Chinese freshmen kickstart their USC experience
At the May International Kickstart programs in China, 115 incoming freshmen not only received an introduction to life at USC and a personal welcome from Vice President for Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson, but they also got a jump start on registration.
“The programs were outstanding,” said Jackson about the sessions that a team of Student Affairs staff members held in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. “They were well-organized by the Orientation office, and the parents and students who attended were very enthusiastic about attending USC and participating in the Kickstart program.”
Orientation Programs developed Kickstart to serve undergraduate international students who are enrolling in growing numbers. The program featured an online advising and registration system and marked the first time students abroad were able to register before International Orientation takes place on the USC campus in August.
“This was an opportunity for us to actually pair up international students with their academic advisers through an online chat session,” said Tom Studdert, director of Orientation Programs, who coordinated the online components at USC. “Every student registered and left with a full schedule.”
The goal of Kickstart was to welcome students to the university. “We want to show that we really do value the students coming from overseas,” said Chrissy Roth-Francis, associate director of Orientation Programs. “We want them to feel comfortable and more confident in coming here, to teach them about academic standards and to actually register them for classes.”
In each session, the Kickstart team gave presentations to students and their parents about the academic, residential, Los Angeles and campus experiences. Parents learned about resources and ways to support the incoming Trojans, and they also asked questions.
“I like that we got to meet the parents,” said Melissa Turk, program manager of Orientation Programs. “To have them actually talk to staff and specifically Dr. Jackson was a huge benefit.”
Jackson delivered the university welcome and closing, answered questions and invited parents and students to email him with any questions.
“It was nice interacting with the parents and seeing their enthusiasm about their students’ choice of college, willingness to meet other parents and pride at what their students have done in high school to earn admission to USC,” Jackson said.
In each city, five to six Orientation Leaders, who are current USC students living in China for the summer, led small-group discussions and ate lunch with the new students.
Ben So, a junior business administration major who worked as an Orientation Leader at the Hong Kong session, appreciated the incoming students’ enthusiasm and questions. “The students were able to connect with each other,” he said. “They were happy to make some USC friends before they land in Los Angeles.”
As an Orientation Leader in Shanghai, sophomore business administration major Anna Lin enjoyed talking with students and parents about being a Trojan. “It was a great mixture of learning and fun,” she said.
In Beijing, Orientation Leader Vicky Meng, a junior accounting major, answered questions about the transition to college life. “There were many student leaders and professional staff from USC, so students and parents were able to get that one-on-one attention,” Meng said.
Despite the challenges of planning sessions in other countries and coordinating a new Web advising and registration component, the programs proved a success.
“The online advising, course selection and registration process gave students an even stronger sense that USC is a first-class and cutting-edge institution,” Jackson said. “The work Chrissy Roth-Francis and Tom Studdert did in advance was superb, as the process went smoothly for students and advisers.”
Said Roth-Francis: “I feel like it kickstarted my own Orientation summer, so I am really excited to move on from here. It was a great first few sessions for us.”