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Orientation Opens Doors for New Students

Orientation Opens Doors for New Students
Orientation adviser Jennifer Whitty leads incoming freshmen in the Southern California spell-out.

“You’re about to learn one of our favorite Trojan traditions,” announced an orientation adviser on the stage of Bing Theatre. “Everyone get ready for the SoCal spell-out!”

Over the next few minutes, laughter coupled with shouts of “S-O-U-T…” as hundreds of incoming students struggled to master the traditional tongue-twisting chant. It was the evening of a freshman orientation session, and the excited attendees were getting their first taste of the Trojan spirit.

“I’ve been learning a lot about the songs and traditions here,” said Alessio De Falcis, an incoming freshman from Austin, Texas. “I feel like I’m becoming part of the school now.”

This summer, during the months of June and July, Orientation Programs hosted seven freshman orientation sessions and two transfer student sessions, allowing thousands of incoming students to begin their new lives as members of the Trojan Family. The two types of orientation sessions differed slightly in focus to cater to the varying demographics of students.

“Transfer students are a more diverse group in terms of age,” said Stephanie Vieira, an orientation adviser and junior majoring in public relations. “We don’t speak to them about the transition from high school to college, like we do with freshmen, but about family life, transportation and balancing school work with a job.”

Despite these differences, a number of workshops and activities were the same for both sessions. By showcasing the variety of academic programs, campus services, student services and organizations at USC, orientation helps incoming students explore all the opportunities available to them. Especially valuable to both transfer and freshman students was the chance to meet one-on-one with academic advisers.

“The sessions are so personalized,” said Jake Richardson, a pre-med transfer student. “There’s information in handbooks and brochures, but here you can actually start to pursue what you want to do, and the staff helps you. That’s the best part.”

Other highlights included a faculty showcase, small group discussions about student life and walking tours of campus.

At the freshman orientation, advisers also performed enactments of significant campus issues to address some of the typical concerns about housing, roommates, family balance and academic workload. Parents attend both transfer and freshman orientations and are encouraged to voice their questions and concerns in workshops.

“Everything was very detailed,” Richardson said. “I think a lot of people found it extremely helpful and are excited to start. Personally, I can’t wait until fall.”

Orientation Opens Doors for New Students

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