Going to college can be such a new experience. While there are still teachers and students and classes, there are often times a whole new set of expectations, opportunities and services that you may not have had in high school. An orientation, while I’ve heard many complain about them, can give you the overview you need to get or keep you out of a bind once classes begin and the rubber hits the road. Pay attention to your orientation, think of it an exciting opportunity and you will be more able to remember what’s said when you need it later on.

Not all online colleges have an orientation, but many do. You may even be required to take one before starting classes. It typically isn’t too taxing, so you don’t have to worry. These orientations are to help you become aware of the expectations and standards by which you will be required to adhere. One of the most frustrating things in life is when someone is expecting something of us and we have absolutely no clue. Could you imagine if there were no traffic laws? Laws are merely a set of expectations that everyone who drives agree to live by so that there can be order and a mutual understanding between drivers. This is just as important in your online college. There will be expectations that you will be required to meet. You will be held accountable to them and even graded by them, so make sure you understand them clearly and ask questions to clarify when you don’t understand. This is essential for your sake.

Some common orientation features include showing students around the sometimes tricky online navigation system. Many are intuitive, but getting everyone on the same page is important. This will reduce the load later they may otherwise have to spend answering the same question from 50 different students.

In your online college orientation you’ll also learn about some of the more common tasks you will be performing while in your courses. You may learn how to attach or submit assignments to your professor or class facilitator. You’ll probably get an overview of the software available to help you communicate better with other students and your professor. You’ll also get to know how to attend lectures, if there are set times you have to watch them by. Instruction may also continue to help you learn how to put any multimedia content onto a portable device like an ipod or other video or audio player.

Keep an eye out for some specific points (this may also help you pay more attention!) during your online orientation that may be handy for you later.

  • Make sure you know how to contact someone if there are any technical issues. It will most likely not be your teacher or academic advisor, but a technical department
  • The URL for daily login to your classes and interactive features
  • How to tap into the institutions resources such as a library, audio collections or academic support services

Bottom line, orientation for online college students helps to convey to the students the institutions expectations. It’s in your best interest to know them so you will not unknowingly be judged by them and call life unfair. If you don’t agree with something that’s said during orientation and it can affect your academic progress, bring it up with an advisor, to see if an exception can be made. Don’t just take matters into your own hands and become a martyr, your teachers won’t appreciate it and you know what they say, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

Anyhow, you’ll do great. Keep the excitement and be appreciative of anyone that’s providing you with an overview of what to expect and you’ll be fine. Good luck understanding your online college expectations via your orientation!

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