Whether just starting a college journey or returning to college after a few years' break, the first few steps on a college campus can be daunting.
"Who do I talk to about classes?"
"Where do I go for financial aid?"
"What am I doing here?"

For those preparing to attend the University of New Mexico, New Student Orientation answers those questions and calms fears that arise from going to college, for students and the families sending them to the Albuquerque campus. Every summer, all incoming UNM students – freshman, transfer and non-traditional – have to attend orientation before being allowed to enroll for fall classes.

Corine Gonzales, Student Initiatives Manager, said, "It's to help provide students and their families with a successful transition to UNM. Orientation helps them learn about campus resources and services and, more importantly, to meet other students and receive academic advisement and register for classes."

Those fresh out of high school often worry about making new friends, which classes they will be taking, and how they will adjust to life outside of their family's home. It can cause great stress for new students, and the student leaders and other employees of the Dean of Students Office do their best to help students with any anxiety they feel when they visit UNM.

"I think that freshmen are nervous because they are coming to a university and one of the things they worry about the most is that they are not going to meet anybody or know anyone, so we try to help them with that transition," Gonzales said.

Incoming freshmen attend the traditional two-day Lobo Orientation - learning about campus life and events from current UNM students, meeting with their academic advisor, registering for classes, learning about living on campus, or parking options on campus if they are commuting. The families of these new students can take advantage of the "Family Connection" program, helping them adjust with the transition of their children to college.

Later in the fall semester the Dean of Students office holds its annual "Keeping It Fresh" event for students to reconnect with new friends they made at Lobo Orientation, but with whom they lost touch.

The Dean of Students office also runs dedicated Facebook pages for each new class of students arriving at UNM. Students arriving this fall have a page for the Class of 2016. Students can visit these pages to connect with their fellow freshmen, or to ask questions or discuss their concerns with a student orientation leader during open "chat hours" listed on the page.

Transfer students coming to UNM with over 24 credit hours have a couple of options for orientation. UNM's "TNT" orientation program is available for transfer (students coming to UNM with over 24 credit hours of work) and non-traditional students. There are two options for TNT students, either the "TNT Express" program which condenses the orientation down into two hours, or the full day "TNT" orientation.

For do-it-yourself students who would prefer to take care of advisement, registration, and other UNM related tasks on their own, the TNT Express program is an option.

The traditional "TNT" program takes a full day, allows new students to visit the university, meet with academic advisors and the full orientation staff as needed for all of their registration concerns, and to help these students not just be college-savvy, but UNM-savvy.

Those students entering UNM in the first couple of weeks of the fall semester still have to visit the Dean of Students office in University Advisement and Enrichment Center for a one-on-one orientation session before they can register for classes. For more information, contact the Dean of Students office.

Media Contact: Benson Hendrix, (505) 277-1816; email: bhendrix@unm.edu