This summer marks the beginning of a new tradition at Trinity. We say goodbye to New Student Orientation (NSO), because orientation will now take place during Tiger Takeoff, a program that aims to ease students’ transition to life at Trinity. Tiger Takeoff, which will take place over five sessions in the months of June and July, is a 2-day experience filled with social mixers, student panels, a campus resource fair, and special activities for parents and families. Incoming new students will choose one of the five sessions to attend, fostering a smaller, more one-on-one environment.
The goal of Tiger Takeoff is to bridge the gap between a student’s decision to attend Trinity in May and when they move-in on campus in August. The University aims to help students receive different touch points of information when they need it during the summer, rather than all at once (which was the case during New Student Orientation). The offices of Student Involvement and Academic Affairs have been working together to decide what information is best introduced earlier in the summer, and what information should be introduced during Welcome Weekend in August. Welcome Weekend highlights the official welcome to all new students and families and will include move-in, Academic Convocation, a picnic, and additional opportunities for students to connect with their peers.
“New Student Orientation was kind of like drinking from a firehose: you’ve just gotten here, it’s brand new, you’re meeting your roommate, and you’re also trying to think about classes and syllabi,” says Jennifer Henderson, Ph.D., the associate vice president for Academic Affairs. Tiger Takeoff will give students the pieces of orientation more slowly, as needed, rather than flooding with information all at once.
For example, students will get acquainted with Student Accessibility Services during Tiger Takeoff, rather than right before school starts. “If we know a student needs accommodations and they have the opportunity to talk to someone before they get to campus, then we can help carry through their accommodation from high school to college in a more seamless way,” Henderson says.
A major part of Tiger Takeoff is connecting incoming students with current Tigers. Familiar faces can be a welcome sight during the first few weeks of class, as new students get accustomed to college academics and orient themselves with campus. “We will be focusing on the social component,” says Esther Esparza, assistant director for orientation programs. “We want to get more students involved and connected with their peers.”
Students aren’t the only ones getting oriented during Tiger Takeoff. Parents and families are encouraged to attend (students can invite up to two guests) to get accustomed with Trinity and attend sessions about supporting their new college students. “We have some tailored programs for families and then we’ll also do some social activities with families, trying to get them to get to know one another, the same way we are with the students,” Esparza says.
Here are some tips from Esparza for how incoming first-years can make the best of their Tiger Takeoff experiences:
- Sign up for Tiger Takeoff! Registration is live on the student’s admissions portal.
- Have an open mind. Get to know your Tiger Takeoff roommate, Orientation team member, and fellow students.
- Ask questions, especially of current Trinity students.