The other day I gave yall 65 Things They Don’t Tell You at College Orientation because the peer leaders and staff members definitely skew the truth of college life at orientation to of course make it seem like the best place on Earth, it’s their job. But it is my job to tell you the truth and to give yall the run down on what really happens in college.
I’ve had a coupe people follow up with my previous post wanting to hear what they should ask at freshman orientation and what to expect from it. So here we are!
One of the biggest things to ask at orientation is what kind of safety precautions are in place on campus. OSU has their own police officers and their own phone number to call in emergencies on campus so they can get their faster. OSU also has big blue posts all over campus that if the button on them are pressed they will call the police. No matter where you are on campus you can see at least one of them. We also have a texting system in place for when emergencies happen. For example when OSU had a school stabbing or shooting texts would be send out to everyone to let students know to take shelter and stay in place until the threat was taken care of. Our dorm halls also have locks that you have to use your BuckID to swipe into so random people can’t walk into your hall, and they also lock after a certain time so only people who live there can swipe in. There is so much more on OSU’s campus that is all about safety but those are my favorite highlights.
OSU takes safety seriously but of course the peer leaders don’t tell you that assaults, sexual assaults, robberies, and break ins are very common in and around campus.
Ask your peer leader what kind of things are in place to ensure safety on campus for students.
Parental Notification Policies
In college the students are considered adults and are in charge of their own information and finances. Parents rarely get access to view or alter this. You must have explicit permission from the university and the student before viewing transcripts, class schedules, financial records, etc. When I worked as an Office Assistant at OSU and parents would call to check on their child I wasn’t allowed to confirm or deny that their child lived in the resident hall or not for their safety. The university doesn’t know the kind of relationship between kids and parents so we are sure not to share any information with them for the safety of the child. So, it is a good idea to ask what the parents are allowed to have access to and what kinds of information parents are allowed to know and regarding their kids enrollment at the university.
What’s Around Campus
I’m not telling you to ask your peer leader where the local bars are, I’m telling you to ask them where local drug store are like CVS and Rite Aid, where a local doctors office/hospital is, and any other important things are around campus. I know I needed to go to the CVS off campus frequently for restocking toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo so that was important! And trust me, you’ll get sick in college, and when you do you may need to go to urgent care so knowing where one is before you need it is better than not knowing when you need it.
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Money is a HUGGGEEEE topic at orientation. If you are in need of financial aid I’m sure there’s a designated financial aid office on campus for you to visit to get more information regarding this. You can also ask your peer leader ways they got financial aid or scholarships to attend the university (peer leaders are often times currently enrolled students at the university so they are able to help you with first hand experience and advice).
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Some universities offer their own health insurance to students who do not have their own to cover them while enrolled. If that is something you might possibly need then be sure to ask about it and how it works and how to sign up for it. You could also just ask what insurances are covered by services provided by the university.
This is also a good time to ask your peer leaders what is prohibited from the dorm rooms or certain things that are different for freshman than other years (for example: freshman at OSU aren’t allowed having cars on campus). Ask what you can and cannot bring with you to campus to make sure you don’t waste money buying it only to find out you can’t bring it.
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Due Dates + Payments
It is always good to ask about upcoming due dates for payments regarding housing and tuition if you are unaware. You should also ask how you can make those payments and if there is a payment plan for students hoping to pay for their tuition on their own without loans. OSU has TOPP Payments where you can break your tuition amount into 3 payments for the first 3 months of the semester to make things easier to pay for.
The Meal Plan
Ask about the different kinds of meal plans available to freshman and how to use them appropriately. At OSU we have Dining Dollars, which can be used at any eating place on campus, Buck ID cash, which can be used anywhere on campus (for food or merchandise) as well as some places off campus such as CVS and other stores, and Visit Exchanges, which are used to get into our Traditions locations which are buffet style dining halls. The Visit Exchanges can also be used at other eating places in exchange for either $5 at a Campus C-Store or $8 at a regular eating establishment. The OSU meal plans were really confusing to me when I first arrived so asking at orientation really helped me to understand and better utilize my meal plan in the fall.
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Of course there may be other things you should ask that is personal to your situation and family and be sure to add that to the list, but in my opinion these are the biggies that I see get asked a lot at freshman orientation! I hope you have fun at orientation and really step out of your comfort zone and get to know people and the campus well while you’re there, it’ll make your transition there in the fall so much easier.