UNM-LA Offers New Student Orientations

UNM-LA Student Advisor Jeff Dietz leads a campus tour. Courtesy/UNM-LA

UNM-LA News:

Are you (or your child) new to the university lifestyle? UNM-Los Alamos Student Services welcomes all new students to new student orientation 3–6 p.m.Thursday, July 30 with a second option 3-6 p..m. Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Short and sweet, but packed with vital information for students new to the university environment—and specifically to the UNM-LA campus—the mandatory orientation gives students what they need to succeed at college. The orientation includes a campus tour, introductions to faculty, staff, and other new students, information about academic advisement, registration, policies and procedures, and strategies for college success.

Since UNM-LA is a smaller school, the orientation groups of about 30 people allow for more personal attention to each student and his or her specific needs.

“One of our biggest strengths at UNM-LA are the ways that we connect with our students,” Academic Student Success Manager Elizabeth Rademacher said.  “Besides what’s offered by Student Services, our faculty do a phenomenal job working with students on their coursework day-to-day, and the advisement staff offer very tailored support.”

New this year at orientation is an ambassador program that matches current students who are honor society or student government members with groups of new students for orientation tours.

“Meeting the existing students gives the new ones a familiar face on campus as they’re walking to classes,” Rademacher said . “The ambassador’ involvement gives the new students a real connection to the university.”

Taking the personalized experience a step further, Student Services is offering orientation for parents as well. “Parents participate in a different way when their kids are in college than in high school,” Rademacher said. “Parents are a key partner to any university, so they will get their own orientation group in which we’ll talk about how they can best support their students.”

With enrollment climbing this year, UNM-LA is excited about empowering new students with all the tools available for them to take control of their own scheduling, financial aid, and communication with professors. “One of the primary objectives of orientation is to teach students how to use all the systems and programs that will help them with academic success,” said Rademacher. She mentioned the degree audit software which allows students a visual program for tracking classes they have taken and classes that are still needed for graduation.

The orientation presentations will include hands-on demonstrations, for example, all students will be assisted in setting up their UNM email accounts specifically on their smart phones for communicating with professors and receiving notifications from the university. They’ll also be shown how to use the university web portal, Lobo Web, for checking financial aid status, billing updates, and more.

An important part of the campus tour is the library visit where students will learn about free services available, such as loaner iPads and laptops. Since many of their classes will involve extensive online research, students will be apprised of the most up-to-date options and resources available to them to produce college-level work.

The campus tour will include locating key staff offices, such as career advisement, and faculty offices for office hour visits. “Orientation includes all kinds of survival tips for your first year,” Rademacher said. “Many new students haven’t had any prior experience with college and we’re offering a success guide for them, particularly during their first couple of semesters.”

The student ambassadors will also share the different ways to be involved with campus groups, such as student government, the honor society, and even the new Los Alamos Gaming club. Student Services will offer social mixers during the year to stay in touch with students as well as to create a welcoming environment where students can mingle.

“We’re here to help students with whatever we can, and orientation is just the start,” Rademacher said. “We conduct a survey at the end of orientation and we receive really strong feedback about the areas highlighted. We keep it short and sweet without sacrificing information they really need.”

Student Services holds new student orientation prior to each fall and spring semester. For more information about UNM-LA, visit losalamos.unm.edu, or call 505.662.0332.

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