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University prepares for new students

Michelle Leonard had many questions about USF. But after attending orientation for incoming freshmen, Leonard said she is now prepared for college life.

Leonard, along with 3,700 incoming freshmen and 3,000 incoming transfer students, is expected to attend USF this fall, according to Judy Luedtke, director for orientation.

Orientation leaders are working throughout the summer to assist incoming freshmen and transfer students who will be attending USF in the fall.

“Any questions a student may have we want the orientation leader to have an answer,” Luedtke said.

During orientation, the leaders work with incoming students to inform them about important locations on campus and free services offered at the university as well as assisting them with class registration.

According to orientation leader Laura Fuentes, members of the orientation team give incoming students an idea of everything the university offers and a perspective on what to expect.

“We help ease the process from high school to college and let the students know the benefits of being a Bull,” Fuentes said.

The total number of incoming freshmen and transfer students will exceed last year’s total, Luedtke said.

Luedtke expects orientation leaders to assist about 12,000 students, families and friends with information about USF during orientation. According to Luedtke, preparing for orientation was a process that took months.

The preparation began in February with a two-part interviewing process to select students to be orientation leaders. In March, the positions were filled. Then, in May, the orientation leaders were trained.

Luedtke hired 26 orientation leaders to assist incoming students during 24 orientation sessions from June until August.

According to Luedtke, orientation aims for interaction between the parents and students.

The orientation itinerary has information sessions to discuss general education requirements, financial aid, residence life, and advising and registration in the colleges.

To prepare for these information sessions, more than 25 departments at USF spoke to the orientation leaders during their training.

Departments such as University Police, Financial Aid, International Students and Scholar Services, and individual colleges gave lectures about what their departments provide for students.

The training for orientation leaders lasted five days for about six to eight hours a day and was held in the Marshall Center, according to orientation leader Jan Bradd.

“We listened to lectures from different departments to absorb as much information as possible about USF so we can repeat it to the students and parents at orientation,” Bradd said.

“We are basically the welcoming committee for new students at USF.”

Orientation also provides time for the students to ask questions, tour the campus and receive assistance with class registration.

Transfer student Shannon Grinstead attended St. Petersburg Junior College after high school because, knowing how large USF was, she did not feel comfortable attending USF immediately after graduation.

According to Grinstead, SPJC helped her transition to the University and now, after orientation, she is prepared to attend USF in the fall.

“We must be trained before we can help others. Being an orientation leader has helped me learn more about USF and in return I can give that back to students,” orientation leader John Maldonado said.

“Working together to prepare for students has been an experience in itself.”Luedtke said, “Orientation meets the students’ needs today.”

In today’s orientation, student body president Mike Griffin and vice president Dave Mincberg plan to introduce themselves to incoming freshmen today and invite about ten students to attend a luncheon with them and President Judy Genshaft.

“We want to meet with the students and parents to hear about their experiences and responses about orientation,” Griffin said.