New North Central College students discover possibilities during Orientation

Aug 06, 2013

During summer 2013 Orientation sessions, hundreds of new students learned more about academic and extracurricular opportunities available to them at North Central College.

From study abroad courses to athletic teams to clubs and organizations, Orientation serves to inform students about options so they can begin to plan their years of study and make the most of their experience at North Central College.

“At North Central College, more so than other schools, it’s up to you to figure out what you want to get out of your time here,” assistant professor of political science Jennifer Fredette told a group of her first-year advisees. “You want to fit in the experiences you want in a way that you’re able to enjoy them.”

Students quickly discover that faculty like Fredette are interested in getting to know them as individuals. Introducing new students to academic opportunities is a key goal of Orientation, says psychology professor Karl Kelley, director of the College’s First-Year Experience program.

“This is where we take the time to get to know them and demonstrate we’re concerned about them as individuals,” Kelley says. “When I speak to students and their parents at Orientation, I tell them that college is a verb—that it’s not something that’s supposed to happen to them. Rather, they have to take charge of their future.”

Orientation occurs during a series of one-day sessions in the summer before fall term classes begin. Among other activities, students become acclimated to campus, have their photographs taken for IDs and register for their fall term classes.

“By the time they finish Orientation students choose the classes they will take during fall term,” says Amy Clarke Sievers, director of student involvement and associate director of the First-Year Experience. “They’re more informed about why they’re taking the classes they’re taking.”

Students also receive a copy of the summer reading book. This year’s selection is “Stumbling on Happiness” by Daniel Gilbert.

Perhaps most importantly, new students learned about the wide range of support available to them, from academic tutoring options to counseling and health services.

“We’re a community,” Kelley says. “We’re going to provide support for you if you seek it out.”

Orientation 2013 students included Sam Swenson of Austin, Texas, who says he chose North Central because of its flexible trimester academic calendar. He plans to major in sociology and play football.

“It’s a little stressful, but not bad,” he said of the transition from high school to college. “I think I’m well prepared. I manage my time well.”

Other new students said they chose North Central because of its location. Downtown Naperville offers a variety of restaurants, stores and activities for students, as well as employment opportunities. Naperville’s proximity to Chicago provides students access to cultural events as well as opportunities for internships and career employment.

New student Stephen Buzard of Mount Morris in northwestern Illinois says he plans to major in religious studies. Orientation prepared him for the time he plans to study at North Central, he said.

“I feel ready,” he said.