For more than 25 years now, incoming freshmen and their families have been attending the Lobo Orientation and Family Connection programs offered by the UNM New Student Orientation program under the Dean of Students Office. 

These sessions offer a fun and informative way for students and their families to become better acquainted with the university. 

The office also hosts a "TNT" (Transfer and Non-Traditional) Orientation for students returning or transferring to UNM. 

According to Corine Gonzales, interim director of the New Student Orientation program, the number of participants for both of these programs has increased in 2010. 

"Last year, we had 2,835 freshmen reservations and 1,764 transfer student reservations," she said.  "This year we had 2,973 freshmen reservations and 1,897 transfer students." 

The Dean of Students Office is also reporting a nearly seven percent increase in the number of Family Connection participants. 

Lobo Orientation, which lasts two days, is mandatory for all new students and requires that students stay overnight in the residence halls between the first night and the second day of orientation. 

During the Family Connection program, students' families learn the same information that their student does, only in a slightly different format. 

"We tailor our presentation and style agenda to meet the needs of each population," said Matt Maez, student affairs specialist with the Dean of Students Office. 

Each of these programs orients students and their parents to the university and prepares them for what they can expect during their years with UNM through topics like financial aid, course requirements, living on or commuting to campus, and academic advisement.  There are also advisors on hand to assist students with their schedules and questions they may have. 

"This is a great way for new students to learn about the opportunities and services available to them at UNM," said Kim Kloeppel, interim dean of students.  "It's a way to make students and their families more familiar with the campus and what to expect. The orientation leaders do an excellent job of engaging the new students and families during these two days."

Many students and parents share that sentiment.  According to a survey conducted during the 2009 orientations, students and parents find these orientations helpful, fun and informative.  Survey results reflected that over 99 percent of the parents said they would recommend the Family Connection program to other families and more than 92 percent of students said they recommended Lobo Orientation to other students.

"I feel much more prepared for the fall semester than I did before I attended Lobo Orientation," a 2010 student participant said.  "I feel that I have learned how to handle making new friends in addition to having a better sense of the overall opportunities available to me at UNM."

One parent who also participated in the 2010 session said, "I thought that the entire program was very helpful.  It was fun and informative and all the UNM staff and students who took part were friendly and knowledgeable in their subjects.  My husband and I are very pleased that our son chose UNM."

There are 12 concurrent Lobo Orientation and Family Connection sessions during the summer from the beginning of June through the middle of August while there are seven TNT sessions between May 1 and August 20.  

For more information on these programs visit: New Student Orientation or call (505) 277-3361.