Fall orientation expands along with incoming class


Fall orientation programs mirror changes to summer programs and see more enrollment.


About 400 transfer students will walk on campus Tuesday for fall orientation, and another 1000 freshmen will follow on Wednesday for fall orientation sessions.

Students who could not make one of the summer orientation sessions attend fall sessions. Previously, freshmen and transfer students were streamlined into a two-day orientation session, but this year the University is splitting the two groups of students. Transfer students will have a four-day orientation starting Tuesday, and freshmen will have a three-day orientation starting Wednesday.

“There is going to be some overlap, but overall there is going to be a separation between the freshmen and the transfer students,” said Esmer Bedia, coordinator of orientation programs.

Bedia said this is the largest fall orientation the school has seen. Last year the University hosted a total of almost 1,000 students at fall orientation, compared to this year’s 1,400. She said this was part of the reason to split the freshmen and transfer students.

“But also, because our incoming class is so large, we could not accommodate a lot of students in the summer,” Bedia said. “We want students to still have a traditional experience as far as orientation is concerned, so we want to be able to meet their needs and provide them with resources and tools.”

This incoming freshmen class is estimated to be around 8000 students, which is a 900 student increase from last year’s class and may be the biggest UT has ever seen.

The University revamped fall orientation this year to model the changes made to summer orientation, Bedia said. For example, the University added time to the the college meetings where students learn about their degree program.

Summer orientation also introduced extra required programs, which Bedia said fall orientation will have as well.

Two required components are the Bevonomics and UTransform programs. Bevonomics aims to teach money management skills, and UTransform teaches skills to make the transition from high school to college smoother.

Bedia said students would also be able to attend a program highlighting the school’s traditions.

“The traditions program will get them ready for the University and excited,” Bedia said. “It was incredibly popular in the summer so we’re going to try to pull some of those components and offer them for our students.”

As part as an overall university wide effort to increase four-year graduation rates, the University made summer orientation more academically focused this past year. The University is striving to reach a 70 percent four-year graduation rate by 2016.

Bedia said the changes in the fall orientation were part of that continuing effort to increase the University’s four-year graduation rates.