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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA Admissions Office improves orientation experience for students, parents

Mylo Erickson
Mylo Erickson / Arizona Daily Wildcat A group of incoming freshmen disperse to explore the UA Mall and get a little break before continuing on with the campus tour.

With students and faculty preparing for orientation, the UA has created several changes and additions to its program for incoming students.

One of the newest additions is allowing students and their families to stay in one of the UA’s residence halls, Arbol de la Vida.

“We have a really great partnership with residence life,” said Kasey Urquidez, dean of undergraduate admissions. “We have RA’S who are putting on programs this summer for our students, which has been a really great opportunity for them to connect one on one with other students and what it’s like to live in a residence hall.”

The UA Admissions Office is also working to expand its social media presence, and interact with students during orientation via Twitter.

“We’re using our #wildcatready to live tweet questions that students and parents have about orientation,” Urquidez said. “We have staff members dedicated to that throughout the day in order to try to answer [questions] of any platform that we can.”

The UA has also extended its enrollment deadline, from June 3 to July 1, as the number of students signed up for orientation has been lower than in recent years.

It’s a problem colleges and universities nationwide are facing, Urquidez said.

“Across the country, there’s data that shows that the number of high school graduates that are actually available for this year is much less than what it’s been in past years,” said Urquidez. “It’s a pretty common trend across the country from what we’re seeing because there is a lower amount of students to pull from, so it is a really competitive market out there and universities all want students who have good grades and are motivated.”

Like the UA, many universities across the country have also extended their enrollment deadlines, Urquidez added.

Despite the enrollment decreases, the campus has been full of students and their families the past few weeks, who are preparing for the upcoming freshman year.

Each orientation day begins at 7:15 a.m. with students checking-in, said Stephanie Basij, assistant director of enrollment services. Students are then formally welcomed with a large presentation, before proceeding to learn more information about their individual college.

During lunch, students have the opportunity to speak with placement advisers about math, English or a second language.

They are then placed into four groups: Red, Blue, Wilbur and Wilma, where they will go to college life sessions to learn about campus safety and how to use UAccess.

While the students are busy learning how to register for classes, parents learn information at UA Essentials about how they can continue to connect to the college, Basij added.

“It’s been a very busy couple of hours, a lot of sitting down in auditoriums and listening to people talk,” said Jesse Wealing, a biology freshman, about orientation. “It’s interesting things and things a lot of people don’t know about. I think it’s a good program.”

Basij suggests that incoming freshman who are still preparing for their orientation visit to the UA ask questions and make connections.

“Orientation is a great time to ask what the student experience is like,” Basij said, “And then to make not only connections with their peers, but also to the variety of campus staff members here to assist students.”

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