Methods developed by Ferris State University’s Admissions Office to acclimate new students during COVID-19 remain in service ahead of the 2021-22 academic year.
Director of Orientation Marketing and Events Eric Haner said the incoming class for Fall 2021 is actively completing online orientation modules.
“Students began entering the online orientation process back in mid-January and continue to have access to these portals,” Haner said. “As of late May, approximately three-quarters of the expected incoming class for the fall semester have already completed online orientation and are scheduling virtual one-on-one advising sessions to get their courses. These registration opportunities begin the first week of June.”
Haner said their offices projected a group of 2,000 students who will complete orientation before arriving in residence halls and beginning classes in late August. More than 1,700 are already through that process, allowing them to continue exploring the university and meet other students.
“Despite being in an online environment to service students in a timely fashion, we are continuing to open up more on-campus visit opportunities, so the students can connect with and get a feel for the campus,” Haner said. “Students interested in learning more should go to our website for available virtual and in-person opportunities.”
Those offerings include guided tours on campus, with morning and afternoon visit sessions available for scheduling, and Crimson and Gold virtual visits, where a one-on-one conversation takes place between a prospective student and a Ferris student representative. Haner said Admitted Student Live interactive sessions are offered several times a month, along with Explore Ferris Live virtual campus visits with an Admissions recruiter.
“Given the nature of the pandemic and the planning that goes into place to prepare all our students, faculty, staff, colleges and departments for the Fall 2021 semester, collaboration is critical,” Haner said. “We received feedback from our campus partners and were able to utilize and modify the structure put into place last summer to safely onboard students. Orientation leaders this summer primarily serve in a virtual capacity, reaching out to incoming students via phone to help answer their questions and assist them through the process.”
Haner added virtual events are being developed for later this summer, where students can meet others living in their residence halls before they arrive for Move-In Day in Big Rapids. Those students who have taken appropriate steps will learn of these sessions when arrangements are complete.
“Make sure you complete your next steps in the online orientation module ahead of time, such as signing your housing contract, uploading your student ID photo, and meeting with financial aid if you still need support,” Haner said. “We ask that you watch your email for information coming from your college to sign up for your one-on-one advising session.”
Admissions representatives, the Office of Student Life and other campus organizations look forward to returning to a more engaged and active campus as fall classes begin, according to Haner.
“We are gearing up for an exhilarating series of welcome week activities, called Bulldog Beginnings,” Haner said. “During the first two weeks of class, we will have a wide variety of safe yet engaging programs and events to allow students to meet each other and learn more about the campus.”