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Summer and fall orientation transition from in-person to online sessions

2020-05-04-Student-Orientation-Will-Reeves
UNG orientation leader Will Reeves connects with new freshmen who are taking classes in the summer and fall via email and digital meetings. Reeves and the other 35 orientation leaders have a group of 20-30 students to contact to answer questions and provide guidance about college life.

As a University of North Georgia (UNG) orientation leader, Will Reeves always looks forward to the afternoon of the first day during orientation on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

"We stop briefing the students about fees, and hang around and chat," said the junior pursuing degrees in biology and psychology. "I can share personal advice. And I make my closest connections with the freshmen. They feel more comfortable about asking personal questions."

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has caused UNG to alter its orientation schedule and transition components of it online. Instead of initially meeting students face-to-face on campus, Reeves and the other 35 orientation leaders will connect with students in the digital world.

"We are reaching out via email to the new freshmen who are taking classes in the summer," Reeves said, explaining each orientation leader has a group of 20-30 students to contact. "We will have virtual meetings with the students, as well as video chats."

Darcy Hayes, director of Orientation and Transition Programs, explained the orientation for summer semester will transfer to an all-digital format while orientation for fall will be a hybrid.

"We made the decision to keep students safe during this current health crisis but still ensure they are connected to the university," she said.

For new and transfer students taking summer courses, they will complete their orientation day online on a specified day. It will involve a live webinar followed by a group meeting with the academic adviser. Finally, they will complete their course registration online.

Orientation dates for the summer 2020 semester are as follows:

  • Cumming — Tuesday, May 12
  • Dahlonega — Friday, May 15
  • Gainesville — Wednesday, May 13
  • Oconee — Thursday, May 14

Students may visit the Orientation and Transition Programs website, click on Orientation Reservations, and select their campus to register for orientation. The Blue Ridge Campus will not offer summer courses as faculty and staff work to move into the new building.

Orientations for fall 2020 semester will feature online and in-person elements. Incoming freshmen and transfer students will complete their online pre-orientation computer modules as part of the orientation reservation process. Next, they will complete a newly developed orientation course through eLearning@UNG, or the D2L system, in the summer on specified dates.

In August, students will arrive on campus for an abbreviated orientation day, which will include a tour and other pertinent information. Abbreviated face-to-face orientation dates and times are:

  • Blue Ridge – 9 a.m. Friday Aug. 14
  • Cumming – 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3, and Tuesday, Aug. 4
  • Gainesville – 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, and Wednesday, Aug. 12
  • Oconee – 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6 and Friday, Aug. 7

 

"For the residential students on the Dahlonega Campus, their in-person orientation will be paired with their move-in day," Hayes said. "That way we can limit the number of trips students and their parents will have to make to campus."

For example, if students move in Friday morning, then they will complete their orientation that afternoon. Hayes said move-in days will begin Aug. 13 to accommodate the new model. All freshmen will be moved in by mid-day Aug. 15.

Orientation and Transition Program personnel also will provide multiple opportunities for students to connect with UNG throughout the summer.

"Because we can't connect to them face-to-face, we are increasing the number of Facebook Live sessions and webinars throughout the summer," Hayes said. "This way the students can connect with UNG, ask questions and gear up for the fall."

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