Student Orientation Day—How to Prepare


As soon as high school is over, students go off to their college of choice for orientation day. So much information is shared in one or two days that sometimes you cannot even remember what was shared.  Here are some tips to do prior to going to orientation day that might help understand what is presented and enjoy the day!

Completion Records

Letting the high school counselor know where you are attending college is important so the final transcript can be sent to the admissions office. Final proof of high school completion and grades for senior year are reviewed by the colleges. Without the document, you may not be able to register for courses. Make sure your high school has submitted the final transcript.

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For students who have a learning plan such as an IEP or 504 document, you may want to send a copy to the admissions office or the learning center at the college. For medical needs, the health and wellness center may be where the document needs to be sent. Make sure your student takes a copy to college as it is up to the student to advocate for their needs. Keep in mind that colleges have different policies regarding providing accommodations so talking to the admissions representative regarding support ahead of time might not be a bad idea!

High School Exams

If you took Advance Placement exams, you should log in to and release the scores to the college. Colleges are different on their policies in awarding college credit. Regardless, make sure you have sent the final AP exam scores to the admissions office as it will be on record.

Medical Records

Doctors are at capacity with student physicals, immunization and health records requests for students at all school levels. Colleges require that immunization and health records be sent in immediately so the student can register for the semester. Don’t wait too long to get the doctor’s appointment to complete the required forms.

Course Selection

Besides going from one information session to another during orientation, students will often take a placement test and begin course selection with an advisor. For other colleges, this process of placement tests and course selection is done online. Placement tests are benchmark assessments usually in English and math that show what level of the courses you should take in college. Do your best!

Once the results are available, an advisor will meet with you to select your courses. Make sure you have gone on to the college’s website and downloaded the course catalog. In front of every area of study, you will find an outline of courses and credits. After the outline, there usually is a description of each course.  Keep this information handy throughout the college years as it will be your guide for course selection.


If you are residing on campus, you should have sent back the roommate questionnaire with a deposit for housing. If not, get it in or there might be a problem with availability! If you have, then soon, if not already, you will meet your roommate(s). In some colleges, students are in a suite with more than one roommate and a common living area for socializing!

Connecting with your roommate ahead of time is important. Share your likes, how you study, borrowing items and set common expectations to respect one another in the dorm. Having these points talked out ahead of time is important to reduce conflicts in the long run.

For parents, talking to your home insurance company regarding rental insurance is a recommendation.  Insuring student items in the college dorm room is a smart way to protect items.


You may have decided to stay home and commute to college. Colleges have a student activities/life center where you will find information about activities as well as all types of support. Student centers are a great way to meet other students or a place to spend time between classes. Commuter students should also be involved in college. Clubs and organizations are just as important to commuting students as they are for those who reside on campus.

Getting Involved

You may encounter a college club and organization fair during orientation or when classes begin. It may be overwhelming to try to figure out what you would like to join. Before going to orientation, go to the college’s website and search for clubs and organizations. Read through each of them and identify the ones that are of interest. This way you can visit those tables to begin with and have a great conversation with the student representatives.

Getting organized and going through the information before you attend the college orientation day is important. I am sure I missed many items, but hopefully the tips above will assist you with an easier process so you can make the most of the day!

Dr. Deborah Hardy is the founder of GuidED Consulting LLC. To learn more, call Dr. Hardy at 914-721-3591.

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