BY MICHAEL JAMES
It may be another six weeks before school starts, but Cambrian College is already getting jazzed up and ready for their upcoming 2003-2004 academic year.
One of the things theyÂ?re excited about is Countdown to Cambrian, a one-day orientation session for first-year students and their parents.
Over 300 soon-to-be college newcomers, along with their parents, spouses or children, will show up tomorrow (Friday) to participate in CambrianÂ?s first ever orientation day event. Altogether, the college is expecting well over 600 people.
Â?ItÂ?s wonderful! This is the first time weÂ?ve done this sort of thing,Â? said vice-president academic Sonia DelMissier.
Other colleges have had success with student orientations like this, DelMissier said, so Â?we thought weÂ?d give it a try.Â?
Â?It (the turnout) certainly exceeded our expectations,Â? she said.
Those in attendance will have an opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops, tour the campus and residences, meet with faculty and staff and, generally, find out what college life is all about.
Highlights will include a skit put on by veteran Cambrian students called Through the Eyes of a Student and two workshops: Student 411: Stay connected, stay informed and Money, Money, Money. The second workshop covers topics like what loans and bursaries are available, how to deal with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities when applying for an Ontario Student Loan (OSAP), employment prospects upon graduation and budgeting.
Students will also receive a crash course on how to navigate through the often lengthy and time-consuming registration process. Another important component of the day is that many Cambrian faculty members will be on hand to answer questions from the students and their parents regarding courses or programs.
According to DelMissier, the orientation is part of the collegeÂ?s Strategic Enrolment Management Plan.
While student recruitment is vitally important to the college, retention is equally important, she said.
Â?We have to ensure, right from the moment they set foot (on campus), students are made to feel welcome, made to feel we will do everything in our power to help them succeed,Â? she said.
College can be a daunting experience to young students fresh out of high school, she said, especially to those from out-of-town.
By DelMissierÂ?s estimation, out-of-town students make up about 40 per cent of CambrianÂ?s total enrolment.
ItÂ?s important for students to be aware of the various kinds of support services available to them, she said.
Â?Your success is our success.Â?