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Orientation update

University adapts, continues to set up students for success by shifting orientation online.

By Cory Phare

July 13, 2020

Student working on laptop while sitting on bed with two sleeping dogs.How do you help new Roadrunners start off strong when a global pandemic changes everyone’s plans? In a word: adapt.

“What would’ve been an in-person approach (known as Student Orientation, Advising and Registration, or SOAR) has completely shifted online now,” said John Babcock, Metropolitan State University of Denver’s associate director of Orientation, Transfer and Retention.

He noted the dedication of student orientation leaders/first-year mentors and academic advisors to make modifications to the mandatory registration process.

“So many folks have been working long hours, but we’ve all been able to come together to help our students. In many ways, it’s actually gone even better than we expected,” he added.

What used to be an 8-hour-plus intensive on-campus experience is now a strategically sectioned virtual session broken out into different logistical, experiential and engagement presentations that takes place fully on Microsoft Teams. Individual content is tailored to specific student type, and the event culminates in a registration session that mentors attendees through course registration.

Online orientation is not without precedent, as the University has been offering a self-paced option for transfer students. Yield rates for the shift online are on par with in-person orientation, with more than 90% of participants registering for courses – nearly 3,000 have completed orientation. In addition, 1,647 are signed up for future sessions (not including those who will complete the self-paced transfer offering).

And though the event takes place on a single day, it’s part of a comprehensive network to ensure that Roadrunners can navigate from admission to alumni.

“When you think about all the things a student needs to know to be successful in college, that’s more than we can cover in one day, even if it’s in-person,” Babcock said. “That’s why it’s critical for folks to continue thinking about supporting students at every point throughout their journey at MSU Denver.”

Know a new student who hasn’t completed orientation yet? Have them RSVP on the OTR webpage to be able to register for classes.

Topics: Best practices, Enrollment, Excellence, Innovation, Online Learning, Student Success

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