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4 Tips for Your Post-Pandemic Student Orientation

Jessica Fischer

Jessica Fischer

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COVID-19 introduced countless roadblocks for schools when it came to student orientation and getting the semester started.

Now that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, most universities are back to in-person orientation, with a new set of challenges for administrators and students alike.

Between ensuring student safety as classes return to campus and getting students plugged in after 18 months of virtual learning - administrators have their work cut out for them.

How can you ensure the success of your post-pandemic student orientation?

Here are our 4 tips to make your post-pandemic orientation as seamless as possible.

1. Provide the right resources and tools they need to succeed

College is a time of significant change even without a pandemic. Some students are eager to be back in person, but some may be anxious or uncertain about returning or coming to campus. Change brings about uncertainty, and giving students all the resources available to them will help ease them into this new season. Whether it’s a student engagement tool, counseling services or the resource center - giving your students the right resources can help your students feel empowered and prepared.

Feeling equipped to handle the challenges of the past 18 months head-on will ensure your students stay connected and engage in curricular and co-curricular activities.

2. Get your students plugged in and engaged

Whether they’re returning to campus after a year of online college or a first-year student, orientation programs are a great way for students to connect and get plugged in. Orientation is a pivotal part of the student experience.

Whether they’re returning to campus after a year of online college or a first-year student, orientation programs are a great way for students to connect and get plugged in. Orientation is a pivotal part of the student experience.

Many universities designed unique welcome-back activities to ease the post-COVID transition for everyone, so encouraging your students to stay plugged in on their student portal, in their co-curricular platform and social media can help students get engaged right away.

Have your students jump into a group going to a game together, attend the activities fair, or sign up for a virtual event - like a scavenger hunt or trivia night. As an added bonus - you can require participation, therefore ensuring your students are attending orientation events and getting involved.

Feeling connected will ease the return to campus and help students feel less alone during this new phase.

3. Offer choices that provide balance and options for everyone

Focusing on “getting back to how things were before” can make it easy to overlook changes that the past 18 months have created. While many people may have felt isolated throughout the pandemic, classes moving online forced many students to adapt to more free time, fewer distractions and a new way of learning. It’s important to offer a balance of online and in-person activities that meet all your students’ needs in a way that feels safe for everyone.

If you’re looking for some digital engagement options, think about …

  • University trivia

  • Social media livestreams

  • Digital scavenger hunts

  • Chatrooms

  • Gaming groups


4. Ensure there’s follow up after orientation ends

Whether your orientation is two days or five - it can feel like a whirlwind for new students or students who haven’t been on campus in over a year.

Put the people and processes in place that ensure no one falls through the cracks. Things like: orientation groups, creating a Facebook group or assigning a staff or student leader for each student can ensure continued support for new or returning students. In turn, your students will feel invested in, heard, and supported. 

Although it’s been a rollercoaster for your students, with a combination of support and the right tools, students can have a successful and meaningful transition back to campus.

Bringing It All Together

Now that you have some ideas for student orientation and further engagement, how do you keep the momentum going after orientation ends?

Keep up the communication with students as they make their way through their journey. Having technology, data and a good communication system throughout the semester is key to ensuring students stay on track and avoid falling through the cracks.

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Jessica Fischer

Jessica Fischer