Friday, June 27, 2014

University of New Orleans Introduces "Privateer Advising Days"

A new program on the University of New Orleans Lakefront campus is designed to allow incoming freshmen a chance to become familiar with campus and get a head start enrolling in classes, even before attending New Student Orientation.

"New students still register at Orientation," said student success counselor Tonia Salas. "The benefit (of Privateer Advising Days) is new students get to spend more one-on-one time with their adviser... It's a way to get new students on campuses and advise them one on one before New Student Orientation."

The Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management has hosted four Privateer Advising Days since April, Salas said. Incoming freshmen who attended the four-hour sessions enjoyed a campus tour and an academic social, where they had an opportunity to meet new faculty and staff. New students could also meet with their faculty advisers and receive an early introduction to financial aid, courses and other resources.

"A new component was a presentation on alpha team support which introduced to students the concept that they have a specific person that can help them in each of the following units: financial aid, admissions, first year advising, first year experience," Salas said, comparing the sessions to "an a la carte menu. Maybe some have already taken a campus tour. Some students don't need financial aid."

Although official course registration is completed at the mandatory two-day New Student Orientation sessions, incoming freshmen who attend Privateer Advising Days meet with academic advisers and student success counselors who can help them to choose their courses and at the end of the session, log onto Webstar and place suggested courses in a "shopping cart."

At Orientation, they save time enrolling.

The new initiative,introduced by Salas, Lindsey Desselle, a graduate student in New Student Orientation and First Year-Adviser Emily Horne, is already giving the University positive results in yielding students, said student success counselor Nicole Ralston.

"This is a chance for new students to spend more one-on-one time with their adviser," said Salas. "They get to spend more one-on-one time with academic advisers than they typically would ... At Orientation, we have 200-plus incoming students trying to get advised in a very short period of time."

The Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management wrapped up the last four-hour Privateer Advising Day event on June 16, but plans to offer an abbreviated version in coming weeks, said Salas. The slightly scaled-back sessions will last approximately two hours. The University already offers daily campus tours at 9:30 a.m. and at 2 p.m. and student success counselors are capitalizing on that schedule, Salas said. Incoming freshmen will be paired with student success counselors and First Year Experience staff. They can also receive academic advising prior to registering for classes at New Student Orientation and connect with admissions and financial aid staff.

As students sign up for New Student Orientation, the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management email them an invitation to participate, Salas said. The invitation includes available dates, times and an RSVP form.

"We've allotted time so that roughly a few hundred can still be seen," said Salas. "Really, the more students we can get in, the faster their experience at orientation, as well as the more time they can have tailored to any specific questions that they have."

Student success counselors have seen "a great outcome as far as getting students registered and done," said Salas. "And they do get more one-on-one time. They're also getting to know faculty, students and staff on campus even before orientation so when they come to New Student Orientation, they already have a grasp on campus and feel like they know some people already."


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