1. A Supreme Orientation Program
UF Preview has consistently scored above the national average in a survey done by the National Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in 2014. One-on-one registration appointments, a 14:2 student-to-advisor ratio, and 50 student orientation leaders gives UF Preview the edge over other orientations. The focus is not solely academic but also seeks to help students get engaged in the UF community. This is why UF has a greater than 96 percent first-year student retention rate. Throughout Preview, expect to be poured into as an individual as well as a student.
2. A Busy Schedule
Information-packed is the best way to describe UF orientation days. All-day sessions may shake up your slow summer pace, but Nico Mora, a 2018 Preview staffer, encourages students to show up with an open mind and cheerful attitude about the programming. “There is a lot of useful information and connections to be made that will help you in your career,” Mora said. Take in as much as you can but don’t worry if you can’t absorb everything. Once you are on campus, you will still be able to reach out for help.
3. Preview Staffers
Cheering, dancing, and high-energy students in matching bright orange and blue apparel will greet you upon arrival. Don’t be intimidated by their enthusiasm. These individuals have spent the past six months preparing to help you transition into UF. You will be assigned to a couple of staffers who care about your success and want to build relationships with you. “I wanted to be a Preview staffer because I wanted students to know there’s a place on campus for them and there are resources for them,” Mora said. Staffers are students, too, and can be contacted even after your session. “I made deep connections with my students and was able to provide a lot of support for them their freshman year,” Mora said. He encourages students to take full advantage of getting to know their staffers during their time at Preview.
4. Choosing a Major and Classes
During Preview, you will be officially declaring your major and registering for your first semester courses at UF. This part of Preview may be more challenging if you don’t know what you want to study. With this in mind, it would be wise to do some prep work before coming to Preview. In addition to Preview Prep, Mora advises taking the ALEKS placement test to help guide you in choosing the course levels right for you. Personal career and major research will help you to make tough decisions about majors. UF’s Connections Center website has assessments such as C.H.O.M.P. that can help you figure out which major might be right for you. “It’s more helpful for students to have an idea of what they want to do so that they can ask deeper questions about each major and staffers can give thoughts and opinions from there,” Mora said. Plan enough time to complete Preview Prep, the ALEKS test, and career research to make sure you are all set upon arrival.
5. Being on Your Own Some of the Time
While your family members are welcome and encouraged to also attend Preview, you won’t be with them the whole time. You will have specific sessions just for you as a future student to learn about what your opportunities are. This gives you the opportunity to claim your college experience. Taking responsibility for your education is important because you won’t have your family members on campus with you when you start classes. Use the time apart to engage with the other students around you; many students end up making really great friends at Preview. While it may feel like you will never see your fellow Preview Gators again, you’re all going to be at the same university once classes start.
Get excited for Preview because that is the moment that your UF adventure officially begins! For more information about Preview, visit https://orientation.dso.ufl.edu/.