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What to know about this summer’s virtual orientation programs

May 13, 2020

NIU’s future Huskies have started preparing to join the pack this fall, and an innovative orientation approach is helping them feel confident about continuing their education.

By rolling out a previously announced transition to a virtual format online, Orientation and First Year Programs is positioning itself as a source of step-by-step outreach on all NIU has to offer.

“Our aim for virtual orientation is to be a conduit for information from NIU’s many departments across the university, so we can create a complete picture of the new-Huskie experience,” said Jenna Pracht, director of Orientation and First Year Programs.

Incoming first-year and transfer students will benefit from a four-part orientation sequence this summer — the Pre-Orientation Program (POP), online orientation sessions, a “Huskie to Huskie” live chat, and advising and registration.

Pre-Orientation Program

The Pre-Orientation Program is a self-guided online module — with an optional track available in English or Spanish for families who would like to experience orientation with their new Huskie. Students will receive reminders to complete POP at least two weeks before the orientation date for which they registered in MyNIU.

The program provides a helpful checklist to take students to the start of the semester, as well as tips to help them make the most of their upcoming orientation.

Online orientation sessions

Upon registering for orientation in MyNIU, students will have access to online orientation sessions leading up to and after the date students complete their advising appointment.

Meant to convey an overview of what new students can expect at NIU, this programming through PlatformQ will include both pre-recorded and live video sessions, moderated group chats and direct access to support materials like the OneBook.

Topics presented include:

  • Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and NIU’s Cultural Resource Centers.
  • Housing and Dining and OASIS (Student Government Association, the Campus Activities Board and Student Affairs).
  • Financial Aid and Scholarships and the Bursar’s Office.
  • The NIU Catalog and class registration in MyNIU.
  • The McKinley Deacon Davis CHANCE program, University Honors and NIU Athletics.

Advising and registration

As they explore online orientation sessions, students will receive an email from their advisor, who will schedule a virtual appointment via Microsoft Teams on the date they selected in MyNIU.

Advisors will help new Huskies plan academically for their first semester, after which they’ll be able to proceed with registering for classes in MyNIU.

Huskie to Huskie meetings

In addition to advising on their orientation date, students will join other new Huskies from their major’s college in a live chat on Microsoft Teams led by NIU student Orientation Leaders.

These Huskie to Huskie meetings will build excitement about life at NIU, and offer insights from a peer perspective on campus resources that will help new students find success.

“With programming throughout the summer in addition to a new student’s chosen date, this year’s orientation will provide students with continued and individually targeted outreach,” said Pracht. “These multiple touchpoints are critical since students will be getting to know NIU virtually.”

Students will receive emails guiding them through each step of their checklist, and orientation will culminate in welcome activities being planned just for new Huskies as classes start this fall.