Welcome new students!
Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer so far! Too bad this summer vacation is going to be over in a month, but soon you will be starting a new chapter of your life at the University of Minnesota so you should be excited! :D
I have been working as a Transfer Student Ambassador (TSA) at the new transfer student orientations over the summer. It's a great opportunity not only for me to meet new transfer students and connect with them, but also for YOU to make friends in the same college and get your questions answered! So today I would like to let you guys have a sneak peek of what this orientation is all about for those who are going to attend the orientations in August.
As a transfer student myself, I tried to get as many resources out of the orientation programs as I possibly can because I wanted to take the full advantage of what this university offers to students. I am pretty sure most of you transfer students are thinking the same way. This whole orientation might be information-heavy for some people, but make sure you remember those resources and utilize as much as possible!
STEP 1: Check-in (7:45 – 8:30 am)
First thing you will do at the orientation is to check in. You’ll get a bag with a handy-dandy Goldy book and a U of M planner inside, as well as your orientation schedule. Immigration check-in will happen right after that, bring copies of your I-20, passport picture page, and visa/entry stamp to the Mississippi Room on the third floor of Coffman Memorial Union. ISSS staff will be there to greet you and review your documents.
STEP 2: Orientation in Great Hall (8:45 – 9:30 am)
You will be able to learn about resources available at the U such as academic support, transportation, and extracurricular activities (research, student organization, etc). Transfer Student Ambassadors will also lead discussion activities, which is a perfect chance to ask questions to TSAs and get to know other transfer students on your table!
STEP 3: College meetings (9:30 am – 2 pm; it varies)
You will be escorted to a specific building where you can meet your academic advisor and discuss your class registration and graduation plan, which is the primary reason why you have to attend this orientation. Make sure to prepare some questions you want to ask your advisor beforehand! As you can see in the picture below, I will be escorting students in College of Liberal Arts (CLA) on East Bank. When you are done with your meeting, you can come back to Coffman to have lunch and pick up your U card.
STEP 4: Chat – n – Chew (11 am – 2 pm) ; Optional
You will be given a lunch voucher which you can use either on East Bank or West Bank. Transfer Student Ambassadors will be hosting a Chat – n – Chew lunch session in Great Hall in Coffman (East Bank) and Blegen Hall (West Bank) where you can have lunch with us and ask ANY questions you may have! Last year at my transfer student orientation, I didn't have a chance to meet TSAs at Chat-n-Chew because I was waiting for my college meeting on West Bank (and we didn't have Chat-n-Chew on West Bank last year). I ended up having lunch with some random people I first met (which was so awkward!). I guess my orientation experience could have been much better if I had been able to attend the Chat-n-Chew and talk to TSAs, so make sure to stop by either at the Great Hall or Blegen Hall! Don't eat alone :(
STEP 5: Campus Tour (12:30 – 1:30 pm; 2:00 – 3:00 pm); Optional
After having lunch with TSAs, you can join an East Bank Campus Tour with one of our TSAs either at 12:30 or 2 pm. You will be able to see most of the important buildings on campus. Last year, I missed this campus tour (because the weather was so bad) and regretted so much! It took me awhile to get used to this extra big campus and I had o rely on Google Map for the first two weeks of the semester trying to find buildings. So this is a great chance to walk around the campus and get yourself familiarized! Below is the picture of Alan, one of our TSAs, when he was was giving a tour with me during the orientation in July. It was the hottest day of the week so we had a group of less than 20 people, but we usually have more than 30 people in our tour. You will also get to see the University Recreational Center (gym) during this tour as you can see in the picture on the right!
STEP 6: Final part of immigration check-in(3:00-4:00pm)
For the final part of Immigration Check-in, students will have to come back to the Mississippi room at 3pm where there will be a presentation from one of the ISSS advisers. The presentation will cover information regarding things to know in the first couple of weeks as well as Immigration Regulations Review.
STEP 7: Check-out & Pick up your U-Card
You can check out at the information booth anytime before you leave. Also, don't forget to pick up your U-card at the U-card office outside the Great Hall in Coffman!
This was a general overview of what your transfer student orientation would be like. What I really would like to say is that we would love to not only answer your questions but also share our own transfer experiences! Me and Alan are both international students (he's from China though) so please don't hesitate to talk to us!! We all are so excited to meet you all and get to know you better! Above is a picture of Transfer Student Ambassadors that you will get to meet at your orientation, so come say hi to me if you read this blog :) See you all soon! :D