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Your child has been accepted to USF! Congrats! The dates of Summer/Fall Orientation may be found here. The first thing you need to do is to sign up for Orientation. Both you and your student will have two days of taking notes, filling out paperwork, and getting yourselves familiar with the campus. Orientation can be an overwhelming event because lots of information is being thrown at you in a short amount of time. So, remember to breathe. Don’t panic, like I did, about remembering every phone number, code, and the piece of advice that the school gives you. It will all be there on their website if you need them. I did make notes and highlighted things that I especially wanted to go over with my child in detail (like health care, tutoring, safety…) It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the many slides you will be shown. To orient yourself best, sit towards the front to see better.
For orientation, your child is required to stay overnight in an on-campus dorm. You, on the other hand, must set up lodging on your own. They will get a list of things to bring including a sleeping bag/bedding and toiletries. Both of your days will be busy and you won’t see your child much, if at all. There are housing tours offered during orientation, which I found helpful as well.
Their day starts off early to check in and move into their housing, and day one ends around 10:30 p.m. They have many informational sessions, ice breakers, meal breaks, and also a night-time bonding event. Your day will start early as well, and end around 7:00 pm. Both you and your student will also have optional sessions you may attend if interested during the two days.
The grand finale (for your student) of orientation is registering for their classes for summer and fall. Try to discuss what classes your student may want to take before orientation by reviewing the Online Course Catalog prior to attending. There isn’t much time to chat with an advisor when they sit down to enroll, so having an idea of a learning path helps. Remind your student not to worry if they don’t get that ideal schedule. There is always drop or add where they can change their schedule during the first week of the semester. I think it’s good to remember that whatever they end up with does not necessarily have to determine what they study for the next four years.
Some other suggestions:
Meal Plan – I suggest you read our blog on meal plans to get some ideas of choices. You can register for the plan of your choice at orientation.
Banking – USF’s banking provider is a federal credit union. A checking account is free for students who also have a debit card. That card can be used all over campus just like any debit card. We personally chose to keep our daughter’s account at our home bank. It is simply easier for us since our accounts are linked. For out of state students, it is smart to check out opening a Florida account. If you are unsure, wait until you head home and you can always open one later.
Make your hotel reservations early. Rooms will fill fast. Head over to our hotels and restaurants blogs for suggestions.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You will do a lot of walking and Tampa will be hot. But, bring a light jacket as some rooms will be cold. Also carry a small umbrella, because again, Florida!
What to Bring – Your student will want to bring comfortable clothes, pajamas, a pillow, twin sheets or sleeping bag, a blanket, bath towel, cell phone charger, a jacket or sweater and, of course, their toiletries. Many of the girls bring duffles to hold all of their belongings. For other items to bring, click here. 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.
And of course, to really orient yourself, head over to the campus bookstore or an area store and start stocking up on Bulls apparel. Items are cheaper off campus, but the bookstore, next to the Marshall Center, has an amazing selection of all things USF.
Click here for more information on USF orientation.
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