After a year of screens and virtual events, Franklin is excited to welcome new undergraduate and graduate students for an in-person orientation!
We aim to make Orientation a fun and useful introduction to the Franklin experience. Our program includes information about academic and co-curricular opportunities, details about our unique campus and local environment, and opportunities to begin meeting others. Our goal is to help students and their families get a solid start as members of the Franklin community.
“In addition to providing information we feel students need to be successful, we try to help students connect to one another and feel that they belong,” says Russell Martin, Franklin’s Assistant Dean of Residence Life and Student Programming from the Office of Student Life. Each new undergraduate student is a part of a smaller group of new students from different parts of the world. Two student Orientation Mentors lead each group and provide support and advice throughout Orientation and into the semester. The groups are an opportunity to begin connecting with other students in a smaller, more relaxed setting before students begin expanding their network even further. Graduate students take part in an orientation with other members of their cohort. Through separate sessions with the faculty and program staff, they make their foray into Franklin life alongside their new classmates and colleagues.
Changing the timeline
In the past, students submitted a writing sample and completed a math placement on campus. “Managing COVID-19 restrictions last year prompted us to offer the placements online before students arrived. It went so well that we decided to continue coordinating this part of the program virtually in advance this year as well,” Martin explains. This has freed up time for additional sessions and more social activities to fit into the overall schedule. Completing the placements in advance also helps alleviate some of the pressure some new students may feel before they set their course schedule for the fall semester.
Arriving on campus
“We have been building a library of how-to videos that we hope will help students learn about how to get to Franklin and manage their experience,” says Martin. These videos include a walkthrough of the Zurich and Milano Malpensa airports, and a tour of the Lugano Centrale train station. “Our goal is to help students feel prepared and confident in navigating some of the transportation hubs so their trip is as smooth as possible,” he says. Once students arrive on campus, Orientation Mentors, Resident Assistants, and Academic Mentors welcome them and help them get settled in their new apartments. Throughout Orientation, new students will be able to ask student leaders questions and hear about some of their experiences and perspectives.
New this year
Each year, staff members work to add or revise components of the Orientation program with feedback from students who have experienced Orientation in the past. This year, Franklin offered several pre-arrival sessions on Zoom to help students prepare and ask questions in advance. Additionally, this year, sessions related to adjusting to one’s new environment, appreciating the diversity of our community, and a deeper understanding of one’s responsibilities have been incorporated. Students will be able to access the schedule and documents using the Franklin app and connect with a virtual help desk if they need additional support.