The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Student orientation changes mean higher attendance rates

By Cody Daniels/reporter

Following a low number of attendees reported last spring, new student orientation was more successful this fall after it was revamped and made mandatory.In January, according to Paula Vastine, NE director of student development services, TCC decided changing the logistics of orientation was important. More orientations were scheduled and more students were paid to lead them. Officials also named it “new student orientation” and made it mandatory for first-time-in-college students districtwide.

Student activities accomplished this, said student development associate Amity Womelsdorff, by making orientations available in WebAdvisor, similar to a class. Students were forced into registering for orientation before they could register for courses. Students were also graded by their participation in the event. They had to receive a passing grade to be cleared by the system for full registration.

“I think students finally understood the importance of starting their education out on the right foot,” said Jamal Williams, South Campus coordinator of student support services. “After talking to the other departments, it’s safe to say it was a districtwide success compared to the spring.”

Also, more orientations were made available, including seven on NE Campus, five on NW Campus,  four on TR Campus, six on South Campus and three on SE Campus. More orientation leaders were also hired.

“It was a much smoother process this fall,” said Sonya Splane, SE coordinator of student support services. “We didn’t have a way to solidly enforce orientation last semester, but this semester’s registering for it like a class helped a lot.” 

SE Campus reported 2,683 more students attended, and more than 1,600 were reported on NE Campus. TR Campus reported close to 1,200 more students, South Campus had 1,155 more students and at least 800 more attended on NW.

“Spring turnouts are always lower than the fall, but looking at the numbers so far for this fall, it seems like making it mandatorily registered for had a lot to do with it,” Womelsdorff said.

Many students found their orientation informative but sometimes a little time-consuming.

“I felt like it was too long in spite of how much I learned about the classes and buildings,” said NW student Manuel Gonzalez. “I feel like what I learned was already learned after two and a half hours, so they could have called it quits then.”

NE student Joe Wardrup wished it had been shorter but said he learned from some of the activities.

“Activities like when we got to throw paper balls at the mentors made me feel more comfortable about the school I was going to,” he said. “I feel like if they had given us something more interactive with the other new students like a lunch break a couple of hours through would have been a good idea.”

NE student Elizabeth Perez said the orientation was helpful because it gave her an adequate understanding of WebAdvisor.

Splane said students who didn’t show for their orientations cannot register for the spring semester until they attend an October districtwide makeup orientation.

For most students, Splane believes the orientations were a districtwide success.

“Students are starting classes at TCC with a better understanding of the school they are attending, and, more importantly, NSO helps them to feel more comfortable with their classes in that they are not alone,” she said.

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