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Ready to go

Written by Mike Thee
July 14, 2010

With the class of 2014 being the largest ever in Seattle University history, it stands to reason that this year’s summer orientation sessions are a little more crowded than usual. Yet Laurie Prince, director of New Student and Family Programs, and her crew of staff and student Orientation Advisors seem to be handling the craziness just fine. (The Commons caught up with Prince between the second and third campus sessions; a fourth session will be held in Hawaii at the end of the month.)

Attendance at the three sessions—the first two  have drawn about 300 students and their families and third is expected to bring in 314—is up and tracking this year’s rise in enrollment. The increase is particularly notable in Hawaii where 82 of the 86 accepted students will be attending the orientation session, compared with 40 of 42 admitted students who attended last year.

Prince calls the incoming freshmen “an excited, engaged class,” adding that the orientation sessions are not only being attended by larger groups, but that a higher than ever percentage of the class is participating. She expects that nearly 90 percent of all freshmen (and their families) will have visited this year, compared with last year’s 87 percent.

As for points of destinations outside the Northwest, Prince has noticed a large contingent of students and 

 
SLIDESHOW: Visit Summer in Seattle for more scenes from orientation taken by University Photographer Chris Joseph Taylor.
  families coming from California. She also seems to be talking with more people from Texas this year, as well as some other places like Arkansas and Tennessee.

Prince is quick to point out that as much as her staff may be on the front line of orientation, the sessions truly are a campus-wide effort, and she wants to pass along the positive feedback her office is getting from participating students and families about “how welcomed and cared for they feel at SU. Many students,” Prince relates, “are saying, ‘I made the right choice and can’t wait to come back.’”

More of that feedback than ever is coming in through the university’s social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, input that Prince says is just as valuable (if not more so) than the evaluation they ask students and their parents to complete after the sessions.

She also says there has been little concern raised about the swelling numbers of this year’s entering freshman and the corresponding need to put some students in triples. Housing and Residence Life, she says, has done a good job of “reducing anxieties,” and that some of the Orientation Advisors who themselves have lived in triples have been helpful in talking about how the experience was not negative and that, when given the choice to move to a double, many of them opted to stay in triples.