Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

One-day Spring 2013 orientation participants feel rushed

The University’s incoming spring population has continued to rise year after year with 598 new and transfer students arriving to campus in 2011 and 677 in 2012, according to data from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. And though these new freshman and transfer students starting in the spring go through a “Bama Bound,” orientation session, the session is compacted into only one day after they have arrived to campus, leaving some feeling that it wasn’t thorough enough.

Caroline Fredericks, a junior majoring in political science and psychology, said she deferred a semester before arriving to campus and as a result, her spring Bama Bound experience was far from thorough.

“The University had to prepare both transfer and freshman students in four hours for the next four years they would face at UA,” Fredericks said. “The premise of Bama Bound was out of touch because all the students experiencing spring orientation would begin classes the next day, not months or weeks later like typical Bama Bound participants.”

Landon Waid, associate director for orientation and special programs, confirmed this spring’s Bama Bound session occurred Jan. 8, the day before classes, with over 400 attendees.

“The Office of Orientation and Special Programs collaborates with several campus partners to plan and execute Bama Bound,” Waid said.

Mary Alice Porter, Coordinator of First Year Experience and Parent Programs, said her office is one of these partners.

“We are scheduled to have a presentation that we give first year students,” Porter said. “A lot of them are transfer students and we want them to know we’re here for them too not just freshman students.”

Porter explained the main point of their presentation was to show first year students all the resources and programs their office has to offer them.

Likewise, Jennifer DeFrance, assistant director for First Year Experience and Parent Programs, said their office still hosted a one-day parent orientation in this January’s Bama Bound session with over 100 participants.

“The January orientation session is a one-day session, whereas most of our Bama Bound sessions held during the summer are two-days,” DeFrance said. “This means information is shared in a shorter span of time.”

This office puts together sessions designed just for our guests who register for parent orientation to hear from campus partners regarding areas of Housing, Financial Aid, Student Receivables and UAPD, DeFrance said. As far as class registration is concerned, Waid said advising and registration still takes place during Bama Bound in the spring at the end of the day.

“I registered for my classes in one of Lloyd’s computer rooms during a 15 minute period with about forty other students,” Fredericks said. “It was stressful trying to decipher what classes I should select for my inaugural semester at college, and because of the time constraint, I made many bad choices.”

Since far less students arrive for the first time to campus in the spring, the process and orientation for moving into dorms appears a bit more loosely defined than in the fall.

“Because I had not experienced Bama Bound and received my ACT card, I had to wait in the rain for a resident to pass by the door and let my mother and me in,” Fredericks said. “Upon setting foot in my dorm for the first time, I looked for my room because there was no one to guide us at the desk.”

Alicia Browne, the director for housing administration, said most new students moved in this year when the residence halls officially re-opened on Jan. 6.

“Because of the number of students who graduate in December and leave for study abroad, co-ops and internships, we actually have more space available at the start of spring semester than at the start of fall semester,” Browne said. “Therefore, we can accommodate any student who wants campus housing in January, which I think is particularly helpful for students who are beginning mid-year.”

Fredericks said her experience could have been improved in the spring had she connected more with some of her fellow classmates.

“I did not know a single person at UA before enrolling and orientation did not help me meet anyone,” she said. “I found spring Bama Bound unsatisfactory because I was not ‘bound’ for Bama, as I was already moved into my dorm and would face classes the day following orientation.”

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