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Innovative student orientation more informative, engaging for students

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Sep 22, 2021

At College of Lake County (CLC), we believe every student can succeed in the right environment with the right supports. That’s why the college revamped new student orientation as part of the redesigned first year experience. Part of the process, new convocation sessions are set up to provide students with information in a more enjoyable, efficient way.

Beginning this summer, new students were required to take part in either a live virtual or socially distanced in-person orientation session. While orientation was previously more task based in terms of content, the new format focuses on the services and resources available to support students at CLC.

Student advising“Orientation was missing a lot of students before,” Kara Tumminello, orientation and success programs coordinator at CLC, said. “It wasn’t making sure students knew about resources or getting a feeling of comradery from the college.”

Students get a deeper dive into the different holistic supports CLC offers to promote student success, including meeting with academic advisors and learning about financial aid and scholarships.

Convocation is the final step of the orientation process before students start classes at CLC.

Orientation used to take place just one day, but Tumminello said this became tiring for students. The new orientation is split up, allowing more time to acquire the information as well as separating it into more digestible sessions.

“It was a lot of info to unpack all at once,” Tumminello said. “Students said it wasn’t long enough for everything and it was too much info in a short period of time.”

During the new convocation sessions, students have the chance to ask questions in a variety of methods. Guest speakers come in, and students can submit questions beforehand or ask in the moment. They can also ask questions during a faculty panel.

The most appealing part for students is the laid back and fun nature of it.

“Convocation is more celebratory than most parts of orientation,” Tumminello said. “Students can meet people in similar areas of interest when in person. They feel connected and important. It breaks up the prior long version and provides more fun.”

Students reacted well to the experience, enjoying how informative and engaging the session was.

“What I enjoyed most was when the teachers went on stage and answered questions and talked about their experiences,” said Megan Sorci. “They were all outgoing and engaging. Everyone was friendly and it was very informational.”

“The meeting itself had all the right information I needed for the first week of classes and answered many questions I had,” said Anahy Hernandez. “It also gave me helpful information on where to go if I need help and supplied me with advice for my CLC career. After the convocation, everything blurry to me before was as clear as day.”

A convocation session was recorded for students who were unable to attend the live sessions.

Informational demonstrations are also available for students to access online at any time to guide them through financial aid basics and to help mentally prepare them for their first week of college.

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.