Less than two weeks after celebrating the commencement of the class of 2013, Saint Louis University starts welcoming the class of 2017.
Throughout June and early July, the University hosts SLU 101 for incoming freshmen and their parents. During the two-day orientation, admitted students meet with current students, faculty and academic advisors, schedule their fall classes, pre-order their books and spend the night in a residence hall. But perhaps the most significant take-away for new students is the friendships that start during orientation.
"A big part of SLU 101 is calming nerves," said Susan Fanale, director of the student involvement center. "Meeting the people you'll be spending the next four years with is central to that."
Students aren't the only one with nerves to calm. That's why SLU 101 has been developed with "guests" in mind: the parents, grandparents, friends and others who accompany their students to the orientation.
While the students are busy, parents and guests attend sessions just for them. They can learn more about scholarships and financial aid, student health and services, campus safety, academic advising and how to make their student's transition as smooth as possible.
"We're trying to let the students get the taste of independence in a structured model," said Fanale. "It even affects how we talk about them; we very consciously call them 'students,' not 'children. It's a mindful shift in how we all think about these young adults."
Because transfer students have specific orientation needs, and because the University is welcoming more transfers than ever before, there is a special version of SLU 101 just for them, offered four times during the summer.
SLU 101 was one of the first programs of its kind when it was conceived in the early 1990s. It went on to be the model for several other universities and has evolved a bit in the last few years -- but its core remains the same.
"We try to send a consistent message: what to expect," said Fanale. "What to expect from SLU 101, from SLU and from the student's first year."
SLU 101 is part of the University's unique First-Year Experience initiative, which helps new students achieve success in and out of the classroom.For more information about SLU 101, visit the website: www.slu.edu/slu101.xml.