DePauw University class of 2018 experiences orientation changes

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First-years had a busier opening week schedule than previous classes, as course scheduling and faculty advising were merged with their already busy orientation schedules.

According to Kelley Hall, DePauw’s Associate Dean of Academic Life, the changes were needed. 

“In previous years students would not necessarily get advising when they chose their courses.  So we would have on campus information sessions in June,” she said.

Previously, first-years would have the opportunity to attend one of several on-campus information sessions in June.  The sessions offered a streamlined orientation process, and allowed new students to speak with faculty before they moved in to Greecastle.

However, low attendance from the last several incoming classes finally spurred the change. 

“Forty percent of students would come, so only forty percent would receive face to face advising.”  Hall said.

This face-to-face advising, according to Hall, is an important piece of DePauw’s first-year experience. 

“Everyone who met with their advisor learned the graduation requirements, had their questions answered, took placement tests, and then they requested their courses,” he said.

She continued by mentioning that “almost all” students had submitted their course requests by the deadline, a stark difference from previous years.  Each of the last several years, her office has been forced to call numerous first-year students to remind them to register for courses.

However, Hall admits some students faced challenges. 

“They mentioned concerns about getting their books.” Hall said. 

First-year students attested to those issues.

“I found it frustrating because a lot [of my books] were on back order,” said first-year Megan Oelerich.  “It was a little overwhelming and felt really rushed and unorganized.”

Fellow first-year, Haley Chute said, “I think it would be nicer to do it over the summer.”

Eli’s Books manager, Paige Pridmore, admitted in an email, “We have seen an increase of sell-through across all text formats.”  However she ensured, “The bookstore team has been rushing in reorders as needed.”  

Despite less than positive reviews from all students, Hall believes the switch went off without many hitches. 

“From the administrative perspective of the big picture, it went really well.” Hall said. 

First year Mike Littau understands why the changes were made. 

“It felt rushed,” he said.  “But it would have been a hassle coming down here over the summer.  It was the best of a bad situation.  There’s really no good way to do it for freshman.”  Littau remarked.

Hall doesn’t foresee major changes for the class of 2019’s course request schedule, but promised her staff would review the process carefully and make any necessary changes.