July 11, 2014 : By Drew Menard
Several incoming students have jumpstarted their academic careers at Liberty University by taking part in one of four Summer Orientations. During these events, Liberty gives future students and their families opportunities to explore campus, gain important information, and connect with leadership and future classmates.
Although all new students can participate in orientation events during Welcome Week right before the semester begins, Summer Orientation allows participants to get a head start on this process, as well as become familiar with campus.
Liberty recently hosted orientations on June 16, 23, and July 11, with a final one scheduled for July 25. In all, the first three events drew about 3,700 guests, including incoming students and their families, making it the highest Summer Orientation turnout ever. Liberty will welcome nearly 4,200 new/transfer students this fall, its largest incoming class to date.
Though a high percentage of these “early birds” hail from Virginia or North Carolina, students come from all across the U.S. for Summer Orientation.
“It is our privilege to welcome the students with open arms and with great anticipation as we begin the journey of carrying them all the way to the finish line (graduation),” said Justin Mercer, Liberty’s director of Orientation and Retention.
During Summer Orientation, incoming students are able to take New Student Seminar 101, a graduation requirement that introduces students to academic material as well as teaching them how to be safe and responsible on campus. The students are able to meet with academic advisors, Financial Aid, and Student Accounts to ensure that everything is lined up for them to begin their studies. They are also able to meet their classmates as they take tours with resident directors from Liberty University Student Leadership, attend informational sessions, and participate in a kickball game at the Liberty Baseball Stadium. A family cookout is held in conjunction with the game.
Students are can also pick up their Flames Pass during orientation. This multipurpose card serves as their official university ID and key to a variety of services and activities both on and off campus.
Summer Orientation also offers a session for parents of incoming students — hosted by the Parent and Family Connections Office — providing them with important information as well as reassurance that their son or daughter will be well taken care of.
Pam Dean traveled from Spartanburg, S.C., to the July 11 orientation with her daughter, Elizabeth, a rising Liberty freshman. The family was able to visit a residence hall and familiarize themselves with campus.
“I now know all the departments that we need to get (connected) with,” Pam Dean said.
Though Pam and her husband, Robert, are a bit emotional at the idea of taking their first child to college in August, they know she is in good hands.
“I think this is an environment for her to thrive in if she will take advantage of what is here,” Pam Dean said. “I am very excited for her future.”