Anitra McShea, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students (AM)
Shannon Murphy Fennie, Director of Student Activities and Orientation (SF)
Emmanuel Akpan and Brian McAvoy, Orientation Leaders (OL)
What is the overall goal of Orientation?
AM: Summer orientation ultimately provides a context to the collegiate experience at the University of Scranton. We try to give information poignantly to parents and students about their emotions, fears and questions about services here at the University. We try to be pretty comprehensive about this information and ideally in doing so, we prepare students and parents for the transition from high school to college.
SF: The overall goal is really to ease the transition to the University, and there’s several different ways we will be able to accomplish that.
For our parents, Orientation is vital in its how to help the transition from high school to college, how to help their student advocate for themselves and how to help their student live independently.
For students, Orientation is both socially and academically driven. We divide students by major and pair them with an orientation leader that is either in their major or in their college. This way, students can begin their academic journey while also interacting with their peers.
You have a chance to get some business done, but also a chance to get to know us in a really relatable way, knowing that your son or daughter is going to be here for the next four years. We want parents to leave feeling confident that we are going to do the best that we can for your student.
What is planned for parents over Orientation?
OL: Parents have a schedule packed with general information sessions, opportunities for their questions to be answered, and a parent social.
SF: We have one of the best parent programs that I’ve ever seen. I’ve worked at a couple different institutions and I think they look at parents as an afterthought. We see parents as an active participant in this four-year experience for our students.
We have a day and a half of programming for parents. I think the most important session is the transition talk given by Dr. Carilli, the Vice President of Student Affairs. He will speak about the transition between high school and talks very candidly about the challenges both students and parents will face during this time.
On the second day, we have Dr. Carilli hosts a panel discussion for parents. A range of people, from the Provost to the Chief of Public Safety will sit on this panel, giving parents the opportunity to ask questions as they desire. I think this is wonderful opportunity and shows how open we are as a university. It is important for parents to have their questions answered by the people that are going to be living every day with their student.
How should students get ready for Orientation?
OL: Students can prepare for the Orientation experience by making sure all of their paperwork is filled out before Orientation. They can fill out this paperwork through the my.scranton portal. This should make it easier for students once they arrive on campus for Orientation. During Orientation, your student will be assigned an Orientation Assistant, or OA, who will help them throughout the entire Orientation process and the rest of summer. Our Orientation staff is fully trained to assist students and parents with anything that they need.
Students should bring twin extra long sheets or a sleeping bag, pillow, toiletries, a change of clothes of the second day of Orientation, and anything else they may need for an overnight stay. In addition, a portable fan is a good idea.
What kind of attitude or mindset should students have during this process?
OL: A positive one. There is nothing stressful about Orientation. It is a great experience; the students will meet many new people and be excited for college when they return to campus in August.
AM: I think first and foremost, it’s important to not make any assumptions about the experience. It’s so important to be open-minded about this opportunity to get to know The University of Scranton community.