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Alle Ehrhardt

The Tulane Class of 2016 has yet to step foot in the classrooms, but the university is already preparing the freshmen for the coming year through the New Student Orientation program.

The nine orientation sessions give new students a sneak peek into everything Tulane and New Orleans have to offer before the start of the fall semester in August.

Director of Orientation Penny Wyatt and her team of orientation team leaders plan new student orientations far in advance.

“The planning process is nearly year-round,” Wyatt said. “We start evaluating the program before it’s even over and making notes for improving the next year. In the fall, we book venues and spaces and plan the marketing strategies and publications.

“We interview our student orientation team leaders in January and February, and we start training them. In May, we finalize the logistical details and have an intense final week of staff training and preparation of materials right before the first session.”

Dean of Newcomb-Tulane College James MacLaren said freshman orientation serves several purposes, including sorting out paperwork and making new friends.

“I hope that during the short day and a half visit to campus, our students have got the chance to meet and know a number of fellow new Tulanians, as well as faculty and staff from the college and student affairs, have got a better feel of campus, and maybe used the opportunity to find a roommate,” MacLaren said. “Most importantly, I hope that [the students] have had a chance to plan and select [their] fall classes and think about possible academic programs and directions that interest you.”

Sophomore Art Cai said that new student orientation is a way to help incoming freshmen feel less overwhelmed when they arrive on campus in August.

“It’s one of the most awkward times as a freshman because everything is so new, and you’re experiencing it with X number of kids who have never experienced it before either,” Cai said. “I thought Tulane did a good job with trying to alleviate some of the awkwardness with experienced and knowledgeable teen leaders and a relaxed mentality. The free stuff isn’t bad either.”

Sophomore Ashley Neumeister said the orientation allows time to explore various recreational activities outside of campus.

“The gymnastics center they brought us to was really fun, because I met some of the girls I’m still friends with today,” Neumeister said.

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