More Than Just a Class Schedule: Baylor Orientation Leads to Long-lasting Friendships and Memories

  • Orientation1
    Baylor New Student Orientation includes a Campus Connections Dr Pepper Hour, academic interest sessions, yearbook and student ID photos, and lots of photo opportunities. (Morty Ortega/Baylor University)
  • Orientation2
    Baylor New Student Orientation includes a Campus Connections Dr Pepper Hour, academic interest sessions, yearbook and student ID photos, and lots of photo opportunities. (Morty Ortega/Baylor University)
  • Orientation3
    Baylor New Student Orientation includes a Campus Connections Dr Pepper Hour, academic interest sessions, yearbook and student ID photos, and lots of photo opportunities. (Morty Ortega/Baylor University)
July 24, 2019

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-710-6275
Follow us on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

by Brooke Hill, student newswriter, Baylor Media & Public Relations

WACO, Texas (July 24, 2019) — Faith Lee was a bit nervous about coming to Baylor University’s New Student Orientation without her parents. The incoming freshman journalism major was a long way from her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, but all of her anxiety dissolved when she walked through the doors of historic Waco Hall at the start of Orientation.

“Everyone on campus is so kind and welcoming,” Lee said. “It immediately felt like home. All of the sessions I attended made me feel prepared to create my class schedule and think about getting involved on campus.”

New Student Orientation - which is part of Baylor’s New Student Programs - is designed to transition new students over the summer to Baylor University, prepare them for academic and classroom learning opportunities, integrate new students into the campus community and support parents and families throughout the journey.

But the two-day program goes far beyond class schedules and campus tours. Orientation helps students discover experiences on campus and prepares them to thrive once they arrive in the fall.

Home at Baylor

For many incoming freshmen, Orientation leads to long-lasting friendships, discovering organizations that will help them enjoy their passions and a deep appreciation for the opportunities at the place they will now call home.

“After Orientation and Line Camp, I can hardly wait to be on campus all the time,” Lee said. “It still feels surreal that I get to go to Baylor.”

Orientation consists of activities for students and parents, with everything from a meet-and-greet with Baylor bear mascots Lady and Joy to a special Campus Connections Dr Pepper Hour, a tradition for more than 50 years at Baylor that includes free ice cream floats. Students can attend sessions on their academic interests and about student life – from study abroad to fitness, missions to leadership – before registering for classes and getting their student ID.

The primary objective of Orientation for students is to register for their fall courses, said associate director for Orientation Whitney Jones, but many students use their time on campus to meet their roommates and other incoming freshmen with whom they have been communicating.

“Finally meeting them in person was so cool. It felt like I’d known them forever,” Lee said. “I’m so excited to be going to school with so many genuine, fun and kind people.”

One friend invited Lee to stay with her family while she was here to help her feel at home. After months of talking, Lee said they figured out that their mothers had gone to high school together.

“We had a great time together at Orientation, and it was so great to get to know her better in person,” Lee said. “I’m so excited to be going into freshman year at Baylor with her by my side.”

Inspired to leadership

Wylie sophomore Harper Taylor met her best friend through Orientation when she was a freshman, which inspired both girls to return as Orientation and Line Camp leaders this summer.

“Orientation is such a great experience because it doesn’t just give you the basics. It gives you friends, connections and a small look at how fun joining the Baylor Family is,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s advice to incoming freshmen is to keep an open mind about everything.

“Look at all the clubs and organizations and try them out even if you’re only somewhat interested,” Taylor said. “It’s one of the best ways to make those long-lasting friends that everyone talks about meeting in college.”

On the academic spectrum, Orientation allocates time for students to meet with faculty within their academic college or school, attend interest sessions about financial matters and how to shape a schedule that will best fit the students’ needs.

Parents and guests attended special sessions about how they will make an impact on their student’s experience. On day one of Orientation, parents and guests attend a session designed to assist them with thriving as a member of the Baylor community. The day concluded with a sit-down dinner as they learn from the Parents Network about the offerings and support provided to them as a Baylor Bear.

“Families take away that we are invested in their student’s success,” Jones said. “The in-person Orientation experience is pivotal to students’ initial steps at Baylor. Students and families meet faculty and staff, learn about the opportunities and resources available and begin to discover their Baylor story before moving into their residence hall in August.”

For more information about New Student Programs at Baylor, including Orientation, Baylor Line Camp and Welcome Week, visit www.baylor.edu/nsp. Welcome Week will be held Aug. 22-25, with fall classes beginning Monday, Aug. 26.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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