Orientation | Web Update

High competition for New Student Orientation positions

Published: January 26, 2014, 10:48 pm ET
Photo courtesy of Chloe Zung
The 2013 Orientation leadership team -- Ke Arkfeld, RJ Lego, Meredith Combs, Katie Cahill, Mike Soriano, and Chloe Zung -- poses for a photo with President Ayers.
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One of the most competitive positions on campus isn’t a business school internship—it’s to become an orientation adviser.

New Student Orientation at University of Richmond is a program that all incoming students undergo. According to the program’s purpose statement, it is “designed to be a multi-faceted transition process involving academic, intellectual, and personal development in order to incorporate new students into the university community.”

Competition for the program appears to be fierce. Dan Fabian, associate dean of Richmond College, said more than 200 applications were received each year for just 70 adviser positions. This means only approximately 35 percent or fewer applicants will be given an advising position. Often, this places the orientation team, which chooses the new advisers, in a difficult situation.

RJ Lego, a senior and the current orientation chair for Richmond College, who has been involved with the New Student Orientation program since his sophomore year, said “it makes it harder on the orientation team to select the best candidates from such a large pool, while also meeting diversity and involvement goals.”

Becoming an orientation adviser is a highly sought after position on campus, despite the fact that this is a volunteer position that requires long hours of training before orientation even begins.

Katie Cahill, senior and the orientation chair for Westhampton College, said a big draw for her was how she could hold a high leadership position for the university outside of the academic year.

“I’m a student-athlete, and the fact that I could hold a leadership position during a time when I didn’t have practice 20 hours a week was a big draw for me,” she said.

Lego said becoming an orientation adviser was “the way I am able to give my time and efforts to a school that has given me so much and made me who I am today.”

“I had a very enjoyable time during orientation, and my orientation advisers were very helpful in acclimating me to campus life here at Richmond,” he said. “I wanted to give the same experience to a new class of first years here at Richmond, [because] everyone at UR should be given the opportunity to be made welcome and comfortable.

“There’s a lot of word-of-mouth advertising from former OAs telling their orientees to apply, and that leads to a lot of first years applying,” he added.

Applications were due Jan. 23. Initial applicants will undergo a group interview, and promising students will be chosen by the orientation chairmen and associate chairmen. Students who make it past this round are then interviewed by two members of the orientation team. Final selections are made at a meeting with chairmen, associate chairmen, and the deans of Westhampton College and Richmond College.

Contact staff writer Kelsey Shields at kelsey.shields@richmond.edu

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