If two nights and two days can make your head spin, these might be the two. Orientation, is not a bad thing, of course; it is just the amount of information you and your student will take in at that time that can get a bit overwhelming. I believe the first orientation I spent taking pages of notes, marking things I wanted to talk with my daughter about later and highlighting things I wanted to keep close in case situations came up that may make those notes useful (ie: tutoring, healthcare, safety on campus…. honestly they touch on everything you can imagine and many things you haven’t yet.) Later I learned that parents took pictures of the slides – much easier. Besides, you will get to keep the packets they hand out.
My other kids went to other state schools, so I expected orientation to be the same. There were some differences though; the first being that I expected all students would stay on campus, while the parents stayed at a hotel. (Check out our blog on hotels here.) Believing this was a great way for our students to begin to meet new people and get a feel for their “new home,” I signed my daughter up to stay in the dorm. When I went to sign her in at Lake Claire, I was surprised that not a lot of kids were staying in the dorms and there wasn’t much planned. This was a bit of a disappointment and not necessarily a great way to start, but all went well anyway.
Time of Their Own
Just so you know, you will not be spending most of those two days with your student regardless of where they stay; they have their own sessions. You will, however, be reunited when it is time for them to register for classes. Try to discuss what classes your student may want to take before orientation by reviewing the Online Course Catalog and Undergraduate Catalog prior to attending. There is very little time to chat when an advisor actually sits down to enroll them. Remind them that whatever they end up with does not necessarily have to determine what they study for the next four years. This seemed to leave some students in a panic, which in turn if you are anything like me, becomes the parents’ worry as well.
Take the tour and maybe even bring a tape measure so you will be better prepared when you begin shopping to fill that dorm room. Dress comfortably, bring a sweater (it gets very cold), and bring snacks and drinks (it can get long, and I, for one, like to nibble all day long and although there are plenty of places to eat around there, I was hard-pressed to find healthy snacks). Walking shoes are recommended for the tour. Bring an umbrella. It always seems to rain at least once a day in the hot months. Welcome to Florida.
A great deal of what the students cover will require they have access to their student portal. Have your student bring everything – forms that you will have filled out in advance (check your list), ACT/SAT/AP/Dual enrollment scores in case any overrides are needed at registration. Make sure they are aware of their passwords, etc. Bring any medical forms, copies of insurance cards, etc. you may need.
Be sure to read our blog on meal plans, although this was another surprise to me – many students don’t sign up for meal plans. The dining rooms are generally a long walk away from their dorms and they can use Knight Cash to eat anywhere on campus.
Set up banking if you are interested in it. UCF’s banking provider is actually a credit union, Fairwinds. Their Fairwinds card can be used to buy food on campus, but so can a debit card. I chose not to go this route and stick with our Bank of America account. It is just easier for both of us to access and with the Knight Cash being refillable at all times, it seemed less complicated. If your student will be receiving Bright Futures or financial aid, it can be easier to have it direct deposited to a bank account or Fairwinds.
Items to Bring
Your student will want to bring comfortable clothes, a pillow, sheets, a bath towel, shower shoes and a blanket, a jacket or sweater and, of course, their toiletries. Many of the girls bring duffles to hold all of their belongings. I remember getting my daughters a Vera Bradley duffle because that’s what college girls use. They still use it to this day for weekend trips or trips home when they do not need to bring a suitcase.
Ready to Go?
And, of course, while you’re there, head over to the campus bookstore or an area retail store and start stocking up on Knights apparel. My favorites are Walmart and Target. The prices on all your UCF gear will be far less expensive. You can always resort to black and gold clothes to start, but truly you do not want to be wearing black in the stadium when it is hot – and it gets really hot. Face it; you’re going to need them because you too will soon be a Knight fan.
There are a Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Cafe Bustelo and Einstein’s right there on campus should you need a pick me up at some point in the day. This is not to imply that orientation is boring, but it is long. Orientation ends around lunchtime the second day. Don’t fret if you don’t make it to every single break out session.
Possibly the most exciting part of the two days is when your student gets their ID; making them feel very official.
Click here for more information on UCF orientation. Register early; dates fill quickly. Here are the most recent dates.
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