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Virtual registration and orientation creates customized experience for UW-Stout first-year students

Virtual registration and orientation creates customized experience for UW-Stout first-year students

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University of Wisconsin-Stout incoming first-year student Sarah Korte made the most of virtual first-year registration and orientation.

She joined in as many events as possible to get ready for the upcoming school year and even took some time to relax in a virtual game night to meet some of her new classmates.

Korte, of Wisconsin Rapids, plans to major in family and consumer sciences education.

“I’m super excited to come to UW-Stout,” Korte said. “I’ve already started packing.”

Sarah Korte headshot

Korte

Granted Korte, who plans to become a teacher, would have preferred to visit the campus for first-year orientation and registration but knows the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements made that impossible.

“I like that we had informational meetings and were able to learn more about the campus, housing and dining services,” Korte said. She also took part in a virtual student panel to learn from upper-level students about life on campus.

Having the virtual programs helped prepare her for her first year, Korte said. Korte also liked that she could join as many events as she wished. She plans to set aside time to join in another game night to meet more first-year students.

Virtual first-year registration and orientation started earlier this month and continues through Friday, June 26. The events were planned in the evenings over a week to allow more students and families to participate, said Britta Miller, new student orientation and commencement coordinator.

Britta Miller headshot

Miller

The virtual events provided students and their families with the same information they would have received at an in-person campus registration and orientation daylong event. “We are providing lots of good information,” Miller said. “We want students and their families to feel comfortable coming to UW-Stout in the fall.”

Any live events were recorded to allow students and their families to view them at a later time.

The Advisement Center team said the virtual process created a more customized experience for students. By providing basic registration information and course recommendations ahead of the student’s registration date, students could schedule virtual appointments with their first-year adviser if they had questions. Since not every student scheduled a meeting, staff could spend more time with those who had questions or concerns.

Many students and their families found the format to be more user friendly and flexible, allowing them to spend more time reviewing class options and schedules at their own pace. The plan is to look at the process and take the successes of the program and implement them into future registration and orientation events.

“The incoming fall 2020 class has continued to show their incredible resilience and determination in navigating the online registration and orientation process,” said First-Year Adviser Darren Ward. “None of us would have chosen to do orientation in this way, but I have been impressed with the adaptability, resilience and determination of the students who have chosen to come to UW-Stout.”

Darren Ward headshot

Ward

Ward said many departments including Student Services, Multicultural Student Services, University Housing and the Honors College helped with running the online Registration Help Desk.

UW-Stout’s family and consumer science education program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation. The program is offered on campus and through distance delivery.

UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes.

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