Orientation Ideas and Tips - Arizona International Educators

We’re not in Kansas anymore…
Building Blocks for Effective International
Student Orientations
Allison Ludlam & Sean Milton, Orientation Coordinators
Office of International Student & Scholar Services
Northern Arizona University
Trends in ISOs
• Extended programs (up to 12 weeks at U of Toronto)
• Pared-down programs to prevent ‘information overload’
Pre-Arrival programs
First-Year seminar programs
Online orientations
Students asked to pay (for orientation, or for R&B, or both)
International populations are more likely than in the past to
be UG, and IEP students
• Mentoring programs
• Focusing on ‘engagement’ and ‘attachment’ with the
university and not develop cliques based on nationality
Background Info for NAU
• NAU’s international population
• 1050 F-1 and J-1 students (70%/30%), 60-70 countries
• Largest groups – Chinese, Saudi, Kuwaiti, Korean, Brazilian, German
• Degree students
• Undergraduate - First-year, Transfer,
1-2-1, 2+2, 1+3
• Graduate
Total International Enrollment Sp 2014
• IEP students
• Admitted to major (conditional)
• IEP only
• Exchange
• Special Programs
• Brazilian Science Mobility
• Fulbright
• Other
Undergraduate degree
Intake patterns at NAU
Fall – 350-400 F-1 and J-1 students
Spring 150-200
Spring 2014 Orientation
Summer – less than 50
Few SEVIS transfers
No Shows, 35
Approx. 50% are IEP
Late arrivals, 39
Late Arrivals
Check-in , 118
Our Goals
• Cover the necessary info (immigration, university, academics)
• Facilitate university requirements (advising, registration,
immunizations, etc.)
• Intro to university offices/resources (ISSS, health, counseling,
tutoring, PD, etc.), faces, and locations
• Warm welcome and connect/network/make friends
• Smooth transition to
• Living in the U.S.
• Life as an NAU student
OVERALL – Student Success, Retention, Happiness (and
Sessions and workshops
Immigration session
Living in the U.S.
U.S. Academics and tips for success
Employment (rules and looking for on-campus work)
Legal issues
Using the university SIS
Making Friends
Health (health tips, health insurance, campus health)
• Other:
Student panel (topical or open-ended, U.S. life/academics)
Banking open house, Resource Fair
Academic Advising & Registration
Language testing/placement for IEP students
Immunization Clinics
Social events (small group dinners, pizza party, coffee time, ice cream social)
Tours (campus, library, health, recreation)
‘Evolving’ Orientation at NAU
• Using technology effectively
USB drives
Social Networking
Online Orientation
• Programming ideas – throwing things out there to see what
• ‘Welcome Week’ vs. ‘Orientation’ event
• Adapting to university changes (calendar, facilities, policies,
• Orientation Committee
Challenges & Responses
• Low- or No-English students
> Translators for events,
translated important docs
• Late Arriving students
> Online Orientation, Check-in and
other requirements can be
programmed as ‘self-service’
• Students who are not interested (only attend what is truly mandatory)
> Online Orientation requirement,
effective scheduling, giveaways &
• Maintaining university continuity as to personnel and
schedules/staying informed
> Build network of Orientation
VIPS across campus to help
• Get buy-in from anyone and everyone that can and should be
involved across campus
• Don’t duplicate programming already happening, integrate
international students as much as possible into existing
• Don’t be afraid to try new ideas, and spend money 
• Don’t be afraid to fail, and try to figure out what the failure
means – bad idea? Bad schedule? Poor execution?
• Use ‘Legacy’ events (proven winners) to build your schedule
• Giveaways and promos – everyone loves ‘em!
• Build network of volunteers (current students)
• Build your network of off-campus VIPs
Questions? Comments?
THANKS for attending our session!
Allison Ludlam & Sean Milton, Orientation Coordinators
Office of International Student & Scholar Services
Northern Arizona University
[email protected]
[email protected]