and more accessible in order for those students to register,” Coles said.
Although sessions were maxing out, the student orientation department made an online orientation available to all students. This online orientation was able to lift the academic hold of the students who otherwise would have been unable to register for classes.
“I believe we mitigated what would have been a really difficult challenge for students to get into orientation and register for classes. The online orientation certainly helped in this situation and will also offer students in the future an alternative to attending in person,” Coles said.
The new student orientation is meant to assist students in connecting with the campus and understanding what it means to be a college student. According to the returning freshman student survey, freshman orientation was the number one reason why students decided to continue their stay at UVU.
“Freshman orientation is a way for students to get familiar with the campus and see what services are offered here. As a new college student, it can be tedious to find out what is expected of you without knowing where on campus to get help. Some students may find that online orientations work better for them, but personally- I prefer face-to-face interaction,” said UVU freshman Ethan Lipscomb.
Not all students feel the same way about freshman orientation, however. Some believe that freshman orientation shouldn’t be mandatory for all new students, even if the information is useful.
“When I first started at UVU I used the Webstart method which I didn’t even like at the time. I think the online orientation is probably the same thing. Some students may want the information offered to them in that way, but I don’t think all students should be forced into watching a 40 minute presentation either online or in person,” said junior Ben Kodra.
Although the reactions from students have been mixed, freshman orientation will continue to be mandatory for all new students throughout the coming years. Multiple access methods will stay available in order to prevent registration issues and make the orientations more accessible to all students.