NSSFO announces plans for fall orientation, academic advising, and course registration programs

Greetings Campus Colleagues! 

The New Student Services/Family Outreach (NSSFO) office, in partnership with the Academic Advising Center (AAC) and Registrar’s Office, would like to announce the Fall Quarter 2021 orientation, academic advising, and course registration programs (OAR programs) will continue to be offered via virtual/online delivery. While Western has not yet decided on the format of instructional delivery for Fall Quarter courses, the format of our OAR programs is coordinated separately and with the summer months in mind, and we are excited to begin our planning process and welcome new students and families to Western. 

While the past year brought unexpected challenges in shifting the programs to online delivery, it also brought unexpected opportunities and outcomes. The virtual delivery offered new students and families earlier and more equitable access to critical preparation and planning information. Additional financial hardship with extra travel-related expenses and family program fees was eliminated. Students and families explored information about academic majors, campus services, and task checklists in self-paced timeframes, reducing the stress of “doing it all once.” As a campus, departments were also not limited by a specific set of days in which they could connect with students and families.  


Program Name Updates for 2021-22 

We are making the final move to sync up the names of the quarterly programs, moving fully to “Fall Orientation, Advising, and Registration” (or Fall OAR, Winter OAR, Spring OAR, Summer OAR). Particularly, as the advising and registration process can be different quarter-to-quarter for new students, using program names related to a student’s starting term will bring improved navigational clarity for them, and is a small adjustment for us.  Each quarter will continue to have specific dates for the Advising & Registration sessions that new students can sign up to attend. As we have done in the past, we will continue to offer session dates for specific populations (Transfer, Post-bac, and First Years--Freshmen/Running Start). 

So, as we let go of using “Transitions” or the old “Summerstart” terms as program names, we invite campus partners to please review your websites and correspondence and make updates as well. We are busy updating our website, too, including a new Welcome New Students landing page with a simplified navigational model for students to follow.  


Fall OAR 2021 Overview 

Similar to last year during our Fall program, departments will have a range of opportunities to generate offerings and connection points for orientation, advising, and registration support for new students and families. Orientation resources, such as pre-recorded informational videos or live webinars, will be posted and available for students and families year-round on the Orientation website, and we will soon begin updating this website with offerings for the 2021-22 year.  

Fall Advising & Registration sessions will include small group and 1:1 settings to receive academic advising and course registration support. These Advising & Registration (A&R) session dates are important to note as new students often seek contact with academic departments to complete their course planning and registration processes during these days. (We are in the process of setting dates for the Fall 2021 A&R sessions.)    


Fall OAR 2021 - Department Options to Connect with New Students & Families 

  1. All Departments: Pre-Recorded Video Presentations – departments may pre-record a video presentation about your department’s information, offerings, services, staff, majors/programs, etc. These videos offer students and families a self-guided and self-paced opportunity to review and digest information about your department. They are great vehicles for not just communicating information but telling the story about who you are and how students connect to you!  

  1. All Departments: Live Events – departments may offer live events such as webinars, interactive presentations, or ‘meet-and-greet’ type of informal or social events for students and/or families. These events can be a one-time event or a series, and we can schedule them across late July, August, and September. 

  1. Academic Departments: Academic Department Advising – academic departments should prepare to provide live/synchronous departmental advising during the Advising & Registration (A&R) sessions, most significantly for the new transfer and high credit first-year student A&R sessions, to ensure students are getting necessary major/minor related advising. (A&R session dates TBD.) 


Fall OAR 2021 - Campus Next Steps! 

  1. Identify a point person to coordinate your department’s OAR offerings and serve as a contact. 

  1. How would your department like to participate in Fall OAR? Please complete this Fall OAR Campus Interest Form by Friday, February 19, and we’ll follow up with specifics on formatting, resources, and further deadlines for your selected options. 

  1. All finalized videos and event information will be due by Friday, May 7 so we have time to build our corresponding websites and communications. 

Communications with new students and families will begin in mid-May. The Orientation website of offerings, as well as the reservation system for students to sign up for an A&R session, will open together in early June.  

We want to unveil an amazing array of offerings and hope you’ll join us! While this past year has been a difficult journey for everyone, we are heartened by the excited and hopeful energy that is still present with colleagues as we launch this year’s planning efforts. We’re also excited to have more time to plan and prepare, and imagine you are, too!  On behalf of the new students and families yet to arrive, thank you in advance for your thoughtful contributions to create a welcoming experience. We look forward to our work together and receiving your completed interest surveys. Go Vikings!