By the end of summer, nearly 3,000 new students—and in some cases their parents—will be a little more familiar with the California State University, Dominguez Hills campus, and that much more prepared for the fall semester thanks to New Student Orientation (NSO).
A daylong program offered at various dates throughout the summer, NSO includes campus and university housing tours, academic advisement, fall registration, and informative workshops tailored to address the unique needs of transfer and international students, as well as incoming freshmen, for whom the program is a requirement.
“We’re trying to develop a program that not only gives students what they need to register for their classes but also so they begin to have that involvement on our campus as a student and get that student life interaction and get themselves excited about being a student at Dominguez Hills,” said Xiomara Melendez, Early Assessment Program coordinator, who oversees the NSO program.
That message appears to be getting through.
Rocio Moreno, who graduated from John Glenn High School in Norwalk and is planning to major in Spanish at CSU Dominguez Hills as a freshman in the fall, said NSO really helped her understand the process of enrolling in classes and what classes she should be taking. After receiving academic advisement at NSO, she has enrolled in summer math and English courses through the university’s Encounter to Excellence program.
Trevon Reese, who graduated from Da Vinci Science charter school in Hawthorne and will be a freshman business administration major in the fall, said that although this was his second time to visit the university, NSO was helpful for registering for classes and becoming familiar with the university’s extracurricular activities.
“I learned about the different clubs and organizations that they have here,” said the avid junior golfer, who is particularly interested in the university’s golf team.
Understanding the importance parental support plays in the success of first-time freshmen, NSO expanded the number of orientations held for the 560 parents who participated this year. While their college-bound students were on a campus tour or attending one of the many workshops or panels on support programs, registration, or financial aid, parents were getting their own introduction to all the campus has to offer students and seeing first-hand where their children would be studying, taking classes, or grabbing a bite to eat with their friends.
Belinda Watson, whose daughter Mikianya, a 2013 Long Beach Polytechnic High School graduate who is starting as a freshman psychology major in the fall, said she was very impressed with the student union and the library. NSO, she said, has helped her “appreciate how to navigate around the college campus.”
But more than having that visual of where her daughter will be in the fall, or the information on financial aid and the various programs, Watson said the one thing that stuck with her from the day was something Vice Provost of Academic Affairs Mitch Maki told parents and students during the NSO plenary welcome.
“It is not enough to go to college, you now need to graduate from college,” Maki said.
It’s the exact message NSO coordinator Melendez wants students and parents to take away from NSO. While it would appear that NSO is all about starting students off on the right foot, Melendez noted that there is an even bigger goal.
“Our whole emphasis is reminding them that orientation isn’t really about how to get started but our goal here is for students to graduate,” she said.